Which water leak sensor is best?
A silent water leak can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of destruction before you stumble upon it, making a water leak sensor one of the biggest cost-saving tools you can buy for your home. Whether it be cold temperatures putting pipes at risk of bursting or an aging water heater, water leaks can happen with virtually no warning. If you’re looking to protect your home with an all-purpose water leak sensor, the Flume 2 Smart-Home Water Monitor & Water Leak Detector is the top choice.
What to know before you buy a water leak sensor
Ease of setup
Out-of-the-box water leak sensors can be as simple to use as plugging them in and arranging the sensor wire around areas prone to leaks, such as a water heater or bathroom plumbing. More involved systems tap into your plumbing and can detect changes in pressure and temperatures that make a burst pipe more likely. The former can be set up by reading instructions, while the latter requires professional installation by a plumber.
There are two types of water leak sensors: those that make noise to alert you that a leak is in progress, and those that alert you wirelessly to your preferred device.
- Sound alarms tend to be more affordable, but only provide protection while you’re in hearing range. These are called passive alarms.
- Wi-Fi-enabled sensors can alert you even while you’re away from home. If you opt for a sensor with shut-off capabilities, it can cut the water supply to your home to stop the leak, too. A sensor with shut-off capabilities is considered an active alarm.
Length of battery life
If the sensor you choose is battery operated, be sure to note the expected life of the battery and to test it on the same rotation in which you test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The sensor won’t be of much use if its battery dies.
What to look for in a quality water leak sensor
Integration into your smart-home system
If you’ve integrated other components of your home’s security and maintenance system to a smart-home hub such as Alexa or Google Home, you’ll want a water leak sensor that integrates into it to keep down the number of apps you need to manage for home-related maintenance.
Many water leak sensors go in out-of-the-way places in the basement or behind bathroom vanities. Some, however, need to be placed in areas of the home where guests may regularly visit, such as a first-floor bathroom or kitchen. Find a sensor that will get the job done without being obtrusive.
If you spend considerable time away from home, you’ll want a leak sensor that sends real-time notifications.
How much you can expect to spend on a water leak sensor
Alarms that alert by sound and are battery operated can cost as little as $80 per sensor, while more complex systems that are Wi-Fi-enabled and include whole-house water shut-off cost around $900 plus professional installation.
Water leak sensor FAQ
Where should I put my water leak sensor?
A. It’s prudent to place a separate sensor near any appliance or major plumbing system that can leak. For the average home, this includes one sensor near the washing machine, dishwasher and water heater, as well as under each sink. If you have a refrigerator that is linked to your plumbing to dispense water or ice, it’s smart to place a sensor by it as well.
What are some pitfalls in using water leak sensors?
A. Placement is the most critical consideration when employing water leak sensors since they need to be near where the leak is happening. Failing to enable notifications will make sensors only effective when you’re in hearing range of the alarm.
What’s the best water leak sensor to buy?
Top water leak sensor
What you need to know: This system installs easily and doesn’t require professional installation or cutting into pipes.
What you’ll love: In addition to monitoring leaks, it helps you track your water usage, helping to reduce waste and expense.
What you should consider: Some of the more sophisticated analysis and data is hidden behind a paywall, as a subscription is needed for full water-usage tracking functionality.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: These sensors are compact and can be placed anywhere.
What you’ll love: The alarm is adjustable and can be set as loud as 100 decibels, great for out-of-the-way corners of basements or pipes far from living areas.
What you should consider: This sensor doesn’t have Wi-Fi capabilities, so it will only serve to alert you when you are within hearing range.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These sensors sound an alarm and also send real-time notifications any time they come in contact with water.
What you’ll love: The 6-foot leak sensing cable extends the range of the sensor to let you cover a bigger area and not miss any leak. It’s compatible with Moen’s Smart Water Monitor and Shut-off, which lets you cut the water to your entire house if a leak is detected while you’re away, thus preventing extensive water damage.
What you should consider: Integration with the Water Monitor and Shut-off requires a plumber’s installation, which can make this expensive.
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Maria E. Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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