Water damage can be extremely expensive. It can result from a variety of, let’s face it, simple causes; by the regular wear and tear of pipes, the failed couplings of washing machines or something as simple as a toilet bowl seal or a clogged utility sink. And it can cost thousands of dollars. You can be well into five figures after you’ve dried the flooded area, repaired the floors and walls, replaced furnishings…and, to make matters worse, not all water damage is covered by insurance.
The good news is that you can prevent or minimize all of this, at a fraction of the cost you would pay for the damage to your home and property; simply by getting a smart leak sensor and a hub to monitor your home for a water leak.
“Why should I spend a lot of money on smart home technology when I can buy a water alarm system at my local DIY store for somewhere around ten dollars? you ask.
The answer is three fold. One, a smart home solution does not cost “a lot of money.” In fact, the cost of an Atom hub and a Centralite water sensor or Fortrezz Flood Sensor, for instance, together, will set you back around 80 bucks. Second and third, and more importantly, there is simply no comparison between what a smart device setup will do for you versus the DIY water alarm. And here’s why.
We’re not talking about a Cat 7 storm here. We’re talking about a water leak. This is an important distinction because home plumbing issues, more often than not, begin with a slow leak. They start slowly, then quickly go from a drip, drip, drip to a full-blown deluge. By the time it reaches deluge proportions, and your ten dollar, DIY alarm decides it’s time to alert you, lots of damage has already been done. Here’s the third part of the three-fold benefit of a smart set up: You don’t have to be at home to hear the alarm.
This is because the chief benefit of a smart leak sensor is that it’s always connected to a cloud and subsequently, via a phone app, can send a notification to your phone as soon as a leak is detected… no matter where you are. If you aren’t at home, hopefully this “early warning” can give you time to take the required measures before that little leak becomes a big problem. Now, that “required measure” could mean running home as fast as you can from wherever you are to find your first floor flooded. OR, with a smart home sensor, which can connect with other smart devices like a water shut-off valve that automatically shuts off the water to the whole home, that “required measure” would mean nothing more than coming home to a dry home.
Sounds great. How do I start?
The easiest thing to do is start small and build on your smart home setup over time. A good example is to start with an affordable smart home hub like the Ezlo Atom ($29.95) and add one or more Z-Wave leak sensors, like the Centralite Water Sensor ($34.95) or the Fortrezz Flood Sensor ($49.99) for each room you want to monitor for leaks. You’ll have to turn off your water manually if you get an alert, but if you go big and set up the Fortrezz Automated Water Shut-off Valve, ($423.00), the water will shut off automatically. This device uses a motorized ball valve that turns off the main water supply when a leak or overflow is detected… without even being asked.
Just how easy is it?
It starts with our Vera app. The app gives you the ability to run all of your home automation devices from your phone. With it, creating a water leak notification or water valve “automation,” ie a command that directs the valve to turn off the water when a leak is detected, takes just a matter of seconds; as shown in the following two examples:
Scene 1- Water Leak Detected Notification
This is the fastest, easiest, and least expensive way to prevent potential water damage because if a water leak is detected, you will instantly receive a notification via your phone. For this automation, you will only need a connected smart home hub, ala the Atom and at least one flood sensor.
To make this automation work, you’ll create what’s called a “scene.” To do this, you’ll go to Scenes -> in the Vera app and tap the + symbol in the top right corner, which will take you to the Triggers screen. In the Triggers screen, tap the + symbol again, and select the Device to use as a trigger (our Flood Sensor) and choose the action “Whenever a leak is detected.” Then press Done.
Now that we’ve selected our trigger it’s time to tell our hub who should be notified. To do this, while in the scene editor tap on the Finish button and tap on Notify these people. You can then choose who should receive the Leak Detected Notification. Now press Done, then Save and Finish. Congratulations, now in case of a water leak, your smart sensor will notify you or your chosen family member.
Scene 2- Water Leak Detected Notification + Water Valve shut off.
This second automation adds more security to your existing water leak detection system by making use of the Fortrezz automated water shut-off valve. To create this scene you’ll go to Scenes -> Tap the + symbol in the top right corner, then in Triggers screen, tap the + symbol again, and select the Device to use as a trigger (our Flood Sensor) and choose the action “Whenever a leak is detected” then press on Done.
Now that we’ve selected your trigger, it’s time to choose the Action (the Shut-off Valve). To do this, while still in the scene editor tap on Actions, then tap the + symbol again, choose an immediate action, then select your water valve from the list and hit Next Press the slider for turning off the Valve then press Done then Save. Then, choose a name for your scene and pick who should be notified. Then press Finish.
Congratulations, now in case of a water leak, in addition to your smart sensor notifying you, it will also prevent the damage by shutting off the main water pipe. If you’re interested in protecting your home from water damage there’s no easier way to do this other than starting with any of our inexpensive but powerful bundles or build your own hub + sensor + valve setup by browsing our Vera Shop.