Water everywhere: Understanding & Preventing Frozen Pipe Bursts with Modern IoT

Faculty Advisor: Alessandra Ferzoco

Sponsor: Semtech

Recent extreme weather events in places like Texas, fueled by climate change, have highlighted a key vulnerability in their existing plumbing infrastructure: water pipes are susceptible to freezing and bursting, causing untold property damage. Our SCOPE project investigated how to solve the pipe-bursting problem and improve the resilience of plumbing infrastructure everywhere with an Internet of Things (IoT) approach, where intelligent sensing and action-taking modules are distributed throughout a building. We conducted experiments on representative plumbing systems to understand why pipes burst, how to measure plumbing systems to anticipate freezing events, and how to take action to avoid bursts. We explored Semtech’s LoRa® IoT communications technology to unite the disparate sensing & action-taking components of our automated solution in environments that remain challenging for other technologies. Our experimental results, prototypes, and proposed solution architectures enable the ability to provide smart infrastructure upgrades to solve the pipe-bursting problem in the real world.

Faculty Advisor:

  • Alessandra Ferzoco

Team Members:

  • Aaron Blust
  • Jack Levitsky
  • Andrew Phillips
  • Luke Raus

Project Poster

Four students in front of blooming trees