The invention, FlowSentry, could literally save millions of gallons of water on a daily basis.
FlowSentry, which is about the size of a credit card, mounts inside a toilet’s tank, and monitors the flow of water within the tank. It is designed to alert the toilet’s owner when the toilet has a silent, slow, or fast leak, as well as when the flapper in the toilet has not properly closed, and will detect when there is an overflow situation in the toilet’s tank.
“I recognized that there are hundreds of thousands of toilets that are leaking millions of gallons of water every day in this country,” McKenna said. “I set out to find a solution to this problem and feel I have come up with a product that anyone can afford, and that will have a long-range impact on this country’s efforts to conserve water.”
FlowSentry works simply. There are no tools required for installation as the device mounts in the toilet’s tank on the overflow tube. When the user flushes the toilet, the FlowSentry beeps, thereby informing the user that it’s operational. When the water fails to reach or maintain its proper level in the toilet’s tank, the FlowSentry’s alarm sounds, thus alerting the toilet’s owner that there is a slow, silent, or fast leak in the toilet, or that the flapper has failed to return to its proper position. In the event of an overflow in the toilet’s tank, the alarm will once again sound, alerting the toilet’s owner that the tank is overflowing.
It is estimated, according to the American Water Works Association, that a toilet with a fast leak could waste close to 1.2 million gallons of water a year, and could cost its owner an additional $2,100 per year on their water bill. A slow or silent leak could waste as much as 72,000 gallons of water annually.
“At first I was primarily concerned with leaking toilets and the water that was being wasted as a result,” said McKenna, “but then I also considered the damage done when an overflow situation occurs and a homeowner is not home. That’s why I incorporated the overflow feature.”
FlowSentry works on a 9-volt battery, is self-contained, and is water resistant.
Having filed the patent, the inventor is now seeking outside sources to get his idea off the ground.
“I really think that this product is a ‘no-brainer.’ We have smoke-detectors to tell us when there is a fire in our home or office, and while a leaking toilet is not as drastic an event, why shouldn’t we have a detection device that tells us when our toilet’s are wasting water?” McKenna said. “That’s why I invented this product. I just hope that people realize the value of saving water, from both an economic as well as an ecological standpoint.”