If the rubber hose on your washing machine fails, it can cause significant damage to your home. If that leak goes undetected in the basement or another room that you might not regularly visit, the accumulated water can cause potentially catastrophic damage, from moldy walls to warped floorboards. The smart technology in water sensor systems can help quickly alert homeowners of potential leaks and prevent the need for costly and time-consuming repairs.
“Water damage is a leading cause of loss in the home,” says Scott Humphrey, a Travelers Risk Control specialist, who adds that smart technology is helping consumers manage their personal risks. “In addition to potentially preventing serious damage, water sensors can also help a homeowner avoid the loss of personal possessions and the hassle of coordinating repairs to your home.”
How Do Water Sensors Work?
A water sensor can detect the presence of water, often by measuring the electrical conductivity of the water present and completing a circuit to send a signal. For installations that are not monitored by a professional alarm monitoring company, the sensor and its control module can send out a notification to the homeowner through an app that can be read on a smartphone. If you will be out of town, you can add family members, friends or other caretakers to receive notifications of a leak so they can quickly prevent further damage.
Some water sensor systems can be programmed to shut off the water to the house to prevent a small leak from becoming a large one. However, during the heating season, if your home is heated by an older steam heating system, consult with your heating professional to determine if it is safe to turn off the water supply. Also, if your home is protected by a fire sprinkler system, do not turn off the water to this system.
Where Should Water Sensors Be Placed?
In addition to washing machines, failing hot water heaters, leaking dishwashers, damaged supply lines to automatic ice makers and overflowing toilets are some areas where water damage inside the home can occur, often without advanced warning. Performing regular maintenance and checking for rusty, corroded or damaged water supply lines and other potential problems before you have a leak is one of the best ways to help prevent water damage.
You might want to install water sensors in areas near:
- Washing machines.
- Refrigerators with ice makers and water dispensers.
- Hot water heaters.
- Furnaces connected to hot water systems, including hot air system humidifiers.
Water sensors and their control modules are available at most home improvement stores. Note that some devices only work once, then need to be replaced, while others are more durable. Also, not all sensors come with clear installation instructions. If you are not comfortable installing them yourself, contact an experienced professional to install them and help ensure that you receive notifications of potential leaks.