Alert Trace Heating
Earlier in the year we had a call from a NACO member regarding some additional items that he'd been offered by the manufacturer at the time of purchase - he wanted to know what the upgrades were and if they we any good...
The first item was trace heating. Trace heating is still a relatively new concept in our industry but it's been used in other areas for decades. It involves wrapping cable around, or along water supply pipework to help prevent freezing. A small current is passed through the cable to ensure that the water within the pipework doesn't freeze. The cable and the pipework are also insulated to ensure the efficacy of the trace heating. At NACO we love the idea of trace heating, so long as it's installed professionally and good kit is used.
The other addition in question was an 'automatic water stop valve'. This was the first time the team had come across such a device and we were intrigued to discover more. The idea is pretty simple - you have a unit inside your holiday caravan that is linked to a stop valve externally. The internal device is the same size a single light switch and allows you to isolate your water supply at the touch of a button. Similarly, it also allows you to turn the water on. On the outside there is a ball valve that opens and closes to shut the water off or turn the water on. Genius! No more scrabbling about under the 'van to get to the stopcock.
We were keen to learn more about these optional extras, so started some digging. In doing so, we came across Alert Trace Heating, a company who were supplying and installing both products along with other frost prevention items. We got in contact to find out more and decided to hit the road and see an installation first hand.
Alert Trace Heating, are based in Mochdre, North Wales, have been established since 2005. They have installations and customers all over the UK. They specialise in the design, supply and installation of electrical trace heating systems and flood prevention devices for static caravans and lodges.
The installation was in mid Wales and we met Simon and Drew from Alert on a sunny May morning. With the help of a 'demo board' Simon explained the product and showed us how it works. The unit already had their trace heating installed and once we'd got to grips with the gadget Simon and Drew cracked on with the installation of the auto stop valve.
The auto stop installation kit
Simon told us that a normal installation takes around 45 minutes but with the NACO team peering over shoulders and asking questions it took a little longer!
Before long, the installation was complete and Simon could show us the device working. The thing that struck us from the outset was the attention to detail, the quality of the products and the workmanship - all of which were a very high standard.
Another very useful feature is a sensor within the unit – Simon gave us the lowdown… “The controller inside the holiday home has a built-in PIR sensor. When the holiday home is occupied the water will stay on, if you have vacated the caravan and have forgotten to switch off the water supply the PIR will recognise inactivity inside the caravan and automatically shut off the water supply after 12 hours (this can be reduced). This will minimise the risk of internal escape of water and help to comply with most insurance clauses between October and March.”
Having seen the devastation that escape of water can cause in a caravan or lodge we've always been big believers in finding your stopcock and turning off your water supply when you're away from the park. It's all very well thinking 'it's alright I'm insured' but what about the belongings and items that can't be replaced by your insurance. There's also the time, stress and inconvenience too. This simple innovation means that turning off your water supply can done 'at the flick of a switch'. This also means that a 'mini drain down' can be done more easily by running the taps and flushing the toilets after you've isolated the water supply. Simon was quick to stress that this doesn't mean that you won't have to have a professional drain down done when you close up, but it will help you to maintain and manage your property.
Dan Ellacott (NACO), Simon Standerwick (Alert) & Claire Buisson (NACO)
Alert also have a variety of other products and services - including a leak detection gadget that turns off your water for you! Check out their website for more information...