The odds that you will experience the hassles of water damage inside your own home are greater than facing fire, theft, or liability loss …. combined. The good news, however, is that you can do something about it.
Whether your home is small, large, busy, unoccupied, historical or brand new, there is one common action every homeowner should take to help reduce and prevent a water loss: install a water leak detection device. Here are a few tips for selecting a device:
- Tip 1: If you own a single-family house, installing a flow-based leak detection device may provide more benefits than using individual sensors. Flow-based systems monitor variations in the movement of water throughout your home, and when abnormal water flow is detected, will shut off the home’s water supply to help minimize loss. These devices provide enhanced protection, functionality, durability, reliability, accuracy, and provide value for the money.
- Tip 2: If you own a separate condominium unit, then sensor systems are an appropriate alternative. Sensor systems are place placed near water-using appliances and devices and will send an alert to your smartphone when a water leak is detected. However, if you own a single-family house, sensors should only be supplemental to a flow-based system, since sensors cannot test for micro leaks, monitor water usage, or detect burst pipes in walls or under foundations - but flow-based systems can.
- Tip 3: The device must be able to automatically shut off the water upon a pipe rupture or unattended water anomaly. A critical function of these preferred flow-based devices is that they not only detect trouble, but also work to mitigate the problem.
- Tip 4: Hire a plumber to professionally install your flow-based leak detection device on your domestic water main pipe near where it enters your house. These devices are not battery powered, so you’ll need access to a power outlet and want to ensure your Wi-Fi router’s signal is powerful enough to get to where the device is installed.
- Tip 5: Get your discounts. Some insurers offer clients a negotiated discount for purchasing a water leak detection device from their preferred vendors. Once installed, you may also be eligible for an insurance premium discount by providing your agent with an installation certificate from the vendor or a photo of the installed device along with the installation invoice.
- Tip 6: Determine the size of your water main pipe to help order the right product size. If you don’t know how, ask your licensed plumber, contractor, or the product vendor to assist you. If you want to try to find it yourself, locate where your water pipe enters your house, and measure the nominal diameter of the pipe or read the size on a stamped fitting if available. The most common sizes are ¾”, 1”, 1-1/4” and 1-1/2”.
- Tip 7: Download the smartphone app. Many water leak detection vendors offer a smartphone app featuring a variety of functionalities such as remote monitoring, smartphone alerts, and access to control your home’s water with a remote on/off switch.
Lastly, do this for your family. Let’s just say moving out your stuff, scheduling your life around contractors and claims adjusters, and getting your home back looking as good as it did before a major water catastrophe is no one’s idea of a good time. Homeowners can help avoid all of it by following these tips.
To learn more about protecting your home from water damage, visit our water damage resource center.
Mark Molenaar, ARM, ALCM is a Senior Technical Specialist in Chubb Personal Risk Services