Does Your Home Need a Leak Detection System?

Many homeowners assume that if a pipe doesn’t burst, their property is not at risk of water damage. Yet hidden leaks, appliance issues and flooding due to a defective sump pump can contribute to rot, mold and structural concerns that will likely require you to file a claim.

Excluding natural disasters, leak detection systems alert you to the presence of moisture in your home. Also known as water alarms, some models operate like smoke detectors, while other “smart” systems can be monitored with your phone. Learn more about the benefits.

What Is a Leak Detection System?

When the presence of water is detected, this device sounds an alarm. More comprehensive leak detection systems monitor how water flows through your pipes and you can receive additional notifications regarding frozen pipes or changes in flow.

Since water alarms only identify leaks in the direct room and adjacent areas, it’s important to install these devices throughout your home for more complete protection. As a baseline, add water alarms in spaces with appliances, under the bathroom sink and near pipes in the basement and crawl spaces.

Many leak detection systems use a battery similar to a smoke detector. Others may be plugged in or include a backup battery to anticipate power failures. If connected to your home’s control panel, the alarm will sound in your home. For smart devices, the alert may come through your phone.

At this point, it’s advised that you take action to temporarily control the leak before it gets worse. Get the leak repaired as soon as possible to prevent your home from experiencing greater damage.

Types of Leak Detection Systems

Leak detection systems include a few different types:

  • Passive alarms operate like smoke detectors, only sounding an alarm when exposed to moisture. For comprehensive coverage, you’re advised to install multiple detectors throughout your home and have them connected to the control panel.
  • Active alarms notify the homeowner of the leak and, through being connected to the water shut-off valve, restrict water flow to the location. These can be professionally installed to a single appliance or across the full plumbing system.
  • Smart detectors connect to the home’s Wi-Fi network and send a notification to the user’s smartphone about the presence and location of a leak. Ultrasonic technology may additionally monitor water flow and pressure through your pipes. As another benefit, the app associated with the detector allows for customization regarding types of leaks and water usage, and may provide data on consumption patterns.
  • Shut-off valves can be traditional or smart and offer the option of closing off the valve when you’re not at home. These devices, coupled with a water monitor, are ideal for less-accessible areas like crawl spaces and for vacation properties.
  • Freeze sensors identify when temperatures drop below a certain point and send an alert regarding pipe freezing risks. These may additionally shut off the valve once the temperature dips below a certain point to reduce the possibility of a burst pipe.
  • Reverse osmosis leak detectors are ideally installed below sinks to sense an increasing presence of moisture and turn off the water supply until the leak is fixed.

Choosing a Leak Detection System

When choosing a leak detection system:

  • Think about where you’ll be adding detectors, including the locations and types of appliances.
  • Determine if you only need an alarm or a detector that will additionally shut off the water valve.
  • Think about how you prefer to get notifications, including if you’ll want to receive messages about water usage and temperature.
  • Think about power usage, changing batteries and device placement. Make sure you can easily access the detector and that you have a backup plan for power outages.

Benefits of Leak Detection Systems

Leak detection systems:

  • Alert you to the presence of water accumulating in your home, including in less-visible areas where rot and mildew could persist for years and otherwise cause structural damage.
  • Allow you to rapidly respond to a leak, whether by shutting off a valve, setting up a bucket to catch water or calling a plumber to make repairs.
  • Help reduce risks for mold, mildew and water damage in your home.
  • Can help you monitor water usage to track consumption and your water bill.
  • Offer additional insights into water pressure and flow.

Installing a leak detection system allows you to respond faster and shows your home insurance carrier that you’re concerned about your property’s structural integrity. To discuss coverage or make adjustments, contact your agent at HUB International today.