Environment / Nature

Smart water leak detector available for home use

Shawn Novack writes that options include devices that can be connected via Wi-Fi to alert of leaks or other issues.

This article was contributed by Shawn Novack, water conservation program manager with the Water Resources Association of San Benito County, San Benito County Water District.

The Future is Here

Over the last decade big strides have been made in software that can detect water leaks in your home or business. Before smart devices came along, home water leak detection meant looking at your water meter and calling the billing company if you noticed a discrepancy from your normal use. Not only is this time consuming, but it made it tricky to determine exactly where the issue was arising. And that’s only if you happened to catch it before a small leak became a big problem.

Now, you can simply install a smart leak detector in common trouble areas like near your sump pump and pipes or by common appliances like a water heater, washing machine, dishwasher, toilets, and sinks. Hook the device up via Wi-Fi and you’ll know immediately if there’s a problem at hand.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American homes lose one trillion gallons of water annually due to leaks. This is equivalent to the annual amount of water used in over eleven million homes.

Not only can these devices save water they can also potentially save you thousands of dollars in repair costs. A 1/8 inch crack in a pipe can leak two hundred and fifty gallons of water in a single day and the average insurance claim from a leak is approximately $7,000.

Very few insurance companies are offering premium reductions for implementing leak detection systems. If insurance discounts become more widespread, and more people became aware of those benefits, then demand could increase.

A water leak detector can alert you on your cell phone when something goes wrong, sounding an alarm and notifying you wherever you happen to be. Some water leak detectors can go further, and automatically shut off the water supply to your home in the event of a leak. This is especially attractive to people that have vacation properties or second homes that are a long distance from their main residence.

And while some water leak detectors use simple metal contacts to sense when water is pooling on the floor, others use advanced algorithms to monitor the water flow through your house and can even sense if you have a running toilet or dripping faucet. They can even recommend ways in which you can use less water overall; in this way, a water leak detector can also save you a ton of money on your water bill.

When choosing a water leak detector, first you have to decide if you want a device that merely alerts you when there’s a leak or one that can sense a leak and then automatically shut off the water to your home. A simple water leak detector costs less than $50, while more complicated and sophisticated leak detectors cost more than $400 and require professional installation.

Shawn Novack

Shawn Novack is the Director of the Water Resources Association of San Benito County. The Association represents the City of Hollister, the City of San Juan Bautista, the Sunnyslope County Water District and the San Benito County Water District for all their water conservation and water resource protection programs. Shawn has been in the field of water conservation for 20 years. He has a certification as a Water Conservation Practioner from the American Water Works Association California/Nevada Chapter. He also is a Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor through the Irrigation Association in Virginia. Before getting into the water industry, Shawn worked as a technical writer for the Naval Research Center in Monterey.