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Andrew Southen, a Registered Craftsman Plumber with over 30 years experience, invented the Isovalve™ which enables plumbers to connect plumbing fixtures and appliances without having to turn water off at ‘distant’ locations.
Installed in place of a test plug the Isovalve™ enables the wall board, tiles or joinery to be neatly drilled and installed over the Isovalve™. It is then a simple matter of sliding over a flange; attaching the fixture to the Isovalve™ nipple; and turning on the water at the Isovalve™.
They say the best ideas are often the simplest!
The idea of the Isovalve™ came about when I was at a job where all I had to do was fit a basin at a medical laboratory. The test plugs had already been installed and were sticking out of the wall ready for me to connect the flexible connections from the basin faucet. It should have been easy but, being a plumber of many years, I knew that turning off the water in this place was not going to be straight forward. I said to myself “I wish those test plugs were valves” – if I didn’t have to turn the water off, the job would have only taken half an hour. My premonition about it not being a straight forward task proved correct. I first went to reception and had the receptionist page the maintenance man; the maintenance man paged all the relevant people and got permission to turn off the water. He then showed me where to turn off the cold water (down a long drive on the road) and then where to turn off the hot water (which, predictably, was at a different location to where I had to turn off the cold water). The first hot water turn off tap didn’t work so I had to revert to the tap in the ceiling which meant getting a ladder and a light! After finally getting the water turned off, and draining all the water out of the system (it never did all drain out because the old valves wouldn’t shut off properly), the test plugs were removed. The bucket soon filled up and before long I had water all over the floor and still flowing. This is the time when you hope you don’t have a problem as water was essential in the operation of this particular building. Finally I had the tap installed but, in order to complete the installation, I had to crawl back into the ceiling to turn the hot water on; run out to the road to turn the cold water back on; then run back to make sure I didn’t have a leak. The job took me three hours – I was stressed and tired from a whole lot of unnecessary running around. If Isovalve™ had been installed on that job it would have taken me a maximum of 40 minutes. I would have enjoyed completing the task and my customers would certainly have appreciated not having the water turned off to their entire building.
The Isovalve™ evolved specifically from that experience – however it has been designed based on my 30 years as a Craftsman Plumber. The design of the valve allows it to do more than just shut the water on and off – it also allows the valve to act as a test plug (able to be pressure tested up to 2,000 kpa); contains an inline filter to comply with new tap-ware warranty; and allows water flow to be adjusted at individual installations – meaning potential water and energy savings to customers.
My company has been installing Isovalve™ for some time now and, without exception, they have been excellent to use. They look good when installed, save time and money and incorporate a ‘future-proofing’ aspect which benefits the customer. I see their use as being win-win for all concerned.