House water detection and alert system?

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fittan
Posts: 90
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:58 pm

House water detection and alert system?

Post by fittan » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:50 pm

Hi, I live in the northeast where the risk of pipe burst is a real concern. I have seen and heard others who has their whole house flooded.

Are there technologies/products out there that will alert me whenever water is detected? I know there are $10 water sensor I can get from HomeDepot, but that doesn't help if I am not at home. Ideally, I am looking for wifi enabled sensors that I can strategically placed around the house. And when water is detected will send me an email or alert etc. Thanks.


TravelGeek
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by TravelGeek » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:54 pm

Search on Amazon for "z wave water sensor" - that's what I am planning to use one of these days.

ResearchMed
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:56 pm

fittan wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:50 pm
Hi, I live in the northeast where the risk of pipe burst is a real concern. I have seen and heard others who has their whole house flooded.

Are there technologies/products out there that will alert me whenever water is detected? I know there are $10 water sensor I can get from HomeDepot, but that doesn't help if I am not at home. Ideally, I am looking for wifi enabled sensors that I can strategically placed around the house. And when water is detected will send me an email or alert etc. Thanks.
This isn't a self-monitored WiFi solution, but we have water sensors that are connected to our alarm system.
They are very small (approx 1.5 inch sq) square, flat devices, with what is like a screw-head facing down on each corner (think very stubby "legs").
If any two of them come in contact with the same water, a circuit is completed. Then an alarm goes off at home *and* a signal is sent to the monitoring company.

They work. (Don't ask :shock: )

I assume there are similar to connect on one's own.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

fittan
Posts: 90
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by fittan » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:17 pm

Good video thanks. I am interested with the automatic shutoff valve (4:15 into the video). Simple device that seems to work. However I couldn't find it on amazon or homedepot. Any idea where I can find this valve?

fittan
Posts: 90
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by fittan » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:34 pm

hmmm this looks interesting...no need for hub. $40 each. Sends email alerts. Has anyone tried this product before?

https://smile.amazon.com/Zircon-Leak-Al ... ctor+alarm

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queso
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by queso » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:57 pm

I have a combination of Zircon audible alarms (not the newer Zircon posted above) and a Wally system (now owned by Sears). With Wally you set preconfigured alerts for temperature and humidity and it will alert you (SMS, phone app notifications, email, etc.) when it detects a condition that exceeds your preset alerts OR the presence of water. It has worked really well for me so far with both water detection and low temp near water pipes. That being said, I bought it before it was acquired by Sears and dumped about $500 into the system and extra sensors and now Sears has released the v 2.0 edition and, surprise surprise, it isn't backwards compatible. That means when my sensors die or my hub stops working I am out of luck and have to either find another product or rebuy the entire Wally system (probably another $500). Is it worth it? Depends. I came back from LAX one winter to a cacophony of beeping from my audible Zircons, dropped my luggage at the door and ran downstairs to a small stream running through my finished basement. One experience like that will make you a believer that something like this is necessary. Before that I was fine with just a couple of audibles near my water heater and washer. Now I have a sensor near my water heater, condensate pumps, main water lines, washer and behind every toilet and under every sink. I should do the refrigerator too (ice maker line) and dishwasher, but I can't buy V1 sensors anymore. :happy

inbox788
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by inbox788 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:16 pm

I use Ooma (VOIP) for home telephone. They've been pushing home security products lately, but I have been ignoring them. Doesn't quite fit my needs yet or they haven't made products I'd like to install now (I have been looking at camera monitoring systems and hope they'll be coming out with a good solution).

Anyway, they have a water sensor device that might be interesting in your application:

https://www.amazon.com/Ooma-Water-Senso ... 071WMHWTH/
https://www.ooma.com/home-security/

Ideally, you'd have both some sort of remote notification system as well as an automatic shut-off. And if you had a pump, say a basement that detected flooding, it could automatically turn on as well as tell you what happened. A camera monitoring system that's remotely accessible would be great to see what is going on or what happened.

Big Snack
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by Big Snack » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:43 pm

www.sentinelhydrosolutions.com This system is recommended by some insurance companies. If you install one, check with your homeowners insurance company, since a lot of them give a discount on your policy since it actually shuts off the main plumbing valve.


Admiral
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by Admiral » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:10 pm

fittan wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:50 pm
Hi, I live in the northeast where the risk of pipe burst is a real concern. I have seen and heard others who has their whole house flooded.

Are there technologies/products out there that will alert me whenever water is detected? I know there are $10 water sensor I can get from HomeDepot, but that doesn't help if I am not at home. Ideally, I am looking for wifi enabled sensors that I can strategically placed around the house. And when water is detected will send me an email or alert etc. Thanks.
Not perhaps the answer you're looking for but leaving the water on a trickle during very cold weather will prevent your pipes from freezing if the heating goes out...assuming that's what you're worried about. Very cheap insurance. Water lines catastrophically bursting for no reason (i.e. not freeze related) is likely to be very rare. Copper pipes have been around for a long time.

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Sandtrap
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Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳

Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:31 pm

I have moisture sensors and alarms under every water source, also on the floors next to things like, pressure tanks, water heaters, etc. In the basement is a moisture alarm that also calls an assigned phone number and gives an alert.
I hope this is helpful.
j :D

IMO
Posts: 267
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by IMO » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:39 pm

I've been using the following device for remote monitoring of a home:

http://www.waterheroinc.com/home/

It allows you to monitor water flow from your main line into the home remotely. One can manually remotely shut off the water supply, and it has email/phone alerts and ability for the main valve to close itself off depending on what specific parameters you set (including shutting off the valve when a certain temperature is reached at your choosing).

It's a significant system and while it can be DIY for some who are good at plumbing, you may want to consider hiring a qualified plumber to install the device.

The limitation that I can see with the device after using it for about 6 months, is that it isn't sensitive to pick up a drip leak or a very low flow valve operating. Best way around this for an unoccupied house is to just remotely turn off the main valve. If you had an irrigation system that was going to come on, you could set your timers to coincide with one periodically remotely opening the main valve.

If you were using it in an unoccupied home where there are freezing temperatures that could freeze pipes in various areas of the house, a way one could use this device:
Use the remote to keep the main valve closed in the winter. However, leave some faucets always open to a slow drip level that one would typically do to help prevent pipes from freezing in various areas. These won't be "flowing" because you have the main valve closed normally. However, if temperatures drop to concerning levels, you could actually OPEN up the main remotely allowing some water to flow through the lines to help prevent freezing in vulnerable pipes.

Anyhow, was best device I had found and so far, asides from the limitation above, I'd recommend it. Definitely peace of mind.

I wasn't a fan of the "alarm" type devices because I thought if an alarm goes off in a remote home, if I can't turn off the water remotely, lots of damage could occur by the time the water company could get someone out emergently to shut off the water.

ResearchMed
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:49 pm

Admiral wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:10 pm
fittan wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:50 pm
Hi, I live in the northeast where the risk of pipe burst is a real concern. I have seen and heard others who has their whole house flooded.

Are there technologies/products out there that will alert me whenever water is detected? I know there are $10 water sensor I can get from HomeDepot, but that doesn't help if I am not at home. Ideally, I am looking for wifi enabled sensors that I can strategically placed around the house. And when water is detected will send me an email or alert etc. Thanks.
Not perhaps the answer you're looking for but leaving the water on a trickle during very cold weather will prevent your pipes from freezing if the heating goes out...assuming that's what you're worried about. Very cheap insurance. Water lines catastrophically bursting for no reason (i.e. not freeze related) is likely to be very rare. Copper pipes have been around for a long time.
There can be other problems.

Some people have sump pumps that could fail.
For those, doing anything at all about the main water lines would be useless.

And as for catastrophic failure of "lines", take a look at that little cold water line into your toilet tanks.
Apparently those used to have nice metal connectors... until some bright light realized that plastic would be cheaper.
Well, plastic *can* "spontaneously" fail... like in the middle of the night in a bathroom that hasn't been used (except to be cleaned) for weeks.
Our plumber replaced it with a metal connector, and checked all of the other toilets and replace another that was plastic.

"Who knew?"

At least, a water cut-off would help in the latter case.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

ccieemeritus
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by ccieemeritus » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:54 pm

I just had an empty house damaged by the water supply line to the refrigerator's ice maker. I turned off the water to the washer but didn't think about the ice maker. It's a stupid plastic tube which probably hasn't been replaced in a decade. Ugh.

Note to self: Never buy a refrigerator with an ice maker. Simpler things break less often.

Fortunately I had someone check on the house. If the water was left unchecked for 2 weeks, the home insurance would have refused to cover the damage.

So thanks for this thread.

myleaf
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by myleaf » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:06 pm

I have an Insteon system. One of add on modules is a water sensor. System sends emails if water is detected. Amazon carries the system and components
"Never met an electron I did not like"

ccf
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by ccf » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:54 pm

I like these - you can monitor moisture, temperature, even motion. It's not fancy but it is easy to set up and not a complex smart home system.

http://wirelesstag.net

The base is $40 and the tiny tags, which run forever on button batteries, are about $20 each.

The range is good. I have the base in the basement and tags all the way up to the 2nd floor.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by jabberwockOG » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:54 pm

Simplisafe alarm systems can easily be configured with water/flood sensors in multiple areas. Notifications on tripped sensors sent via email,text, phone or all three.

Hockey10
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Location: Philadelphia suburbs

Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by Hockey10 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:46 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:49 pm
Admiral wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:10 pm
fittan wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:50 pm
Hi, I live in the northeast where the risk of pipe burst is a real concern. I have seen and heard others who has their whole house flooded.

Are there technologies/products out there that will alert me whenever water is detected? I know there are $10 water sensor I can get from HomeDepot, but that doesn't help if I am not at home. Ideally, I am looking for wifi enabled sensors that I can strategically placed around the house. And when water is detected will send me an email or alert etc. Thanks.
Not perhaps the answer you're looking for but leaving the water on a trickle during very cold weather will prevent your pipes from freezing if the heating goes out...assuming that's what you're worried about. Very cheap insurance. Water lines catastrophically bursting for no reason (i.e. not freeze related) is likely to be very rare. Copper pipes have been around for a long time.
There can be other problems.

Some people have sump pumps that could fail.
For those, doing anything at all about the main water lines would be useless.

And as for catastrophic failure of "lines", take a look at that little cold water line into your toilet tanks.
Apparently those used to have nice metal connectors... until some bright light realized that plastic would be cheaper.
Well, plastic *can* "spontaneously" fail... like in the middle of the night in a bathroom that hasn't been used (except to be cleaned) for weeks.
Our plumber replaced it with a metal connector, and checked all of the other toilets and replace another that was plastic.

"Who knew?"

At least, a water cut-off would help in the latter case.

RM

We had a failure of the water supply line to our toilet. The plastic nut that connects the line to the toilet broke. Our plumber thinks that someone tightened it with a wrench or pliers, when it should only be tightened by hand. Fortunately, we were home at the time and the flood only lasted about 5 minutes. But, that still ended up causing $14,000 in damage. :x

Like Sandtrap, we now have a leak detectors under every water source in the house. These are battery powered, but I am thinking about upgrading to something more advanced.

michaeljc70
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:08 pm

People have mentioned the major things including the powered shut-off valve. However, assuming you don't have a tiny house, it occurs to me that unless you are putting sensors all over the place there could be significant damage before a sensor picks up the water. Practically, I think those are more meant for in your basement near your sump pump or something like that.

These sensors seem aimed at more of localized situation. Maybe near a pipe(s) that have been prone to freezing in the past.

Dudley
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by Dudley » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:38 pm

I use a "Dome Home Automation Shutoff Valve" together with a SmartThings system that automatically closes it (based on a couple of water sensors : one in basement and one in utility room)

IMO
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by IMO » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:52 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:08 pm
People have mentioned the major things including the powered shut-off valve. However, assuming you don't have a tiny house, it occurs to me that unless you are putting sensors all over the place there could be significant damage before a sensor picks up the water. Practically, I think those are more meant for in your basement near your sump pump or something like that.

These sensors seem aimed at more of localized situation. Maybe near a pipe(s) that have been prone to freezing in the past.
With the powered shut-off valves (at least the one I mentioned) you aren't using sensors to determine if you have a water leak, but instead you are having "continuous flow" monitored. So in an "away" type setting, you can set the automatic valve to close based on the length of continuous flow you personally set.

So if one was very thorough, they could also utilize localized "wet" sensors to send you an alarm via your phone. These could pick up the small drip leak that continuous flow monitors would likely NOT pick up. You could then remotely tell your power valve to shut off the main valve completely. Not sure if the automated main valves have integrated any localized sensors. I know the one I'm using doesn't.

The area that I suspect continuous flow will fail is for something like a drip type of leak that does not create enough flow to trigger the continuous flow sensor. One could also just remotely turn off your water via your phone app/internet app when you leave your home.

michaeljc70
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:49 pm

IMO wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:52 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:08 pm
People have mentioned the major things including the powered shut-off valve. However, assuming you don't have a tiny house, it occurs to me that unless you are putting sensors all over the place there could be significant damage before a sensor picks up the water. Practically, I think those are more meant for in your basement near your sump pump or something like that.

These sensors seem aimed at more of localized situation. Maybe near a pipe(s) that have been prone to freezing in the past.
With the powered shut-off valves (at least the one I mentioned) you aren't using sensors to determine if you have a water leak, but instead you are having "continuous flow" monitored. So in an "away" type setting, you can set the automatic valve to close based on the length of continuous flow you personally set.

So if one was very thorough, they could also utilize localized "wet" sensors to send you an alarm via your phone. These could pick up the small drip leak that continuous flow monitors would likely NOT pick up. You could then remotely tell your power valve to shut off the main valve completely. Not sure if the automated main valves have integrated any localized sensors. I know the one I'm using doesn't.

The area that I suspect continuous flow will fail is for something like a drip type of leak that does not create enough flow to trigger the continuous flow sensor. One could also just remotely turn off your water via your phone app/internet app when you leave your home.
I think we need to differentiate from situations where you are away from home for an extended period of time and not. The continuous flow monitor seems more like for an extended period away from home. I mean, if you are home and do a load of laundry, run the dishwasher and take a shower you don't want the water shutting down.

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Will do good
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by Will do good » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:53 pm

We use this, very simple and useful.

https://www.amazon.com/Glentronics-Inc- ... 3TVP1F43H8

IMO
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by IMO » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:14 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:49 pm
IMO wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:52 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:08 pm
People have mentioned the major things including the powered shut-off valve. However, assuming you don't have a tiny house, it occurs to me that unless you are putting sensors all over the place there could be significant damage before a sensor picks up the water. Practically, I think those are more meant for in your basement near your sump pump or something like that.

These sensors seem aimed at more of localized situation. Maybe near a pipe(s) that have been prone to freezing in the past.
With the powered shut-off valves (at least the one I mentioned) you aren't using sensors to determine if you have a water leak, but instead you are having "continuous flow" monitored. So in an "away" type setting, you can set the automatic valve to close based on the length of continuous flow you personally set.

So if one was very thorough, they could also utilize localized "wet" sensors to send you an alarm via your phone. These could pick up the small drip leak that continuous flow monitors would likely NOT pick up. You could then remotely tell your power valve to shut off the main valve completely. Not sure if the automated main valves have integrated any localized sensors. I know the one I'm using doesn't.

The area that I suspect continuous flow will fail is for something like a drip type of leak that does not create enough flow to trigger the continuous flow sensor. One could also just remotely turn off your water via your phone app/internet app when you leave your home.
I think we need to differentiate from situations where you are away from home for an extended period of time and not. The continuous flow monitor seems more like for an extended period away from home. I mean, if you are home and do a load of laundry, run the dishwasher and take a shower you don't want the water shutting down.
Absolutely, that's why the continuous flow monitoring system has a "home" and an "away" mode. You can switch to the away mode via an app in 5-10 seconds.

You could set your away mode to shut off after 1 minute of flow. You could also be extra safe and just push a button and your entire main water valve is turned off.

The problem I see with just an alarm system, is what do you do if an alarm sounds and your not home? I'm worried if I'm not home for the vast majority of water leaks. A lot of damage could occur from the time you leave for work and by the time you get home. It doesn't have to be a situation where you leave for vacation.

Diogenes
Posts: 554
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:58 pm

Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by Diogenes » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:51 am

IMO wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:39 pm
I've been using the following device for remote monitoring of a home:

http://www.waterheroinc.com/home/

It allows you to monitor water flow from your main line into the home remotely. One can manually remotely shut off the water supply, and it has email/phone alerts and ability for the main valve to close itself off depending on what specific parameters you set (including shutting off the valve when a certain temperature is reached at your choosing).

It's a significant system and while it can be DIY for some who are good at plumbing, you may want to consider hiring a qualified plumber to install the device.

The limitation that I can see with the device after using it for about 6 months, is that it isn't sensitive to pick up a drip leak or a very low flow valve operating. Best way around this for an unoccupied house is to just remotely turn off the main valve. If you had an irrigation system that was going to come on, you could set your timers to coincide with one periodically remotely opening the main valve.

If you were using it in an unoccupied home where there are freezing temperatures that could freeze pipes in various areas of the house, a way one could use this device:
Use the remote to keep the main valve closed in the winter. However, leave some faucets always open to a slow drip level that one would typically do to help prevent pipes from freezing in various areas. These won't be "flowing" because you have the main valve closed normally. However, if temperatures drop to concerning levels, you could actually OPEN up the main remotely allowing some water to flow through the lines to help prevent freezing in vulnerable pipes.

Anyhow, was best device I had found and so far, asides from the limitation above, I'd recommend it. Definitely peace of mind.

I wasn't a fan of the "alarm" type devices because I thought if an alarm goes off in a remote home, if I can't turn off the water remotely, lots of damage could occur by the time the water company could get someone out emergently to shut off the water.
What’s the advantage to an automated valve instead of just shutting off the water if you will be away for an extended time? I have a house that is closed up for 8 months a year. Shut off the water at the main where it enters the house before I leave. Not sure I would trust an automated valve to do that, or why I would need to do so. Especially since when we came back last summer and turned the water on, the kitchen faucet sprung a leak. Could have been bad if we weren’t around. Thought about having the water department shut it off at street level this time, which I could do also, but seemed like overkill.
It would be nice though to have a simple WiFi water detector for the garage near the water heater, and maybe possible water entry spots. With an email alert, I could check surveillance cameras, or send the neighbor over to check the place.

IMO
Posts: 267
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by IMO » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:38 am

Diogenes wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:51 am
What’s the advantage to an automated valve instead of just shutting off the water if you will be away for an extended time? I have a house that is closed up for 8 months a year. Shut off the water at the main where it enters the house before I leave. Not sure I would trust an automated valve to do that, or why I would need to do so. Especially since when we came back last summer and turned the water on, the kitchen faucet sprung a leak. Could have been bad if we weren’t around. Thought about having the water department shut it off at street level this time, which I could do also, but seemed like overkill.
It would be nice though to have a simple WiFi water detector for the garage near the water heater, and maybe possible water entry spots. With an email alert, I could check surveillance cameras, or send the neighbor over to check the place.
As I post this, I'm thinking, if someone doesn't think water damage can occur very quickly and doesn't think there are any advantages to having a remote and automated system that's fine, YMMV. I was providing real life experience with a good system that 99.99% of people probably don't care about.

As others have noted, definitions of "extended time" are relative. There was a post reporting $14,000 damage in a very short time period (I think it was not even an hour). Perhaps it's 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, or as you noted 8 months that qualifies as an extended time. As you noted, turning off the main water for 8 months straight makes simple and logical sense. I personally have irrigation needs when away, and it's nice to see on my phone/computer when the irrigation comes on and when it goes off.

I doubt that most people take the time to turn off their water main for the vast majority of "extended" periods, be it a weekend trip, a one week vacation (or longer). For example, once we left for 2 days and accidentally left a hose bib on with an attached spray head. Spray head was off so no water was running when we left, but it got hot, the spray head opened up and did major structural damage to a property wall. More recently, spouse was doing a deep tree watering with a hose in the summer in the backyard, forgot that the water was left on and next thing you know, 20,000 gallons go by until we noticed water running down the street.

Indoors, there are a number of places where water leaks could occur, where I'm at now, I can count about 20 locations that could feasibly have some type of significant leak develop. Does one put a wifi water detector at each location? I don't even think I have power available at many of the locations.

The OP reported concerns about freezing/bursting pipes. I will presume person is unwilling to manually turn off the water main every time he/she walks out the door. Wifi water detectors/alarms would likely be ineffective unless OP happened to put a detector in the right spot where a frozen pipe actually broke. Odds of that occurring could be poor.

I know I was looking for something 8 months ago that was better than haphazard wifi water alarms. I would have appreciated this post and information during my search. But again, YMMV. :?

michaeljc70
Posts: 2108
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:54 am

Diogenes wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:51 am
IMO wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:39 pm
I've been using the following device for remote monitoring of a home:

http://www.waterheroinc.com/home/

It allows you to monitor water flow from your main line into the home remotely. One can manually remotely shut off the water supply, and it has email/phone alerts and ability for the main valve to close itself off depending on what specific parameters you set (including shutting off the valve when a certain temperature is reached at your choosing).

It's a significant system and while it can be DIY for some who are good at plumbing, you may want to consider hiring a qualified plumber to install the device.

The limitation that I can see with the device after using it for about 6 months, is that it isn't sensitive to pick up a drip leak or a very low flow valve operating. Best way around this for an unoccupied house is to just remotely turn off the main valve. If you had an irrigation system that was going to come on, you could set your timers to coincide with one periodically remotely opening the main valve.

If you were using it in an unoccupied home where there are freezing temperatures that could freeze pipes in various areas of the house, a way one could use this device:
Use the remote to keep the main valve closed in the winter. However, leave some faucets always open to a slow drip level that one would typically do to help prevent pipes from freezing in various areas. These won't be "flowing" because you have the main valve closed normally. However, if temperatures drop to concerning levels, you could actually OPEN up the main remotely allowing some water to flow through the lines to help prevent freezing in vulnerable pipes.

Anyhow, was best device I had found and so far, asides from the limitation above, I'd recommend it. Definitely peace of mind.

I wasn't a fan of the "alarm" type devices because I thought if an alarm goes off in a remote home, if I can't turn off the water remotely, lots of damage could occur by the time the water company could get someone out emergently to shut off the water.
What’s the advantage to an automated valve instead of just shutting off the water if you will be away for an extended time? I have a house that is closed up for 8 months a year. Shut off the water at the main where it enters the house before I leave. Not sure I would trust an automated valve to do that, or why I would need to do so. Especially since when we came back last summer and turned the water on, the kitchen faucet sprung a leak. Could have been bad if we weren’t around. Thought about having the water department shut it off at street level this time, which I could do also, but seemed like overkill.
It would be nice though to have a simple WiFi water detector for the garage near the water heater, and maybe possible water entry spots. With an email alert, I could check surveillance cameras, or send the neighbor over to check the place.
This. No chance of damage (assuming you drain the pipes). You can turn the heat lower too since you don't need to worry about frozen pipes. Save money by shutting down hot water heater too. In my house I can shut off the main water valve, open all the faucets in 10 minutes or less. You can also pour in anti-freeze, but I don't think that is necessary especially if you have some heat.

3feetpete
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by 3feetpete » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:17 am

My house has a product called Water Cop. It features a main shutoff valve that is controlled by remote sensors that send a signal if they sense any water on the floor. The remotes are located at every possible water source. Bathrooms, sinks, ice maker, washer dishwasher. It wouldn't protect against a frozen pipe in a wall unless I put a sensor somewhere near the wall. It has worked flawlessly. If I so much as splash some water on one of the sensors the whole house is shut off instantly(except for the fire sprinkler). I have to go to the main shutoff to reset it. The remotes are an easy install. They just plug into any wall outlet and then there is a small cable and a sensor that you put on the floor. I believe the remotes send a radio or microwave signal to the main shutoff.

My house came with it. I was told that a previous owner was required by his insurance company to install it after they had to pay twice for new flooring in the kitchen due to ice maker leaks.

fittan
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by fittan » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:25 am

3feetpete wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:17 am
My house has a product called Water Cop. It features a main shutoff valve that is controlled by remote sensors that send a signal if they sense any water on the floor. The remotes are located at every possible water source. Bathrooms, sinks, ice maker, washer dishwasher. It wouldn't protect against a frozen pipe in a wall unless I put a sensor somewhere near the wall. It has worked flawlessly. If I so much as splash some water on one of the sensors the whole house is shut off instantly(except for the fire sprinkler). I have to go to the main shutoff to reset it. The remotes are an easy install. They just plug into any wall outlet and then there is a small cable and a sensor that you put on the floor. I believe the remotes send a radio or microwave signal to the main shutoff.

My house came with it. I was told that a previous owner was required by his insurance company to install it after they had to pay twice for new flooring in the kitchen due to ice maker leaks.
This is an interesting product. Not cheap though....cost about $550 (with 3 sensors) on Amazon. Will do more research about long term reliability. Thanks.

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queso
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by queso » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:32 am

fittan wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:25 am
3feetpete wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:17 am
My house has a product called Water Cop. It features a main shutoff valve that is controlled by remote sensors that send a signal if they sense any water on the floor. The remotes are located at every possible water source. Bathrooms, sinks, ice maker, washer dishwasher. It wouldn't protect against a frozen pipe in a wall unless I put a sensor somewhere near the wall. It has worked flawlessly. If I so much as splash some water on one of the sensors the whole house is shut off instantly(except for the fire sprinkler). I have to go to the main shutoff to reset it. The remotes are an easy install. They just plug into any wall outlet and then there is a small cable and a sensor that you put on the floor. I believe the remotes send a radio or microwave signal to the main shutoff.

My house came with it. I was told that a previous owner was required by his insurance company to install it after they had to pay twice for new flooring in the kitchen due to ice maker leaks.
This is an interesting product. Not cheap though....cost about $550 (with 3 sensors) on Amazon. Will do more research about long term reliability. Thanks.
I looked at Water Cop when I bought Wally and that was one major advantage of Water Cop over most other systems at the time. However, I ended up going with Wally because I needed the sensors to be wireless since I had to place them in areas with no electrical outlets for total coverage (under sinks, behind toilets, in a crawl space near pipes, under my water heater, etc.). Wally recently added an automatic shutoff valve like Water Cop, but I have not purchased it since, as I mentioned before, I will need to upgrade my entire Wally system to V2 before I can add anything. Once my V1 system dies or reaches end of life/support I will look at the marketplace again and see what makes the most sense from a cost/capabilities standpoint.

https://www.wallyhome.com/products/shutoff-valve/

ThisTimeItsDifferent
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by ThisTimeItsDifferent » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:38 pm

Would one want a shutoff valve both on the incoming house supply and on the output of the hot water tank?

If the shutoff valve is only on the incoming supply, then a leak in a hot water line could still result in the 50+ gallons of the water from the hot water tank leaking and the water heater burning out if on while empty.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:20 pm

ThisTimeItsDifferent wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:38 pm
Would one want a shutoff valve both on the incoming house supply and on the output of the hot water tank?

If the shutoff valve is only on the incoming supply, then a leak in a hot water line could still result in the 50+ gallons of the water from the hot water tank leaking and the water heater burning out if on while empty.
Probably not.

First it depends on the location of the hot water tank. You can only leak 50 gallons to some point below the water heater. So if the water heater is in the basement you're good. Avoid houses with design flaws like water heaters in the attic or finished basements.

Second even if your house has a design flaw the hot water system is pressurized by the cold water supply. A small leak will quickly depressurize the system and stop leaking. Even a large leak (which can be simulated by opening a hot water tap while the supply is turned off) would require someway for air to enter, and probably some sort of siphon effect to leak a substantial amount of water. This means two leaks (one for air and one for water).

The only realistic way to leak all 50 gallons of water is a catastrophic failure of the hot water tank itself. This is always possible, but should be mitigated by putting the tank somewhere sane.

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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by 3feetpete » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:30 pm

Hot water tank leaks are usually due to tank failure and Water Cop will only limit the damage to the tanks capacity.Replace hot water tanks every 10 years to minimize that risk.

If you are really concerned about the 40 or 50 gallons that the tank holds then place the tank in a tub that will hold that much or a pan that could be either gravity drained or sump pumped.

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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by BIGal » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:49 pm

We live in the Midwest where they are experiencing below zero weather right now. I ALWAYS turn off the water to our house. That said, I do have a Freeze Alarm set at 40 that will call two designated numbers should the home temperature fall below that setting. I also installed a WiFi thermostat so I can check and/or adjust the house temperature anytime. We have an 80 gallon water heater that I am not worried about leaking as long as the water pressure is off because there is a floor drain close by. In my opinion, water detection and auto turn off valves are fine if you feel that you must leave the water turned on. And yes, water leaks are devastating but not something I worry about.

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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by fittan » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:49 pm

Admiral wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:10 pm
fittan wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:50 pm
Hi, I live in the northeast where the risk of pipe burst is a real concern. I have seen and heard others who has their whole house flooded.

Are there technologies/products out there that will alert me whenever water is detected? I know there are $10 water sensor I can get from HomeDepot, but that doesn't help if I am not at home. Ideally, I am looking for wifi enabled sensors that I can strategically placed around the house. And when water is detected will send me an email or alert etc. Thanks.
Not perhaps the answer you're looking for but leaving the water on a trickle during very cold weather will prevent your pipes from freezing if the heating goes out...assuming that's what you're worried about. Very cheap insurance. Water lines catastrophically bursting for no reason (i.e. not freeze related) is likely to be very rare. Copper pipes have been around for a long time.
Good suggestion....that's what the heater manufacturer suggest too. For extreme cold nights and if at home, leave hot water faucet running. Just a trickle so that it doesn't fire up the heater.

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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by gd » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:45 am

I put these things all over my house and yard to investigate everything from crawlspace humidity to beehive temperatures. You'll need the base station set and the additional water monitor. email alerts are subscription. Their web-based long term graphical displays are weak, they have rebuilt the system recently for smartphones and never bothered doing much for browser users.

https://www.lacrossetechnology.com/temp ... ert-system
https://www.lacrossetechnology.com/add- ... k-detector

fittan
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by fittan » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:53 am

Thanks to all your replies....great info as always. There are so many solutions and everyone's need/risk is different. I would like to say that this is like buying insurance....you will never get 100% coverage. It is all about acceptable risk. Following is what I've summarized for myself thus far.

Good
- Audible standalone water alarm. These are about $10 each. However, they won't do good if 1) you're not at home, 2) you're at home and can't hear it (e.g. if you have 2 story house and alarm goes off in basement). So verdict is that it is good to have but very limited.

Better
- Water alarm with WIFI and alerts. These sensor will send you email, text or iphone notifications. They run from about $40 to $100. Some of you have suggested Zircon leak alert, D-link DCH-S160 or wirelesstag.net. Compare to standalone above, it offers some "peace of mind". If something catastrophic happens while you're at work or doing groceries, the damage is "limited".

Best
- Automatic valve shutoff WIFI, sensor and alerts. These system will have sensors that will automatically shutoff the water main valve when a leak is detected. However they are expensive and require a plumber to install. They run from $400 to $650. Some of you have suggested Waterhero, Wally and Watercop. These offer the most "peace of mind". If a leak is detected, water main is shutoff automatically. You can also manually shutoff valve remotely.

After much consideration I am leaning towards Wally. They sell a detection bundle (1 hub and 5 sensors) for $199 or the prevention bundle (1 hub, 1 water main shutoff and 2 sensors) for $325. I think their price is more acceptable. Another reason is that I like their sensors. They are battery operated (last up to 4 years) and can sense temperature, water leak, humidity and motion (open/close) all in one. Besides I can view historical data, here's a demo https://www.wallyhome.com/demo/dashboard

My primary concern is my tankless water heater. With Wally I am place 1 sensor inside the tankless to monitor the temperature and if there's leak or pipe burst it will automatically shutoff water main. I think it fits my need best.

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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by queso » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:37 am

Funny corollary to your Wally decision. I've had my Wally v1 for 3 years and after all my whining up thread about the versions being different, etc. I doubled down and ordered a Wally v2 kit (hub and 8 sensors) a few days ago. Reading this thread reminded me of the key locations that I don't have enough sensors for and it made me nervous enough that I pulled the trigger. Now I'll be running a Wally v1 and v2 in tandem (same dashboard) and will just replace my Wally v1 sensors as they die with v2 sensors. I didn't do the auto-shutoff valve though since I work relatively close to home, shut the water off when I travel and have retired neighbors with a key if I had an emergency and couldn't get home in time. One thing I like about wally v2 is the sensors have user replaceable batteries and also incorporate an audible alarm so I can eliminate the Zircons in those locations or repurpose them to another location. The v1 sensors had neither of these features so that's a big improvement over the v1s. The other nice thing is that the v2 sensors aren't tall and slender like the v1 sensors. It's pretty easy to knock over a v1 sensor under a sink when putting something away and the water contacts are on the bottom so you can defeat your water detection system simply by bumping the sensor. Looks like they addressed that with the v2 sensors. I'll probably target the high risk/high damage areas and the easy to tip over areas with the v2 sensors and move the v1s to areas where the risk of tipping over is much lower (not under sinks).

Good luck with your new system!

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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by queso » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:56 am

I setup my Arlo v2 system last night. They have made some pretty major improvements to the system since I bought my V1 system. The hub used to have to be directly connected via Ethernet cable but now is totally wireless so you can place it anywhere. The sensors always detected temp, humidity and the presence of water, but now they have added a magnet so you can use them to detect door/window opening/closing (although I don't use them for that). The sensors also used to only alert through the app/dashboard, but now have audible alarms. When in an alarm state the sensors also talk back to the hub and you can configure the hub to sound an audible alarm as well. That's a nice feature if you have sensors placed deep in a crawlspace or a garage or something since you would never hear those by themselves. The sensors have user replaceable batteries (the old V1s were disposable after the batteries died) and are also almost impossible to tip over unlike the v1 sensors. The only ding on the audible alert thing is that the sensors themselves aren't very loud. The Zircons can almost wake the dead, but if you have a lot of background noise (HVAC, fans, etc.) they are still hard to hear if you are a significant distance from them. There is no way I would hear the Wally sensors, but the hub also emits an audible alarm plus calls, texts, emails and alerts through notifications in the Wally app on my phone so I don't think there is much risk of missing an alert.

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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by stan1 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:02 am

A few months ago I started hearing a weird intermittent beep. I thought "what is this?" and spent 15 minutes walking around the house trying to localize it with my bad ears. Finally realized it was coming from under my kitchen sink and remembered that I put in a leak detection sensor. Come to find out that the quick attach plastic adapter on the drain pipe had loosened and there were a slight puddle underneath. Had I not had the detector this could have gone on for weeks or months before it became visible. Made me a believer.

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queso
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Re: House water detection and alert system?

Post by queso » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:10 am

stan1 wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:02 am
A few months ago I started hearing a weird intermittent beep. I thought "what is this?" and spent 15 minutes walking around the house trying to localize it with my bad ears. Finally realized it was coming from under my kitchen sink and remembered that I put in a leak detection sensor. Come to find out that the quick attach plastic adapter on the drain pipe had loosened and there were a slight puddle underneath. Had I not had the detector this could have gone on for weeks or months before it became visible. Made me a believer.
My father in law used to set the one off under the guest bathroom sink every time he came over. I figured out that he is a splasher when he washes his face and the faucet had a gap in the caulk where water was running down and dripping inside the vanity. Recaulked the faucet and now he can splash away. Never would have noticed otherwise.

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