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Should I Install a Water Leak Detection System?

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Detect and stop leaks quickly with a leak detection system
Detect and stop leaks quickly with a leak detection system

Are you considering installing a water leak detection system in your home?

Here at Repipe Specialists, we repipe thousands of homes a year, and come across many situations where a water leak detection system would have helped reduce water damage caused by a leak or failure in a home's plumbing system.

In this article, we will cover the common types of water leak detection systems; discussing both their benefits and limitations. We'll also cover how a whole home repipe can help solve many water leak problems.

Should I Install A Water Leak Detection System?

The short answer is unequivocally yes.

We specialize in complete home repipes and do not install water leak detection systems ourselves: however we often advise our customers to consider installing a leak detection system to help catch leaks early.

If you've had problems with plumbing leaks from old pipes (e.g. old CPVC pipingold polybutylene pipesleaks under slabs, pinhole copper leaks, or failing galvanized plumbing) - a permanent solution is a complete home repipe (get a free quote on a repipe - it may cost less than you'd think).

A sudden catastrophic leak can cause major damage, very quickly. Shutting off your water supply in minutes vs hours, could potentially save you thousands in water damage.

Wood flooring damaged by water leak
Wood flooring damaged by water leak

Slow leaks can go undetected for long periods of time - causing significant damage like mold build up in your walls, or foundation damage in the case of slab leaks (also potentially running into the tens of thousands in damage).

Did you know that water damage from a slow ongoing leak may not be covered by homeowners insurance? Most policies exclude coverage for damage resulting from leaks they determine was due to poor maintenance (like not replacing old pipes) or care (not taking reasonable care to detect and stop leaks).

Key reasons to get a water leak detection system:

  • Detect fast leaks; shut off water automatically: some systems will detect a fast leak, and automatically shut off your water supply.
  • Detect slow leaks: some systems will detect slow leaks, and notify you, so that you can take action in locating, then stopping the source of the leak. Detecting a slow leak early, will also reduce likelihood of an insurance claim denial.
  • Insurance discounts: most insurance companies offer premium discounts for certain water leak detection systems.
  • Reduce water waste: undetected leaks, particularly in or under slabs, not only cause damage, but waste water and drive up your utility bills.

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Common Types of Leak Detection Systems and Devices

There are two categories of leak detection systems/devices:

1) Devices that detect free-standing water on horizontal surfaces

These are the most basic and least expensive types of leak detection devices. Think of them as like a smoke detector - except they instead detect puddles of water on your floor.

A leak detector can catch leaks before it is too late
A leak detector can catch leaks before it is too late

These battery driven detection devices are typically placed on the floor near common sources of leaks (that would result in free-standing water puddles): near a water heater tank, washing machines, refrigerators (with water dispensers) or dishwashers. When the device detects water on the floor - they'll set off an audible alarm (again - just like a smoke detector).

Here are two examples of this type of water leak detector:

  • Flood Buzz: basic devices with a 110 decibel alarm when water leaks are detected.
  • Kidde Smart Detection: A "smart" device that will send your phone water leak and freezing alarms.

Note that these types of devices will not shut off your water supply when leaks are detected. They also only detect free-standing water in their immediate vicinity (the device needs to be in a puddle to be activated). This means they won't detect common leaks like those occurring in or under slabs or in wall cavities.

2) Systems/devices that monitor water flow in your plumbing

This class of water leak detection device provides a higher degree of protection - but also costs more and usually requires installation by a plumber.

These devices are installed near your main home shut-off valve, and work by continually monitoring the water flow in your home. When the flow sensors detect a sudden high usage (like what would occur in a significant leak), it will automatically shut off all the water to your house. The sensors can also detect ongoing slow leaks by measuring any water flow when you aren't home or the fact that the water flow never stops.

Baseboard stains from a slow leak
Baseboard stains from a slow leak

Most of these water detection devices are also "smart" and make it easy to monitor your water usage, get alarm notifications, and program the device. Some of the more advanced devices come with a range of settings about home vs away, water flow trigger limits (so it doesn't shut off when the whole family decides to shower at once), etc.

The Flologic System is an example of a flow monitoring and automatic shut-off valve system that claims to detect leaks as small as 0.5 ounces per minute.

Flume is another smart flow monitoring device. This comes with the benefit of not requiring a plumber installation, as it is simply strapped to the outside of your water meter and "uses patented technology to read the magnetic field directly from your water meter and detect usage down to the one-hundredth of a gallon" (quoted from Flume's literature). The significant downside, is that it is not paired with an automatic shut-off valve.

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Insurance Discounts for Water Leak Detection Systems.

Most insurance companies offer homeowners insurance discounts if there are leak detection devices installed in the home. You'll need to check with your insurance provider to find out which specific types of leak detection systems qualify. Here are some examples:

  • Amica Insurance provides premium discounts on several brands of leak detection devices.
  • USAA's Connected Home Program offers discounts on both premiums, and the select devices included in the program.
  • Farmers Insurance offers premium discounts in some states, and discounts on the Flume system mentioned previously.
  • Security First Insurance in Florida may offer credits on insurance premiums if there is a water leak detection device is installed in the home.

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Get a Quote On A Complete Home Repipe

Here at Repipe Specialists, we've fully replaced the plumbing in over 75,000 homes since 1991. If you've been experiencing water leaks in your home, then you should consider a complete home repipe to new PEX tubing or copper pipe (we back our repipes with a lifetime warranty). We continually get positive customer feedback from customers about their overall home repipe experiences. We often exceed their expectations on:

  • Speed: Our repipe crews typically complete a repipe in a day, returning on another day for wall patching.
  • Convenience: Through our One-Stop Repipe™ Process, we handle everything from permits, to wall patching, to inspections.
  • Cleanliness: Our crews are trained to protect your home while working (we cover all surfaces with protective sheeting), and to clean up fully at the end of each day.
  • Peace of Mind: Repipe Specialists is a fully licensed plumber in every state we operate in, and we back all of our repipes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Financing programs: To help take the sting out of unplanned repipe expenses, we offer several financing programs.
  • Price: As a specialist that performs hundreds of repipes a week, we can deliver high quality repipes at a lower cost vs generalist plumbers. We have an article that covers repipe cost factors in detail. Our quotes typically range from $4,500 to $15,000 depending on the size and complexity of your project.

Schedule a free in-home consult, and one of our local repipe consultants will explain all your repipe options and provide you with a written, fixed-price quote.

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About Repipe Specialists

Expert Repiping at an Affordable Cost

Since our founding in 1991, we've been completing residential and multi-family building repipes to the highest standard.

With over 75,000 repipes completed, we've perfected our One Stop Repipe™ process: providing you with a high quality and convenient repipe experience while offering significant savings compared to traditional plumbers - plus, our work is guaranteed for life.

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