It’s never a good thing to arrive home to find water on your kitchen floor. Even worse to check the basement, turn on the lights, and hear sizzling (that would be water shorting out the water-filled ceiling light fixtures). In hindsight, it seemed a bad idea to have our photo and video studio setup right beneath our kitchen but alas it’s the only place it fits in the place we love to call home.
Flooding: a common Home Insurance Claim (29% of Home Insurance Claims!)
There’s a thousand ways water can insidiously find its way into places you don’t want it, so here’s just one cautionary tale on what happened to us.
Yes: we were away on vacation right before this happened.
No: we didn’t leave the water on (water main was turned off).
The day prior to our return home We had our cousin turn on the water main and hot water tanks. Unpreventably, our kitchen faucet started leaking slowly through a failed part in its extendable wand. Too slow and small to hear or see, but steady and nefarious enough to flood over and under counter, and into our basement studio below. Even when I entered the home a day later and walked into the kitchen, I didn’t see the water on the floor or counter. Only when Quin stepped on the wet floor did we realize there was a problem.
Oh … My …
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3 Tools to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home
Once bitten, twice shy. Don’t know what that means, but it almost makes sense. And as someone who’s had to deal with the flooding of their house, I’d love to help you prevent the flooding of yours.
Here are some tools and tech, from inexpensive to a couple hundred bucks, to help literally sound the alarm when water gets in places it shouldn’t.
Audible Water Alarm
Cheap and easy to place wherever you want them, these water sensors run on a 9V battery and will sound an alarm when their contacts are connected with water. I noticed the volume of the alarm is louder on some than others, but I won’t complain as it’s annoying enough (~100db) to get your attention. I’m so paranoid I purchased one for every sink & toilet in our house.
- easy to install
- inconsistent volume on the units I purchased
- 9V battery replacement
Needless to say you have to be home to hear the alarm and you have to do something about it when it does go off. But for people that work from home, this may be all the peace of mind you need. If not, carry on below to explore more automated options.
“Smart” Water Alarms and Water Monitors (wifi / z-wave etc)
Taking it to the next level are “Smart” water alarms and water monitors.
What’s the difference between a water alarm and water monitor? Alarms typically alert you via a smartphone app when water is detected by its probes in an area you don’t want it. Water monitors are installed on your water main pipe and lets you know when unusual water usage is detected.
Both can be of benefit, but you’ll still have to manually respond by confirm the issue and shutting off your water main to prevent water damage. So that leads to the next option …
Smart Water Monitor & Shut-Off Valve
The most expensive option, but an automated fix that doesn’t require you to drop everything, run home, and attend to what could be a false water alarm. This option detects unusual water flow and can automatically shut off your water main to prevent severe flooding.
I would strongly suggest getting the opinion and installation help of a trusted plumber on this one, as I’ve read reviews complaining the motor isn’t strong enough to shut off their water main, and they had to get new valves installed. In any case, this option is best for those who travel often or have rental properties, and need to deal with issues like this pronto and remotely.
But everything can fail and, as you’ll read below, nothing can truly prevent a flood …
Wrapping Up & Perspective
Of course there’s no way to completely prevent water leaks. They could happen within the walls or pipes in places you could never stick a water detector. Or your “trusted” water meter could fail or just be a bad apple1. But there’s a bit of peace of mind gained when you have some tools in place to help prevent an inconvenient and costly repair bill.
When all is said and done, I know this is only “stuff” and thankful it wasn’t something more tragic like a relationship disaster or health issue. We’re also thankful that TD Insurance (whom we’ve been loyal to for over 20 years without a claim) has been great to deal with so far. Not looking forward to how this affects my premiums, but glad to know insurance is there when stuff like this strikes.
Special “THANK YOU!” shout out to Jason at Mariner Mechanical for responding so quickly to my emergency call and helping us stop the flooding.
Sadly (and ironically) my plumber had a faulty wired water alarm which allowed the flooding of his entire basement! If it can happen to the pros, it can happen to anyone eh? ↩︎