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Do You Need a Smart Leak Detection System In Your Home?

whole house automatic shut off valve
Homeowner July 22, 2019
Arthur Brodskiy

 

Water damage is one of the top causes of insurance claims for U.S. homeowners. A surprise leak can cause catastrophic damage to your home. Flooded basements, rotted frames, destroyed belongings and keepsakes are all things that can result from a home water leak. In fact, your home is actually twice as likely to be the victim of water damage than fire or theft combined.  

 

The good news is, water damage can be prevented with smart leak detection. In the age of smartphones and smart homes, monitoring your home’s plumbing health is both practical and intuitive. 

 

We’re going to tell you all about smart leak detection, but first, let’s dig a little deeper into what exactly is at stake. 

 

The Cost Of Water Damage

 

leak protection

The average water damage insurance claim was over $10,000 from 2013-2017, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Repair projects set homeowners back anywhere from $400 to $9000. Damaged drywall can set you back $500. A flooded basement, $1500. The cost and severity of water damage incidents can vary wildly. But they’re never cheap.

 

The Dangers of Undetected Leaks

 

Oftentimes these water disasters start, innocently enough, with a small, undetected leak. Think of all the pipes that are running through your house. How many of them are behind walls or above the ceiling? When a small leak starts in a place you can’t see, the danger starts to slowly build:

 

  • Mold. Small leaks will often happen in places we don’t see everyday. An undetected leak behind a shower wall or in an attic can create a moist environment perfect for encouraging mold growth. Anywhere in your home that has poor ventilation is a place that can possibly develop mold. The black mold that develops in homes releases harmful mycotoxins that can lead to chronic respiratory symptoms for you and your family. 

 

  • High water bills. Do you know how much water the average American home uses in a day? 88 gallons. Much of that water is used needlessly. But even more water gets wasted when you account for small leaks. A tiny leak letting out a drop of water every few seconds wastes over a thousand gallons of water in a year. All that wasted water adds up. 

 

  • Structural damage. Certain parts of your home aren’t meant to be in constant contact with water. When leaks happen behind your walls, the frame and drywall of your home can become soaked, getting weaker and weaker as time passes. In most cases, by the time you notice a leak there’s already been a significant amount of damage done.

 

What Causes Leaks?

 

smart water shut off valve

 

  • High water pressure. The water pressure in your home is a lot like your own blood pressure. High water pressure means excess strain on your entire plumbing system. It wears out pipe joints, keeps your toilet running all night, puts stress on your fixtures (showerheads, faucets), and can lead to serious situations like pipe bursts or ruptured water hoses.  

 

  • Faulty Toilet Components. About a quarter of your water use comes from — you guessed it — your toilet. And all that flushing multiple times per day eventually takes its toll on the components in your toilet tank. When those components start to fail, you end up with a toilet that just won’t stop running. Sometimes you can hear it running, but it’s possible for leaks to be so slight that the toilet doesn’t make any noise at all. And while running toilets aren’t the leading cause of water damage in most homes, they have a knack for running up your water bill. You could be literally flushing money down the toilet. 

 

  • Frozen pipes. Water expands when it freezes. When water starts to freeze inside your pipes, it leads to higher and higher water pressure, creating a huge risk for a pipe burst. That’s why it’s always a good idea to winterize your home in the fall. 

 

  • Old water heater. An old water heater is a sort of like an old beat-up car you keep in your garage. Sure, you can take it out for a drive. But it probably won’t get you far.  Professional plumbers recommend that you replace your water heater every 7 to 10 years. 

 

Plumbing disasters have been around for as long as plumbing itself. But with all the technological breakthroughs we’ve seen over the years, why are our plumbing networks still using the same technology that was around a hundred years ago?

 

The Mad Scientist Of Plumbing

 

leak detection system

 

We’d like to tell you a quick story about a man named Henry Halimi. As an inventor, mechanical engineer and mathematician, Henry spent decades working with plumbing manufacturers, dreaming up solutions to today’s plumbing problems. 

 

He knew the plumbing world so thoroughly, he was actually used as an expert witness in over a thousand claims cases involving catastrophic water damage. And in one of life’s ironic twists of fate, he came home one holiday season to find that he, too, was the victim of catastrophic water damage: it was literally raining from the living room ceiling. 

 

Henry spent the next several years in his garage, determined to come up with a new solution to an old problem. He noticed that everything around him — phones, cars, even toasters — were getting “smart” upgrades, but plumbing was still stuck in the 19th century. His garage started taking on a lab-like quality. His son Gabriel started calling him the Mad Scientist of Plumbing. 

 

Finally, after years of tinkering in his lab, Henry emerged with a solution.

 

Getting Smart About Leak Detection

 

The story about Henry is true, and his invention is the Flo by Moen. It’s the first of its kind — a smart leak detection system that monitors water pressure, temperature and pressure. It detects leaks up to a drop per minute, all in real-time. All the information it gathers is available to you any time of the day with the Flo smartphone app. 

 

Henry and Gabriel Halimi co-founded Flo with the dream of bringing the smart revolution to the world of plumbing. After all, water is one of life’s essentials, and your plumbing system is vital to the health of you and your home. 

 

The concept is simple. Install the device onto your water main. Give it power and wifi and, just like that, you have constant tabs on your entire home’s water system. 

 

And the Flo by Moen does much more than just detects leaks. It helps you conserve water, save money on your water bill, and even potentially on your insurance premium. And it acts as a whole house automatic shutoff valve, preventing water damage before it can even happen. 

 

Joe from Burnsville, NC used the Flo by Moen to save himself from a potential spike in his utility bill:

 

“I received an alert, at 11:30 PM indicating that my water had been running for over 60 minutes. Because I didn’t respond, my water was automatically shut off. The next morning I turned the water back on and saw the water was still running at over 1 gallon per minute. I contacted my renter and found a toilet was continuously running following a flush. A large water bill was diverted…” 

 

But it turned out his trouble wasn’t just with his toilet:

 

“I also received an alert indicating high water pressure. Reading was 152 PSI. Pressure should never exceed 75 PSI. I contacted a plumber and found that I had no pressure control valve. PCV was installed and avoided potential water line break.”

 

Joe was able to save his water bill and his home, all because of a device just a touch bigger than a smartphone. David in San Francisco learned about Flo after the in-line to his water heater snapped and drenched his garage:

 

“I installed Flo myself, pretty easy actually…excited for some peace of mind with the auto-shut off feature. The device started to learn about my water and quickly detected a high-pressure level. At first, I didn’t believe it, it said my water pressure was over 120+ PSI…which sounded crazy. After checking my pressure with another gauge, I realized Flo was spot on and had solved my water heater mystery. The high pressure caused wear on the lines and it finally snapped. I actually live on a hill in San Francisco and the extra pressure is supposed to pump water up the hill, but the city never tells you that.”

 

Since its debut, the Flo by Moen device has saved over 10 million gallons of water for people like Joe and David all over the world. 60% of users detect a leak as soon as they install the device. Which goes to show just how sneaky those little leaks can be. 

 

So the question isn’t whether or not you need a smart leak detection system in your home. The question is, is your home leaking right now?

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