It’s a tough pill to swallow, but at some point, most of us will experience a significant water leak in our homes. In fact, even a minor leak can cause a lot of damage if it’s not detected or ignored for a long time. Our home plumbing systems are complex, and most of the pipes are hidden out of sight. If you notice any signs of water leaks, such as stains spreading on walls and ceilings, higher water bills, a drop in water pressure, and more, it’s time to contact your local plumber. Water can cause a lot of damage in a very short period of time and the repairs can be expensive. In this article, we will look at three smart gadgets to prevent water leaks because prevention is better than cure.
Before we begin, let’s take a look at the scale of the problem to help you make informed decisions. A recent study carried out by the Insurance Information Institute covers the home insurance claims data up to 2019. This study found that around 30% of all insurance claims made by American homeowners were related to water damage problems. In fact, water and freezing damage only came second to wind damage overall. So, this is a major problem, and ignoring the problem can cost you a lot of hassle and money.
There is a solution to hidden water leaks and major leaks that can occur when you’re away from home; smart gadgets. These devices can prevent or limit the amount of water damage caused to your home. They can warn you about water leaks, and some can even shut-off the water supply to prevent water damage! The three main smart water devices that we will cover in this article are smart water leak detectors, smart water monitors, and smart water shut-off valves. Let’s take a look at all three in more detail:
This is the most basic smart device of the three types that we will cover in this article. It’s an inexpensive gadget, and it’s quick and easy to install one or more in your home. These devices tend to vary in shape depending on the make and model. But, most smart water leak detectors are palm-sized sensor units and they all work in the same way. The sensors are placed on the ground in areas where you would expect a water leak. Some prime spots for a sensor, include: under the water heater, under the sinks, under the washer, and more.
If there is a leak, the water will trigger the sensor when it comes into contact with it. The sensor then sends a notification to your smartphone, and some models even set off an alarm that you can hear in your home. Certain models have a built-in sensor cord that can be spread over a wider area, and others can detect temperature changes for freezing pipe alerts!
A water leak detector does have a few drawbacks when compared to the other two options detailed below. First, they can only sense water that comes into physical contact with the sensor. So, if the leak flows into a different area or around the sensor, there will be no warnings. Next, these sensors are only effective in smaller areas where water pooling may occur. This means that they cannot detect dripping faucets, hidden leaky pipes, and running toilets. Finally, the sensor only sends a notification, it can take no other action, and it’s up to you to take action to fix the problem quickly.
A smart water monitor is the next level, it has more comprehensive features to warn of leaks and to help the homeowner to take earlier action. There are several model types on the market, but they can be divided into two broad categories. The first water monitor is strapped to the water supply line, and the second is plumbed into the pipe. A water monitor detects changes in water pressure, if the pressure rises or falls, it will send a notification to your smartphone. The water pressure changes when the water freezes, so you get advanced warning of freezing issues too.
These smart devices work well, but they have two key limitations to consider. First, there is no way to use a smart water monitor in a home or apartment building where the water supply lines are split between different homes. The water must circulate in one circuit, or the system will not work. Second, these devices will only send a notification, they cannot take any action to shut-off the water and limit the extent of the damage.
This is the most useful smart device of the three types we have covered here, and this comes at a price. These devices can be expensive, and they need to be installed by a professional plumber to work properly. The installation process takes around an hour, and some home insurance companies offer a discount when you get one installed. These devices monitor the water flow, and they are linked to an electro-mechanical switch that can shut-off the main water supply. This limits the extent of the damage caused by a pipe burst or a frozen pipe as it thaws.
The smart water shut-off valve uses an AI to interpret how the water flows into and around your home. When the pattern is understood, it’s easy for the AI to notice changes and take action. Water pressure and flow changes often indicate leaking, or freezing issues, and a notification is sent to your smartphone. The best models may even suggest the cause of the problem, such as a leaky faucet or running toilet. It’s up to the homeowner to set their preference in the software, the shut-off may be automatic, and you can turn the water back on as required.
If you’re interested in a smart gadget to protect your home from water leaks and freezing, contact your local certified plumber today.