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Does cold weather have you worried about bursting pipes? Water Hero has your back

Is there anything more horrifying than the thought of having pipes burst while you’re away from home? One degree too cold, and ploosh! Water damage everywhere. It’s a homeowner’s worst nightmare, and aside from insulating your pipes and leaving the faucets on a slow drip while you’re out, there’s not much you can do about it.

Until now.

Water Hero, a new device that’s recently launched on Kickstarter, is designed to autonomously monitor and control your home’s plumbing system to prevent pipe bursts. The system is comprised of two separate parts: a network-connected flow sensor that attaches to your water meter, and a motorized on/off module that affixes to your shutoff lever. The sensor module gauges how much water is flowing by listening to the magnetic pulses your water meter puts off, and also tracks temperature and humidity in the room with additional sensors.

As soon as the sensor module detects a problem (temperature dips below the freezing point, or water usage levels surpass your preset limits), it can instantly beam an alert to your smartphone, or automatically tell the motor to shut off your water. Water Hero can also detect slow leaks and help you pinpoint where they’re coming from, so it can even help you save money on your water bill.

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And the best part? The system is entirely non-invasive and retrofittable. You don’t need to be (or hire) a plumber to install Water Hero in your home. Just strap the sensor module to your meter, attach the motor to your existing ball valve shutoff lever, connect it to your home Wi-Fi network, and then download the accompanying mobile app for iOS or Android.

The device only exists in prototype form at this point, but Water Hero’s creators have spent the last year fine-tuning the design and are now ready to take the final step. To help cover the cost of manufacturing and tooling, the team has turned to the crowdfunding community on Kickstarter, hoping to raise $54K before Christmas Eve. For a pledge of $99, you can be one of the first to get your hands on a Water Hero system, which is expected to ship sometime around August 2015.