Leak Protection on Both Sides: Drain-side vs. Supply-side Plumbing & Security
Plumbing 101 Leak Detection Flo by Moen

Leak Protection on Both Sides: Drain-side vs. Supply-side Plumbing & Security

Gabe Halimi
Gabe Halimi
Gabe Halimi

Leaks in the home can happen, and they absolutely do. According to the EPA, an average household's leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted per home every year, and 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more every day.

In a home, there are two main sides of the plumbing system – the lines that bring water in and those that take water out. Supply-side plumbing (the blue lines in the image below) concerns the clean (pressurized) water that enters the home's  plumbing system from the municipal city water line and flows throughout the home to fixtures. Drain-side plumbing (the brown lines in the image below) refers to the series of piping that collects the "dirty" water or water that is released from a fixture and subsequently drained out of the home and back into the sewer lines.

Home's supply side plumbing (blue) vs. drain side plumbing (brown)

Plumbing issues can happen on both sides and can be protected in different ways. In this article, read further to learn more about supply- and drain-side damage and how you can protect your home from both kinds with the Flo by Moen Smart Water Security System.

Supply-side Security

Supply-side plumbing is often not visible in the home, as such piping is connecting water to all parts (behind walls, above ceilings, below concrete slabs). Due to this lack of visibility, supply-side leaks can often go undiscovered for a long period of time, allowing water damage to accumulate slowly but surely. Often, these problems begin as small drips that can't be seen or heard until the damage is already done. The resulting damage can take many forms including but not limited to discoloration or stains on walls or ceilings, cracks in slabs, mold, or in some cases even floods.

How can you protect the supply-side of your home?

There’s only one way to get peace of mind that you don’t currently have any leaks in your home. When the EPA’s WaterSense program certifies a leak-free home, it’s verified through “pressure-loss testing", not via a water meter.

Industry-leading Flo by Moen Smart Water Shutoff for supply-side protection

Flo by Moen's Smart Water Shutoff is the industry-leading proactive water monitoring device with proven results. The Smart Water Shutoff has an automatic shutoff feature that performs pressure loss testing with daily health tests while actively monitoring the home's water pressure and flow rate in real-time, 24/7. The Shutoff also monitors the area temperature of the location in which the device is installed, to accurately provide early warning indicators of freezing pipes that can lead to higher water pressure that applies serious stress to the entire home's plumbing, which can lead to burst pipes, drains, and even damaged appliances. When the Shutoff detects loss of pressure from the health tests or unusual activity that points to a potential leak in the home, it will trigger an alert directly to your smartphone with the Flo by Moen App.

The Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector can also help protect your home from water damage stemming from the supply side, since it can be placed anywhere in the home to detect moisture. Since it is not installed on the main water line, it does not provide coverage for the entire supply side of the home. However, it can be the best option for homes that can not have a Smart Water Shutoff installed (where the plumbing lines are not unique to the Flo by Moen user), such as an apartment or condo unit. For example, a Detector can be mounted in a low corner of the wall and, if water is leaking behind the wall and accumulating where the Detector is placed, the pooling moisture will be detected and an alert will be triggered via the Flo by Moen App.

Drain-side Security

Drain-side plumbing, like supply-side plumbing, are often invisible to the homeowner at the house-level apart from perhaps a p-trap or partial drain of a sink. Drain-side damage can often be the result of drips from leaks or bursts in the drain or p-trap or clogged drains. Or, perhaps the water heater, or another appliance, is leaking and causing water to seep into the floors. Such drain-side problems can lead to extensive water damage and loss, not to mention increases leading to higher water bills every month.

How can you protect the drain-side of your home?

Protection on the supply-side with proactive water monitoring devices like the Smart Water Shutoff can catch 80% of the water damage issues that occur. The other 20% that can be attributed to drain-side damage can sometimes not be identified with the Shutoff alone. That's why the Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector is your home's water security guard for drain-side protection.

Drain-side leaks

Drain-side plumbing is separate from supply-side plumbing. That's why even if you have a Flo by Moen Smart Water Shutoff installed on the main water supply line, it will not be able to catch a drain-side leaks such as water leaking from the sink drain (below the sink). That's where the Smart Water Detector comes in.

Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector with Remote Sensing Disc attached below the sink

Using the image above as an example, let's say your kitchen sink has a drain-side leak in the drain or p-trap. When water drips out from the drain pipe and touches the Remote Sensing Disc attached to the Detector, the activated sensors will detect the moisture immediately. At that point, the device triggers an alert via the Flo by Moen App directly to your smartphone and also will communicate with the Smart Water Shutoff (if installed) to enable the automatic shutoff feature to prevent water damage in the home.

Environmental Damage

Homes can also experience water damage from harsh weather conditions (i.e., large downpours of rain) that can enter the home. Consider a drafty guest bathroom or basement in the home with an older window. A continuous pour begins, and water begins to seep into the home through the window that could even lead grow into a flood. Such environmental damage can not be sensed by the Smart Water Shutoff that monitors the plumbing system but can be detected with the drain-side saving Smart Water Detector that would detect the moisture as soon as it reaches one of its sensors.

Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector with Leak Sensing Cable attached and laid out on a windowsill

As seen in the image above, and following the example of heavy rain entering the home through an old window, a Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector and attached Leak Sensing Cable would detect that moisture immediately. The Leak Sensing Cable has leak sensing technology active throughout the entire 6-ft cord and can be placed also be useful wrapped around appliances that can leak (i.e., water heater) or underneath or behind appliances to protect less visible areas. In addition to detecting water, the Smart Water Detector can also detect changes in humidity and sensor to serve as a leak-detection and environmental sensor for all homes.

Total Home Protection: Supply-side & Drain-side

When thinking about total home protection, remember to consider both sides of your home's plumbing system: the supply-side and drain-side. These days, ioT devices for water monitoring are becoming more available to homeowners that protect the supply-side of the home.

As the leader of the leak detection and smart water monitoring device industry, Flo by Moen provides homeowners with everything you need for total home protection. With our Smart Water Security System, supply-side protection is guaranteed with our Smart Water Shutoff as well as the often less-considered drain-side protection with our innovative Smart Water Detector. We even created Smart Water Security Kits to provide you with the Smart Water Security essentials in three unique discounted bundles.

The Smart Water Shutoff provides protection against the larger issue of supply line leaks, while Smart Water Detectors will sense floods, water spills and drips, and drainage-related problems. When used together, the Detector will communicate with the Shutoff to turn your water off if liquid is detected for maximum protection against water damage. As a team, they bring peace of mind with proactive monitoring of your home's water to help prevent loss, one drip at a time.