Water damage prevention

Worried about water damage?

Ever come home from vacation to a flooded basement?  May sound far-fetched, but it's happened to at least two of us on our team.  And, statistics show homeowners are actually four times more likely to have a water-related issue in the home that something stolen.  Think about how common some of these things are:

  • Leaking toilets
  • Burst washing machine hoses
  • Leaking pipes due to corrosion, rust, or cracks 

If the leak occurs when nobody is home, then the problem is usually much worse.

So how can a water damage situation be prevented?

Water sensor technology

Fortunately, there are sensor technologies available that can detect and even prevent water damage.  They detect a change in the environment, transmit data to the internet and notify you when a leak occurs.  Paying attention to alerts on your phone or a quick check of an email can prevent some serious damage from occurring.

So how do these technologies work?  Basically, there are three categories:

  • Individual sensors placed in problem areas – Usually, you'll install these where a leak is most likely to occur like the base of the water heater tank, by the toilet, by the washing machine, and even by a sump pump in the case of an overflow or pump failure. These sensors are simple sensors that contain two leads that get “short-circuited” when water is present. When that happens, you get notified by email or text.  The advantage of this solution versus the next two is that this method does not assume  you have a problem. If the sensor detects water then there is definitely a problem.  Look for detectors that have rope sensors that can reach places for potential leaks can start.  
  • Water flow detection – There two types of these devices. One is installed in the main water line and requires a licensed plumber to install. These sensors typically contain an impeller inside the pipe that can measure the amount of water flow. The other is mounted on the pipe and can be done without the help of a plumber.  This type of sensor works by detecting temperature differences at two separate points on the pipe which indicates how much water is flowing in the pipe. The idea behind both sensors is that if water is flowing for longer than normal or is flowing when the house is not occupied, then an alert will get generated. The advantage of this solution over the first option is that you only need one sensor on your main water line versus a variety of sensors placed throughout your house.
  • Automatic shut-off valves – This solution usually works in conjunction with one of the two methods described above. You will need a licensed plumber to install the device in line with the water main. When a water sensor in either of the previous examples detects water, a signal is sent to the sensor on the main water line. The sensor contains a ball valve in the pipe which will then close effectively shutting of the water to the whole house. The advantage of this solution is that the water damage will be limited to a few seconds preventing thousands of dollars of damage. 

Which method is right for me?

That all depends on the problem you are trying to solve. 

If you have a basement that is prone to flooding and you'll have time to react, then the first option is the least expensive and the easiest to set up. You will get alerted immediately when water is detected and you will know exactly where the problem is.

If you're worried about a leak occurring anywhere in the house where it may not be feasible to place a water sensor, for example, a pipe behind a wall, or you don't want to place a lot of sensors in multiple locations of your home, then the flow detection device would be best. 

If you're away from home a lot or have a vacation home that is often vacant, the automatic shut-off solution is highly recommended.

Whichever water sensor solution you decide to put into play, you'll want to make sure you have the right coverage for your water heater, devices and your home.  Click below, fill out our form and we'll contact you to make sure you're covered.

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