Shane Woodley helps people take control of their water tanks
For many people in Bermuda, monitoring the home water tank mostly involves heaving up the metal lid and staring critically into the darkness.
A year ago, Shane Woodley launched H2 Zero, a company that aims to shine a light on what is really going on in your tank.
H2 Zero places a device near the bottom that sends data to an app accessible on your phone. It also helps to measure the water quality, and allows users to schedule tank and roof cleanings through H2 Zero partners.
“I got the idea for H2 Zero five years ago when I noticed my elderly neighbour struggling to check the water levels in her tank,” Mr Woodley said.
They both agreed that there should be an easier way to carry out such a basic Bermuda task.
“You have a gauge to measure the gas in your car,” Mr Woodley said. “Why isn’t there one in your water tank?”
At the time, he had just returned from a ten-year career in the United States, working as an audio engineer for the likes of Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
“I was looking for a new project,” he said.
Creating a device and app turned out to be much more complicated than he expected.
“It took me five or six years to teach myself computer coding,” he said. “I tried to build a device and was semi-successful at it.”
One of his challenges was the many different shapes and configurations of local water tanks.
His initial approach was to use sonic waves to measure the water depth, but there were too many variables with that. He eventually realised it was simpler to measure the weight of the water by putting a device at the bottom of the tank.
Mr Woodley partnered with a device maker to do this. He was able to build the app part himself.
He launched H2 Zero in January 2022, and now has his equipment in more than 300 tanks around the island.
“I love being able to help people,” he said.
A few months ago, he was asked to help resolve a dispute between one of his customers and a water truck driver. The homeowner ordered four loads of water, but could see only two in his tank. The water truck driver insisted he delivered the requested amount.
“I was able to look at my back-end analytics and see that the water was delivered, but half of it drained from the tank the same day,” Mr Woodley said. “The customer had a crack halfway up his tank. The customer was able to find the crack and repair it, and the relationship with the water truck driver was also fixed.”
Mr Woodley has found that one in eight water tanks in Bermuda has a crack in it.
Another customer was having problems with his water pump burning out when the water level in the tank ran too low. The water pump was placed in such a way that he could not hear it when it was running.
“When the tank was empty, the pump kept trying to suck in water and eventually burnt out,” Mr Woodley said. “When it did that, it melted all the pipes as well, and he had to get a plumber to fix it. That cost thousands, and was happening to him every summer.”
The H2 Zero device and app helped the man to take control of his tank to prevent that from happening again. The app provides accurate data on how many gallons of water the resident has and how many days left before the resident needs to order more.
It is a subscription-based business. A one-year subscription is $468, a two-year subscription is $408 a year and a three-year subscription is $348 per year.
“If the job is more complicated, there may be an installation fee added on to that, but most installations are straightforward,” Mr Woodley said.
Doing the installations, Mr Woodley has discovered that many tanks are very dirty.
“Sometimes you open a tank up and it stinks,” he said. “And people are drinking and washing with that water. The Government says the water tank should be cleaned every six years, but many people don’t follow that.”
In the future H2 Zero wants to launch a certification programme. When the tank is cleaned by one of their partners, the homeowner gets a dated certificate to prove it. This can then be given to real-estate agents to make the home more attractive to potential buyers or renters.
“That is still down the road,” Mr Woodley said. “Our main focus, at the moment, is just getting the devices into tanks.”
He warned that the H2 Zero app is useless without the device at the bottom of the tank.
“We have had people download the app, and then complain that it does not work,” he said. “One person even wrote that as a review on our website. When you subscribe to our service, we install the device, and then give you a number that you put into the app when you download it.”
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