Aqua-Scope is a young startup focusing on protecting homes and buildings from the devastating consequences of water leaks. Aqua-Scope is a quite international venture with the headquarter in the digital nation of Estonia, Development in Hongkong, Product Management and Sales in Germany and Production engineering in Shenzhen. 

Interview with Dr. Christian Paetz, CEO of Aqua-Scope.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Christian Paetz: We develop, manufacture and sell our own products. Our current geographic focus is Europe but of course we see the business opportunity in North America and Australia. Operating right at the intersection point between electronics, software and water installation (plumbing) er have to comply to a lot of national regulations which requires time and effort. While international standards are normal in the area of wireless communication and electronics water distribution is still a quite national game with different and sometimes quite legacy driven country-specific regulations.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

C.P: Lets start with the nature of our product. To protect homes from the consequences of leak or even prevent leaks before they happen one has to accomplish two goals.

Understand there is a problem. This is usually done by a sensor or a combination of sensors

Act according to the magnitude of the problem. While a single drip of water is not a material defect a broken pipe of a disengaged connection fitting certainly is. In such a case the water must be shut off right away to protect the home and its interieur.

All contemporary solutions on the market have a main device that shut off the water but must be installed right into the main water line. This requires cutting into the pipe and adding two more weak points of the water pipe system. Installation must be done by a certified installer. The shut off device may contain an additional flow meter that detects “too long” flows and shuts off the water. This is not very sophisticated by at least it works. Additional (wireless) water sensors are distributed in the home. If they are in contact with water this will generate an alarm ad well resulting in shutting of the water. The problem with these water sensors is simple. When the water hits them its most likely too late and the water already damaged the wall where the leakage happened.

Aqua-Scope goes a different route Our system can be installed by everybody, the homeowner, the electrician, or any other kind of maintenance worker. No water pipe is cut, all devices are easy to install and easy to remove. 

Furthermore Aqua-Scopes revolutionary acoustics-based sensor technology detects leaks from inside the pipe, means even in walls or on points hard to reach by other sensors. Water losses from 2 drips er minute are detected giving the home owner enough time to react before more damage may happen.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

C.P: We offer both sensors to understand there is. Problem and actuators to act according to the severity of the problem detected.

Our acoustics-based sensor is called Water Monitor and it takes advantage of the fact that water is an excellent conductor for noise. Therefore, only one single sensor, somewhere installed in the home is enough to monitor the whole home. This is convenient and affordable.

Different countries use different types of shut off devices to turn on/off the water supply. Most countries rely on so called ball valve where the operator turns a handle 90 degree to open and close. Countries in Central Europe use so called gate valves where the operator needs to turn a handwheel 5..7 times to open and close, other countries prefer so called butterfly valves.

Aqua-Scope has a solution for all European Valve types so that the solution can be applied across Europe.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

C.P: If it comes to adoption of technology the US is typically ahead of Europe about 2 …3 years. In the US its quite standard that insurance companies offer an attractive discount on the premium if the homeowner installs a leak protection system. This is a very good deal for the insurance companies since water leak damage claim count for more than 60 % of all house insurance damage claims.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

C.P: We do see that European Countries are following the trend of US. Almost all European insurance companies have leakage protection technology on their radar screen. First countries such as Norway started to require a leakage protection system by law for new buildings, the number of companies offering such a technology is increasing.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

C.P: We welcome new offerings for leakage protection since it increases the overall awareness for the problem and its solutions.

We trust in out unique acoustics-based sensor that is unmatched in the market. Likewise, we are approached by competitors interested in private branding our new retrofittable motor for gate valves used in central Europe. So far nobody else was able to produce such a product.

E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2022?

C.P: As lot of companies with links into China we suffer from the Ze-Covid Policy of the Chinese Communist Party that continues to have negative impact on our ability to manufacture and ship products. Nevertheless, we will get first batches of our new product range into Europe. We have a substantial number of backorders to fulfil but real growth in business we will see in 2023, when our production pipeline is back on normal speed.