Billions of dollars in losses are suffered each year due to one of the most common insurance claims, water leaks in your house! Whether the water leaks in your house comer from a leaky pipe, a water heater or dishwasher that suddenly floods the house, a pipe that bursts out of nowhere or as the result of a natural disaster, water can wreak absolute havoc on your home. Millions of homeowners each year come to know the devastation water damage can bring about to their home. Under layers of sheetrock, insulation and wiring are the pipes that bring you the water for your bath, your dishes, and your laundry. Not too many people think about having water leaks into their home, but it's not if it happens, it's when it happens.
Water Leaks In Your Home
Often, a water leak starts with an unnoticed drip. For years and years, water can be dripping from the pipe into the inside of your walls. The leaking pipe can cause mold to grow in the insulation and the sheetrock, and it can weaken the structure of the house's frame. Mold can cause health problems like difficulty breathing, sneezing fits and other respiratory illness. The mold growing from having an unknown water leak in your home is a contributing factor in allergies and can be extremely dangerous for anyone with asthma. The surface starts to weaken as the water drips to saturate the ceiling, floor, or wall. Eventually, the wall, floor or ceiling can completely give way, and this is how you finally know that there is a severe problem. Clearly having water leaks in your home is a situation you want to avoid. There's also another way that a small leak becomes a BIG problem over time. Each drip of the small leak weakens the surface of the pipe.
Here is where it can cost you hundreds if not thousands...
Once the pipe bursts all of the gallons that were suppose to be going through your pipes ruin the foundation of your home, essential documents, and even pictures of sweet memories. Appliances that need water to operate can also cause problems if there's a leak in their system. Culprits include water heaters, air conditioners, dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators. There won't typically be a small leak or even a warning if something bursts. Before you know it you're out thousands of dollars. These flooding issues, whether from pipes or broken appliances can quickly hit you right in the pocketbook. Not only will you need to pay a plumber to find and repair the leaks, but you'll also need to fix all the damage from the resulting flood. Do you like to install drywall? Good, me either! These leaks can mean new drywall or new insulation you might also need to reinforce the structural bearing of your home. Water leaks in your home can ruin flooring by floodwater, so just for a minute think about having to get new carpet or even worse new hardwood floor.
Not The Furniture
Furniture, as you may know, can be pricey. As an added insult, if an appliance was the cause of the water damage, you might need to replace this as well. Not to mention after all of this, your homeowner's insurance rates are going to go up after you file a claim to salt the wound. Unfortunately, not much can be done to prevent water damage as a result of natural disasters. Luckily, many tools can assist homeowners in lessening the damage caused by water, and even smart home devices that can prevent water damage from occurring in the first place. Today we’ll drill down on these tools and devices, and what they are capable of doing. Even if you had your doubts, it is possible to detect water leaks before they happen so read on…
Smart homes deliver solutions to many of life's problems and nuisances. You can choose from smart lights, smart locks, smart cameras, and smart home security systems
, smart thermostats, digital assistants, and also smart home water sensors
. Using a water sensor in your smart home is a great way to counter what could quickly become a serious and costly problem. These water sensors can connect to your smart home hub. Whenever a problem (like a leak) in your water system is detected, the sensor can send you an alert on your cell phone, so you can quickly take action and prevent further damage from occurring. Some water sensors made for smart homes can even be programmed to shut off the home's water supply if a leak is detected. Receiving these instant notifications is especially useful if you are away from your home on business or vacation.
Water Leak Detection Systems
While water sensors are making their way into homes worldwide, they got their start as water leak detection systems in buildings housing computer mainframes, valuable artifacts and other vital assets. Water leak detection systems are still absolute necessities in banks, for the national archives, and in data processing centers. It’s almost impossible for a water leak detection system to pinpoint the exact location of a leak, but many modern water leak detection systems used in these types of building can use smart digital technology to locate water leaks to within 1 meter of source. The systems that detect water leaks in large operations need to be unobtrusive while still being large enough to carry out their tasks. Over the years, these systems have become more commonplace on a smaller scale, being installed in newer commercial office buildings and now starting to make an appearance in more and more homes.
How Do Water Sensors Work?
As technology progresses at the rapid rate, these advances are made, so the device becomes smaller. What once took up large amounts of hidden floor space can now provide the same use in a much smaller package. There are several different types of water leak detection systems available, and they all work in different ways. To detect water leaks, most of the best water leak sensors intended for home use measure the electrical conductivity of any water that is present. There are prongs or some other sort of metal contact point on the water leak sensor, and when water touches both of them, it completes an electrical circuit. This electrical circuit sends a signal to whatever monitoring system is in use.
4 Types Of Water Leak Detection Systems
There are several different types of water leak detection systems available for use in the home. They range from fundamental systems to the incredibly technologically advanced.
1) Basic Leak Detection Systems
The most basic water leak sensors will merely sound an alarm if a leak is detected. This is great if you are home and can run and shut off the water main but what if you are at work or out shopping instead? Don't worry, there are plenty of systems offering more robust functionality.
2) Home Monitoring Connected Leak Detection Systems
Some water leak detection sensors are connected to home security systems monitored by an alarm company. When the sensor detects a leak, it sends a signal to the alarm company who can then let you know that there's a problem that needs to be handled. Many alarm companies use apps for their customers' convenience, and the notification will often come pinging through in-app on your smartphone. This allows you to quickly get home and fix the problem before it causes any significant damage. One nice thing about using an app through a home monitoring system is that you can give permissions to other people as well. If you aren’t able to quickly get to your home in order to shut off the water main, you can allow a neighbor, family member or close friend to get these notifications as well. If they have access to your home, they can go in and shut off the water, mitigating further damage.
3) Integrated Smart Home Leak Detection Systems
Another approach is to get a water leak detection system that integrates with your smart home hub. If you haven’t yet brought your home into the digital age by making it a smart home, it’s never too late to get started. Leak sensors can connect with your smart home system which can also alert you of leaks and problems through app notifications and alarms in your home. One key benefit to having a home in which all systems are integrated through a hub is that it makes treating problems and preventing damage from this kind of problem so much easier. Let’s say you’re out of state on vacation when you get a notification on your phone that a leak has been detected. You know the situation isn’t good, but you also know that you don’t need to panic. You only call your plumber and alert him of the situation so he can head to your house. By the time he gets there, you can have a temporary code programmed into the smart lock for him to use to enter your home. He can then shut off the water main which will allow him to easily do his job. He can get information from your smart water leak detection system that lets him know that the water leak is located in an upstairs bathroom, and then he can fix it. What a change from a decade ago when you would have just arrive home from a fun vacation only to find that your ceiling had caved in and your home had been completely flooded and destroyed.
4) Leak Detection Systems With Shut Off Valves
Some water leak systems have a unique feature in them called a "flow interrupter" or a shutoff valve. This type of leak detection system can prevent a lot of damage from being done. Not only will the system alert you of leaks, when a problem is detected the flow interrupter can actually stem the flow of water and prevent it (or at least slow it) from reaching the problem area. The system can be programmed with set limits so it knows what a regular flow of water is. If the leak detection system finds that more water than usual is passing through the system, it can interrupt the flow of water into the home. Also, the flow interrupter can sometimes shut off the water flow if the temperature drops too low and there’s a risk of the pipes freezing and bursting. It should go without saying that you need to have this sort of system installed by a professional. This is absolutely not a DIY job. Many factors play into when it is safe to shut off the water main in your home, and you need a qualified plumber to determine this. If your smart home has a sprinkler system in case of fires, you need to make sure the water to this system is never shut off, so why leave it to chance and risk a self-install that could cause as many problems as the damage you're hoping to stave off? You may also need to speak with a heating professional about the safety of switching off your water system, especially if you have an older model heating system operated by steam.
Where Should Water Leak Detection Sensors Be Placed?
As we mentioned earlier, while unfortunate, water leaks are incredibly commonplace. All homes have vast networks of pipes running through them, and any pipe system can fail. This is especially true for older homes. Older pipes are more prone to rust and damage and are more likely to leak than pipes in newer homes are. Newly constructed homes are not immune to pipe damage though, as they're sometimes built quickly and without the best materials. When it comes to appliances, it’s all too easy to neglect maintenance. Hot water tanks for example are only expected to last a certain amount of time before needing replacement but many people don’t know this and push them far beyond their usable life. This can result in ruinous leaks. Hoses in washing machines and dishwashers wear out over time, even braided ones. Water supply lines for refrigerators can become loose, spilling water everywhere. Tanks on toilets can crack or break and will then shamelessly flood water all over your bathroom. Even if you’re diligent maintaining your home appliances, there’s no foolproof way to prevent water damage from occurring. Far too often, leaks happen when you are away from home for a period of time, and if you don’t have a water leak detections system in place, you may never know that there is a problem until it’s much too late and you’re faced with extensive, costly damage. Merely having a water leak detection system is not enough though. If the sensors are not placed in the right spots, you might as well not bother having it installed in the first place. When installing sensors in your home for a leak detection system, you need to make sure they are scattered across multiple locations.
Here are some areas where you should strongly consider placing leak sensors:
- Near toilets
- By washing machines
- Under the sinks in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms
- Behind the refrigerator, especially if you have an ice maker or water dispenser
- By the dishwasher
- By anything connected to a water system, including furnaces or humidifiers
- Near hot water heaters
Where To Buy Water Leak Detection Systems
When this type of system first came on the market, there were very few suppliers and almost none of them sold to everyday consumers. Thankfully, that’s changed. Today, you can find water leak detection systems just about anywhere you can find home improvement products. You can also find them online, and often you can get customized systems from your home monitoring company or through the operator of your smart home system. It’s best if your water leak detection system is integrated into your smart home
since this will give you the most confidence of being kept informed of any leaks even when you’re out and about.
What To Look For When Purchasing A Water Leak Detection System
There are many different types of water sensors, and they all operate on different systems and in different ways. We’ll round out with a glance at some general factors you should take into account when purchasing a water leak detection system…
Connection Requirements – Some leak detection systems will work through your home WiFi network while others need to be integrated using a hub. Without these connections to the Internet, your water leak detection system won't be able to alert you to the problem it's found rendering the whole affair pointless. If you are purchasing a system that needs to connect to a hub, be sure to get one that is compatible with the smart hub in your home. Some sensors will only work with hubs operating on the same communication protocol. Use other sensors with smart hubs across the web for reliability and instant notifications.
Placement – As we said, you should opt for multiple sensors, but where are you planning on placing them? You'll need to be sure that the sensor can fit in the space you have available for it, and you need to be sure the cable is long enough to reach where it needs to go.
Power Supply – The majority of leaks operate with battery power but some must plug into a DC outlet for energy. If your sensor requires electricity, make sure you have this in place.
As you can see, having a water leak detection system in your home is a smart choice, even if you don’t have a smart home. Installing one of these warning systems will give you total peace of mind when you're away and it's tough to put a price on that. If you are trying to save money by purchasing water leak detectors
, you have come to the right place. For more information on smart products visit the smart home blog
for the latest information from your trusted advisor.