Smart home water leak detector detecting washing machine leak.

How Do Water Leak Detectors Work?

Updated April 1, 2017 . AmFam Team

Technology is changing the way people interact with their homes. Learn how smart home water sensors can help you proactively protect your home.

Having a smart water leak sensor is worth every penny when it comes to having some peace of mind, knowing you’re proactively protecting your home. We’re here with tips on how smart water leak sensors can help if the unexpected happens.

How Does a Smart Home Water Sensor Work?

Water damage is a common cause of homeowner insurance claims. But most damage — and costs — can actually be prevented with early detection systems, which is exactly what these smart home water sensor systems do.

These devices sense water leaks before they get out of hand, giving you a heads-up if something’s amiss with your kitchen sink, washing machine, refrigerator, water heater, dishwasher, toilet or plumbing. The sensor is designed to connect with your smart smartphone, tablet or computer, where you’ll be able to track the device. You’ll get an alert if the device detects water so you can take action. It puts you in control of what’s going on in your home, so you can rest easy.

Automatic water shutoff sensors

Fortunately, smart home innovators are on top of their game. Inventions like smart water sensors that actually shut off the water main when a leak is detected have prevented small issues from escalating into big problems. The result? You can avoid stress, hassle and costly damage. Nice!

Flood detection

When a pipe bursts due to freezing, water damage to a home can result in thousands of dollars in damage. Smart home flood detection systems can help you to get early warning that something’s wrong. These small sensors can be placed a few inches above the waterline in a sump pump basin, which potentially offer up early warning that your sump pump has failed. It can help inform you of a problem before a flood even starts!

Fire sprinkler monitoring devices

Because these monitors attach directly to the fire sprinkler, they can be integrated into a broader smart home hub or alarm system. First responders can be contacted if waterflow in your home’s fire suppressing sprinkler system detected. Not only will you get help fighting a fire, but the fire department may be able to help to halt waterflow — and halt any further water damage to your home —once the fire’s extinguished.

Water usage and bill reconciliation

A key benefit of installing a smart home water monitoring system is that you’ll be able to drill into water usage across your home. You’ll be able to view usage stats on how much water’s been consumed. And you can use this data to help reconcile your water bill.

How to Shop for the Best Smart Water Leak Sensors and Detectors

With so many great products on the market that seem to do the same job, how do you know which water sensor is right for you? The answer to that — in part — depends on existing smart technology in your home. Take a look at these key tips to getting the right water detection system for your home:

Research compatibility with your current tech

If you like talking to your home’s appliances, you may want to pick up a sensor that connects into Alexa, Siri or Google. You’ll potentially get details and status updates on your water sensors from these smart home hubs.

Consider your budget

Costs can vary a lot between products and usually, the better ones are more expensive. Wi-fi connected sensors that perform multiple tasks are key things to think about. Some offer flood sensing and will also alert you when humidity levels rise beyond a given threshold.

Select sensors that win for ease-of-use

You may find some systems are more complex and difficult to set up than others. Be sure to read reviews and glance at online installation instructions to be sure you’re up to the task of installing.

Focus on water main shutoff systems

Insurance companies across the US will tell you that water damage is a big player when it comes to homeowners insurance claims. Imagine if you could shut your water down as soon as a pipe bursts. You’d potentially save thousands and prevent a big headache. Flow sensors and smart water leak detectors that automatically shut off your water main are key.

Alarm loudness can matter

If you’ve set your smartphone to silent and a pipe bursts in the basement overnight, you could miss the alert. By choosing water sensors for home use that have their own internal alarm, you can better react to issues as they’re detected without relying solely on smartphone alerts.

Learn How a Smart Water Sensor Can Save You Money

Certain smart water sensors may qualify you to receive a smart home discount on your American Family homeowners insurance policy, so be sure to check with your agent to find out how you can save.

Find out more about the benefits of smart home technology and gain peace of mind that you’re being proactive about your protection. Your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) is a great resource to help you discover more about how smart home water sensors and other smart home tech can provide a safer, happier home.


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