When we think of incidents that damage our homes, big disasters like tornadoes and fires likely come to mind. It’s something as seemingly minor as a water leak, however, that’s much more likely to damage your home, and that damage can be costly. According to statistics, the average homeowners insurance claim for water damage is more than $10,000!
From plumbing malfunctions to appliance accidents, leaks occur more often than you way think. More than 1 in 5 homeowners insurance claims are related to water damage or freezing—and that doesn’t even include flooding, which is covered by a separate policy.
Often, a small leak occurs without any telltale signs and so it goes unnoticed for some time. Meanwhile, damage is being done, and thousands upon thousands of gallons of water are wasted all because leak detection never occurred. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average leak in a home wastes 10,000 gallons of water per year, and 10 percent of homes are wasting at least 90 gallons of water per day because of leaks.
So, other than a puddle of water or obvious dripping, how can you know if you have a leak? One of the easiest ways to detect leaks as soon as they start is to install water leak detectors in key areas of your home. Here we take a look at how these little water sensors can save you from some big headaches and repair bills.
What is a water leak detector?
A water leak sensor is an electronic device that does just what it sounds like it does— it detects water leaks. While some basic leak detectors simply sound an alarm when water is detected, more modern smart water sensors will alert homeowners to those leaks via an app on their mobile device, so they can immediately respond (or get someone else to immediately respond) to check out and address the situation as needed.
Catching water leaks early can help homeowners avoid costly repairs, potentially save them money on their water bills and protect our planet’s valuable water resources.
How do water leak detectors work?
There are several different types of water leak detectors. Basic models are battery operated devices that are placed in areas prone to leaks, such as around pipes, pumps and appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. When they detect moisture, they sound an alarm that can be heard if you’re in the vicinity.
Smart water leak detection take things to the next level and connect either via your home’s Wi-Fi network or through a smart home hub. Again, sensors are placed in key areas, but when they detect moisture, an alert is sent to you via an app on your phone, so you find out as quickly as possible—even if you’re not home—and have the ability to eliminate or minimize any damage or water waste. Some detectors will also alert you if they sense freezing temperatures and/or abnormal levels of humidity, while others can be paired with your home security system for professional monitoring.
Even more advanced water leak detectors work within your pipes and have water shut-off features that will automatically shut off your home’s water supply if they sense that the water flow in your pipes is irregular and/or floor sensors detect water. Some detectors with automatic shut-off features are simple enough for homeowners to install themselves, but others are more complicated and will likely require a professional plumber for proper installation.
Prices for water leak detectors run a wide gamut. Basic standalone sensors can be purchased for less than $20 while those with automatic shut-off features cost hundreds of dollars.
Do I need a water leak detector?
No, you probably don’t need one. Water leaks aren’t often a matter of life and death. If, however, you want to prevent potentially serious water damage to your home, and you want to save money on your water bill and do your part to conserve water, then you’re definitely going to want one.
Sure, your homeowners insurance policy may cover some damage from water leaks, but to avoid the hassle of filing a claim, the headache of finding someone to do repairs and the sting of potential hikes in the price of your premium, installing water leak detectors in key areas seems like a small price to pay.
The bottom line on water leak detectors
While they may not be as essential as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, water leak detectors can play an important role in protecting your home. Affordable and simple to use, they’re a smart investment that can save you a whole lot of money and headaches in the long run.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.