Did you know that water damage claims are now higher than fire claims? Leaky toilets, burst pipes and washing machine hoses can turn your home into a flooded mess. If there’s nobody home to detect a leak the problem can become much worse.

But simple, inexpensive devices, such as a water sensor and automatic shut-off valve, can detect and even prevent water damage.


What is a water sensor?

A water sensor is a device with a probe that detects a change in the environment, transmits data to the internet and notifies you when a leak occurs. 

There are three types of water sensor technologies

Plumber is repairing a leaky drain in bathroom

1. Individual sensors placed in problem areas 

Usually, you’ll install these where a leak is most likely to occur like the base of the water heater tank, by the toilet, by the washing machine, and even by a sump pump in the case of an overflow or pump failure. These simple sensors contain two leads that get short-circuited when water is present. When that happens, you get notified by email or text. 

Are they expensive? A simple water sensor costs less than $60 and is easy to install.

2. Water flow detector 

There are two types of these devices:

  • One type is installed in the main water line and requires a licensed plumber to install. This sensor can measure the amount of water flow.
  • The other type is mounted on the pipe and can be done without the help of a plumber. This type of sensor works by detecting temperature differences at two separate points on the pipe, indicating how much water is flowing in the pipe.

The idea behind both sensors is that if water is flowing for longer than normal or is flowing when the house is not occupied, then an alert will be generated.

3. Automatic shut-off valve

This solution usually works in conjunction with one of the two water flow detector methods described above. You will need a licensed plumber to install the device in line with the water main. When a water sensor detects water, a signal is sent to the sensor on the main water line. The sensor contains a ball valve in the pipe which will then close, effectively shutting off the water to the whole house. The advantage of this solution is that the water damage will be limited to a few seconds, preventing thousands of dollars in losses.

Is it expensive? A water shut-off system will probably require a plumber. In some cases, it may also need a connected home hub to function.

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© 2017 The Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved. This article is for informational purposes only. All recommendations are general guidelines and are not intended to be exhaustive or complete, nor are they designed to replace information or instructions from the manufacturer of your equipment. Contact your equipment service representative or manufacturer with specific questions. Under no circumstances shall BI&I or any party involved in creating or delivering this article be liable for any loss or damage that results from the use of the information or images contained in or linked to in this article.



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