Protect Your Home From Water Leaks
Prevent catastrophic damage and high water bills
Guide to Water Leak Detector Systems & Alternative Options
One in fifty-five homes experience a catastrophic water leak each year – this is a staggering number. When catastrophic leaks do occur, you enter into a pretty long process likely including – significant renovation, home displacement and mold remediation. We’re here to tell you that the right preventative measures can save you the trouble and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Leak detection systems come in two varieties and can help save your home from high water bills and catastrophic damage.
Water leak detectors are moisture sensors that you scatter around your home. When a water leak detector encounters moisture, one of a variety of things will happen, depending on the system that you have. If it’s internet connected, you could receive a text/e-mail alert notifying you that there may be a leak. There may also be an audible alarm and/or the system will shut-off your water supply. Certain other sensors may also link up to a dashboard to describe the condition around the sensor, such as temperature and humidity.
Whole home leak detection systems use flow, pressure or other characteristics of the water running through a pipe and data analytics to determine when there is a leak and automatically shut off your water. Examples of whole home leak detection systems are Leak Defense and Flo Logic.
Whole Home System by WaterHero
COMPARING WATER LEAK DETECTORS AGAINST WHOLE HOME LEAK DETECTION SYSTEMS
The important part of water leak prevention is going to be choosing how you want to protect your home. Water leak detectors are acceptable if you’d like to protect a 1-2 appliances or a bathroom. For example, if you’re particularly concerned about your upstairs bathroom or the water heater in your basement.
Despite this, as you may be aware, water leaks can occur anywhere in your home. All bathrooms, appliances, water heaters, faucets, etc. are vulnerable and that doesn’t take into account damage from burst pipes or frozen pipes which run through your entire home. Some types of piping are more prone to leaks as well, such as Kitec. Learn more about our Kitec Piping here. If you’re concerned about damage impacting your whole home, water leak detectors may not be comprehensive enough and you might as well consider a whole home automatic water shut off valve.
WHOLE HOME LEAK DETECTION SYSTEMS ARE MORE ROBUST AND PREFERRED BY INSURANCE COMPANIES
A whole home leak detection system and/or automatic water shut off valve typically identifies when water is running continuously for an extended period of time and automatically shuts off your water. This system works with small and large leaks alike and can prevent you from losing hundreds to thousands of dollars in damaged property and as well as high water bills caused by eroded toilet flappers and more. Insurance companies believe this is a great alternative to leak detectors and therefore, typically, provide more discounts for having these types of systems installed in your home.
That said, below is more information on where to place water leak detectors if that is the route you choose. Before reading placement strategies, remember to remind your family members to not move or kick the leak detectors as they will not function or protect your home appropriately. If you want to talk through specifics about your home, feel free to sign up for our e-mail list above and our experts will provide an unbiased assessment of the best option for you. To learn more about automatic water shut off valve, learn more here.
HOW TO PLACE WATER LEAK DETECTORS
Water Leak Detectors need to be placed strategically to be most effective in your home. For maximum efficiency and protection, you likely need over 10 placed in various areas depending on the size of your home. Recommended places include but are not limited to:
- Behind toilets. There are a lot of reasons your toilet could be leak, including a supply line failure, an overflow, or others. Placing a water leak detector behind the toilet could help identify excess moisture stemming from these issues when you don’t see it yourself.
- Under sinks. Sinks can leak from the tap, from the pipes beneath them, or from user error. Placing discs in the cabinet beneath the sink or below pipes will notify you of these issues and help prevent moisture from stemming in the area.
- Under your refrigerator or dishwasher. Placing water leak detectors under kitchen appliances that use water, or in the refrigerators case defrost drains or ice maker line failures, will help detect if there is a part failure or a leak due to human error. Adding detectors in these areas can help to detect moisture and damage to floors
- Under washing machines. Whether it is a top-load washer or a front-load washer, most leaks occur in the pipes behind the device. Therefore, placing the water leak detector towards the back of the washer would be most effective to protect this specific appliance.
- Around the water heater. Water heaters can leak from the tank itself or spray from the pipes. Place the leak detector at the most ideal spot between the tank itself and the pipes to catch any leaks that may occur.
- By doors, including to balconies and the garage. While water leak detectors in these places aren’t mandatory for leak prevention, they could help during stormy weather to identify if seals around your doors need replacing or a door is open and letting in rainwater. These can be placed around any doors, including doors to balconies, doors with a double screen door, or the garage door.
WHERE TO PLACE THE OTHER WATER LEAK DETECTOR HARDWARE
If it exists, the water leak detector hub should be placed in a central location so that it is close to Wi-Fi or Ethernet and will receive good connection to immediately alert you if there is an issue. If the hub is placed too far from a router or cable, the alert could be delayed by slow connection.
If your water leak detector system includes a shutoff valve, it should be installed on the water main right where water enters the home. When the system alerts you that there is a leak or danger of a leak, it should automatically shut off the water flow from your water main to prevent any further damage.
EXAMPLES OF LEAK DETECTION SYSTEMS
There are many water leak detector systems out there but we’ve listed examples of a few of them towards the end of this article. Let us know if you have any questions.
- Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi Water Leak and Freeze Detector: This system connects directly to your wireless internet without a hub and can alert you to other conditions such as cold and humidity that leads to other water related issues.
- Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector: This is another sensor that measures both moisture and freeze conditions. It can be comparable with the Honeywell, however, set up has been rated slightly more difficult. Both can withstand a couple inches of water, but not much more.
- Ultitech Wireless Water Leak Detector: While this sensor is much cheaper than others, it does have a few downsides. The sensor must be placed on a vertical surface and the battery life is approximately one year. However, if you need a sensor for a specific, short-term solution, this is a great option.
- LeakSmart Wireless and Waterproof Leak Detector Sensor: This sensor relies on a hub and can detect both temperature and moisture. LeakSmart also includes a shut off valve.
Though water leak detectors may seem more convenient to install, they are much less effective at preventing damage from leaks. First, 1-2 sensors won’t protect your whole home – to get full protection most homes require 13-17 sensors, driving up the cost and difficulty of installation. Second, many times these sensors get kicked around by homeowners or family, making them lose value in the long term. A whole home system is the best option for full home protection so we recommend that you consider both options as you make your decision