Yours truly came home yesterday afternoon to find water from a cracked pipe pouring out of a kitchen cabinet, down the wall, into the toaster, across the counter and floor….you get the idea. I shudder to think what the kitchen would have looked like if we’d been away for the weekend!
The plumber is coming today.
Remember that catch phrase “There’s an app for that?” Believe it or not, there literally is a smartphone app that will alert you to a pipe leak or a drop in temperature that could cause frozen pipes. Who knew?
How do wi-fi leak and freeze detectors work?
These various smartphone detectors use different combinations of sensors and algorithms to detect potential leaks, automatically shut off the water supply in your home, and alert you via your downloaded app. In addition, many devices have built-in sensors that check the temperature level every hour and will notify you if the temperature reaches the threshold you’ve set to avoid frozen pipes.
In addition to temperature and water alerts, many devices give you the option of setting smartphone notifications for low battery levels and the device going offline.
What if I don’t have wi-fi access?
Good question! If you’re on vacation or in a remote area, you may not have wi-fi access. Many apps solve that problem by offering a ‘notify-a-friend’ option that can be set to let a neighbor, friend, or family member know if the system triggers an alert.
This depends on whether you choose a DIY detector or one that requires professional installation. DIY models are relatively easy to install. They use a motor to close the quarter-turn valve on your water line if they sense a leak. A professionally installed system will have a shut-off valve fitted directly into the water line.
These wi-fi ‘early warning systems’ cost anywhere from $350 to $750 or more. Take into account that the plumbing work involved in a professionally installed system can add substantially to the cost.
Are they worth it?
Water leaks and frozen pipes can cost thousands of dollars in damages as well as the loss of personal items that can’t be replaced. A major leak can send your water bill through the roof! Good insurance will cover a lot of water damage but can still leave you paying hundreds of dollars. Considering relative cost as well as your peace of mind, a wi-fi leak detector seems like a good investment!