Smart Home

This tiny gadget could save you thousands in home repairs

A smart water leak detector is going to be your new best friend this winter.

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

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Water leaks can be problematic for homeowners—and in most circumstances, it’s a situation that requires immediate attention from a professional. But, a smart water leak detector can sometimes catch leaks before they become a giant headache, helping you avoid costly damage.

When pipes burst for a number of reasons. Too much water pressure or corrosion can cause pipes to explode, or pipes may crack and spurt out water due to cold weather. And when water seeps into your home, it can cause mold spores to grow and spread, and cause damage to drywall, flooring, and more.

As you prepare your home for winter, it’s important to take precautionary steps to safeguard your pipes from freezing and possibly bursting as the temperatures continue to drop. A smart water leak detector is a simple way to protect your pipes—and ultimately your home—from water damage. Here’s how.

What is a smart water leak detector?

Roost
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar

Smart water leak detectors will send notifications to your phone when a liquid is detected, and others, like the Roost (pictured) notify you when the temperatures drops.

A smart water leak detector is a small gadget with built-in sensors that can signal a leak as soon as it happens. The sensor works by sending a notification to your phone via the companion app when water is detected, as long as you’ve created an account and downloaded the app ahead of time.

For the most part, the leak-detecting sensors are located on the bottom of the gadget, which itself is small enough to hold in your hand. Some models, like our favorite smart leak detector, the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Water Leak and Freeze Detector, come with a cable sensor attached to a cord that helps extend the reach of the detector.

Other leak detectors, like the Zircon WiFi Leak Alert, do not run via an app installed on your phone. Instead, it sends alerts via email to the account of your choice when water comes into contact with the sensor and plays a very loud 105-decibel alarm tone (for up to 8 hours).

Where should I put a smart water leak detector?

Leak under the sink
Credit: Getty / AndreyPopov

It's best to place leak detectors around pipes, under sinks, behind toilets, and around appliances like dishwashers and washing machines.

Since the main purpose of a smart water leak detector is to find leaks before they turn into a major problem, you should place the sensors in and around the pipes in your home like behind toilets and underneath sinks, and by large appliances like water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines.

The Wasserstein’s WiFi Water Leak Sensor, comes with a probe that can be placed in hard-to-reach areas such as underneath or behind large appliances.

Placing leak sensors throughout areas of the home that are prone to leaks or have experienced water damage in the past is also a good idea. This might mean making a trip or two up into the attic, but luckily most smart water leak detectors are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and are very lightweight.

Can a smart water leak detector keep your pipes from freezing?

Frozen pipes
Credit: Getty / Dzurag

Cold weather can freeze water inside of pipes, however, a smart leak detector can help catch the problem before it's too late.

Detectors won’t keep pipes from freezing—blame the outside temperature and your home’s insulation for that—but they can help you catch it before it causes damage.

Residential plumbing, which is usually located in the attic or under the home, isn’t always visible to the naked eye. Whether the pipes burst above the ceiling or under your floors, it’s a less-than-ideal situation. However, adding a smart water leak detector to your home can help you keep tabs on your out-of-view pipes.

Pipes can freeze when the temperatures drop outside. This happens when water is left in the pipes of your home long enough for it to freeze. Because ice has more volume than water, the expansion can crack your pipes when it freezes over. So, while a smart water leak detector can’t keep your pipes from freezing, some sensors can alert you when the temperature drops below a certain number, like the Roost Smart Water and Freeze Detector.

In addition to Roost, other smart water leak detectors, like the Fibaro Flood Sensor, have built-in temperature sensors that send notifications to your phone when the temperature increases or decreases. So, if you have pipes in your attic and the temperature drops below freezing, you can check the app to see how cold it is.

We can’t promise that the water leak detectors will actually keep your pipes from freezing. However, a water leak sensor with temperature-sensing technology can help you keep a close eye on how cold it is wherever your pipes are located, and, hopefully, avoid any major damage to your home.

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