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Water Leak Detection and Flood Prevention

Catastrophic loss due to water damage from burst, leaking or freezing pipes and failed appliances is responsibile for hundreds of millions of dollars annually in damage and insurance claims.  Left unchecked even very small water leaks can cause major damage to property and structure over time.  Larger leaks from failed connections, broken pipes and hoses can destroy tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property in minutes if left unchecked.  While property and appliances can be repaired or replaced, precious memorabilia, photographs and links to our family cannot.  Water leak detection is critical to preventing damage

Three Levels of Water Leak Detection and Flood Protection:

  1. Water leak sensors placed strategically to sound a built-in alarm to notify residents
  2. Water sensors attached to an alarm system, dialer or Internet based system to send an alert to the home owner
  3. Water sensors or a water flow meter combined with a water valve that automatically turns off the water supply when a leak has been detected.  This may be combined with a local alert and/or remote notification.

When it comes to preventing damage the above three methods or levels offer an increasing level of protection. 

In the case of a simple water leak detector and local water alarm the resident must be at home in order to hear the alarm and react accordingly.  If they are at work, out shopping, on vacation, or cannot hear the alarm for any other reason it is not effective and major damage will still occur.


The second level of protection involves a water leak detector with a remote notification system.  This is much more effective because it will contact one or more people by telephone, email or text alert.  Whether they are home or away they'll be able to respond to the emergency.  In some cases this involves having water sensors connected to a monitored alarm system where the central station can call multiple contact numbers until someone is reached.  In other cases it's an automated water alarm with dialer or a water alarm with email or text alerts.  This system is more reliable but still requires someone to A) hear the alarm or notice the alert and B) drive back home and shut off water supply and find the source of the leak.


The third option provides a much higher level of protection because the system will automatically shut off the water supply as soon as a water leak is detected, avoiding any major damage in most cases.  At the same time the system will sound a local water alarm and may also send an alert by telephone, email or text to the home owner or property manager.  In a whole house or commercial water shut off system, multiple water sensors may be deployed in strategic locations. 


Three Types of Automatic Water Shut Off Systems to Prevent Flooding and Water Damage:


  1. Point of use systems like FloodStop that are connected locally to hot water tanks, dish washers, washing machines or sinks.  These have local water sensors and a water valve that turns off the water supply only to that system or section
  2. Whole house flood and leak detection systems with a water valve that attaches to the main supply line.  These may use wired sensors but often wireless water sensors are more practical.  When any one of the water sensors detect water, the water valve is shut off to the whole home.
  3. Smart Home Automation system with water sensors and an automated water valve.  This third category is similar to 2nd option but includes a smart home hub or home automation system that can take multiple steps including turning off the water supply, sounding a local alarm, sending email or text alerts as well as turning on lights.  This system or one connected to an alarm, can also be used to automatically turn off the water when going away or on vacation.

The most effective flood and water damage prevention will come from a whole house system with automatic water shut off valves and a remote alarm dialer, email or text messaging system that can notify mutiple people including the home or property owner, property manager, friends, neighbours and family when a water leak is detected.

Instead of relying on spot water sensors, a water flow meter may be combined with an automation or smart home system to detect unusual patterns of water flow.  Instead of detecting a water leak, it would either be set to detect any flow when the owner is away or on vacation.  Or it may be a smart system that responds when water flows longer than expected.  Emerging smart systems may "learn" the pattern of normal water usage from washing dishes, showering, watering the lawn or other daily activities and then react to water flow outside of this norm. 


It's clear that water damage can cause huge financial losses and damage to personal property that simply cannot be replaced.  Unfortunately most people don't think of leak and flood prevention until it's too late either because the concept wasn't introduced to them, or they feel it "can't happen to me".  The fact is that it CAN happen to anyone at any time so everyone should take steps to mitigate the losses when the time comes.  Using the mentality that "something is better than nothing", simple leak detector water alarms can be helpful to prevent losses.  More elaborate automatic water leak and flood prevention sysems while more costly, can pay back the cost many times over by reducing or eliminating major damage by reacting automatically to a leak or flood.   Sadly we often hear from people looking to prevent the NEXT leak or flood but from time to time we enjoy hearing about happy clients to have been saved by a system that was put in place before catastrophe struck and their homes or businesses were protected.

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