Five Myths of Water Leak Detection Devices

Water damage in the home is more common, time-consuming and expensive than one might think, with the average water claim costing in excess of $50,000, according to Chubb’s internal claims data.  An effective way to help minimize the expense and average three months’ time homeowner’s water damage repairs typically require is to install a smart flow-based water shut-off device.

If you’ve installed this leak detection system, you made a very good decision, as non-weather-related water losses is the #1 source of property damage—not severe rainstorms or fire. Their value is affirmed by insurance companies, including Chubb, that usually provide a premium discount to deploy them.

If you’re in the market for a smart water mitigation device that monitors the flow of water throughout your home, bear in mind the following five myths before making your decision:

Myth #1: The plumber will do all the work.

A smart water shut-off device is installed by a plumber into the home’s water line to detect high water pressure and flow. When the rate exceeds customized set limits, the water supply automatically shuts off. To know these norms, some devices may need 10 to 21 days to learn your family’s water behaviors. And homeowners need to learn how to use the device and its features and smart app. Mythbuster: The plumber’s work is done; yours is now beginning.

Myth #2: There are other fish in the sea.

Several types of smart water devices flood the market, each with different flow sensitivities and smart app experiences. Research these differences to select a device that’s right for your home and lifestyle. Making this easier is the likelihood your insurance company has vetted these different systems, gauging their loss prevention attributes. Mythbuster: Ask your insurance agent for advice. 

Myth #3: If you don’t see water collecting, no worries.

Many homeowners complain after activating the app, they receive notifications of a leak. Since no sitting water is visible, they conclude the device isn’t working properly. Since the system is designed to detect unusual water pressures or flows--probably caused by a leak in your plumbing or pipes--and not a puddle of water under the water heater, the device is probably working fine. Mythbuster: When in doubt, contact a plumbing professional to rule out hidden leaks.

Myth #4: Once installed, goodbye water leaks.

If only this were true! Leak detection and prevention are not the same thing. Water flow-based devices help mitigate property damage by shutting off the water before the situation worsens. Mythbuster: Water leaks can’t be fully prevented, but the damage may be containable. 

Myth #5: I live in a condo or an apartment, so water leak detectors don’t apply. 

Actually, the risk of water damage is just as high (if not higher) because your plumbing system is part of a network that includes other unit dwellers. If a neighbor upstairs or next door has an undetected water leak, your home also may incur damage. Talk to the landlord or the condo board about a system-wide water shut-off device. Or consider the installation of leak sensors around sinks, toilets and water-based appliances. Mythbuster: Like death and taxes, leaks happen.

To learn more about water damage and leak mitigation, we’ve put together this online content on protecting your home from the number one cause of property damage.


Nicole DiPetrillo is vice president and client service leader for Chubb Personal Risk Services.

The opinions and positions expressed are the authors’ own and not those of Chubb. The information and/ or data provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.