LeakKiller Challenge launched to tackle water damage in homes
LeakKiller Challenge launched to tackle water damage in homes

LeakKiller Challenge launched to tackle water damage in homes

A £15,000 prize is up for grabs for the winner of a new IoT design competition to create a prototype for a low-cost, IoT-based leakage detection and warning system.

The LeakKiller Challenge is a joint initiative between electrical and electronic components company, RS Components (a trading brand of Electrocomponents plc), and Legal and General, the FTSE100 financial services group.

The goal is to turn the winning design into an end-product that can be installed by Legal & General customers to protect their homes and belongings from leaks, with a view to reducing their insurance premiums.

Read more: UK insurance market lags on digital, says LexisNexis

LeakKiller criteria

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), almost one in five claims made on buildings and content insurance were for damage caused by leaks; with insurers paying out around £2.5 million every day in claims. In addition, the insurance industry has seen a 4 percent rise in the average cost of water leakage claims over the last three years.

The LeakKiller Challenge is designed to identify inexpensive ways to detect leaks in homes – for example, by installing sensors beneath household appliances. Entries for the competition must address one or more of three challenge criteria: detecting unusual flows of water; detecting the presence of water in areas where it shouldn’t be found; and automatically shutting off the supply of water (and potentially electricity too) to avoid damage to the home.

The deadline for entries is 27 November 2017 and the winner will be announced in January 2018. Entrants are encouraged, but not obliged, to take advantage of free, open source DesignSpark software tools and design support resources offered by RS Components to create their entries.

Read more: WaterGroup, Reekoh partner on water saving platform in Australia

Burst pipes and other disasters

Many water leakage claims happen when frozen pipes burst in the winter, but there are plenty of other reasons why leaks occur, according to Legal & General chief digital officer Maarten Ectors. These include poorly installed washing machines or dishwashers, water seeping out from under baths or showers and leaky storage tanks in lofts.

“By initiating the LeakKiller challenge, it’s our goal to harness the power of open source engineering and productize an IoT solution that will, in time, actively prevent leakage incidents from happening and bring down the cost of home insurance for our customers,” he said.