When it comes to early leak detection and mold prevention, water leak detectors (also known as water leak alarms) are one of the first lines of defense. When used correctly, water leak detectors alert you the moment a leak occurs inside your home. Water leak alarms will not work for plumbing leaks behind walls and above ceilings.
Water leak alarms are placed in areas where a leak may occur.
They are typically battery operated but some units do require an outlet to plug in to. When the sensors come in contact with water, an audible alarm sounds alerting you to the leak.
Some water leak detectors have probes that detect the water. Others have a cable attached to the probes which allows you to get the leak alarm into a smaller space.
This is a great way to know immediately when a leak inside your home has occurred so you can address it right away. The only downside to water leak alarms is that they cannot be placed inside walls or above the ceiling unless you have easy attic access. Keep in mind, you may or may not be able to hear the alarm if placed in the attic.
Where Do You Put A Water Leak Detector?
- Under sinks
- Under garbage disposal
- Behind or under the dishwasher
- Behind the refrigerator
- Near a water filtration system
- Near a water softener if in the house
- Behind or near the washing machine
- At the washing machine hookups
- By the water heater
- Behind toilets
- In the basement (close to the sump pump is good)
- Under or near a fish tank
You could place a leak alarm by the shower or bathtub however, it likely will go often with some regularity since that area does get a little damp as you go in and out. Showers and bathtubs are better monitored visually.
What Are The Best Water Leak Detectors?
There are all kinds of water leaks detectors on the market. Some are very affordable and easy to use. Others are quite expensive and require a bit of technical knowledge. Today I am going to share my top picks for both affordable and easy to use leak alarms as well as a couple higher end models that are worth checking out.
Zircon 61959 Leak Alert Electronic Water Leak Detector
I love these water leak alarms from Zircon. They are what I use most in my own home. They are battery powered, very sensitive, have a LOUD alarm, and are budget friendly. They have brought a few under the sink leaks to my attention with just a few drops of water.
Features of the Zircon Water Leak Alarm
- Loud 85 decibel alarm can be heard easily
- Small size fits anywhere
- Unit floats and alarm will continue to sound for up to 72 hours
- Low battery indicator
- Requires a 9-volt battery (which is included in their awesome value pack)
Zircon Leak Alert With WiFi
Another great product by Zircon! It is basically the same product as the one above but with the added capability of alerting you to the leak if you are not home. The Zircon Leak Alert WiFi smart water leak detector connects to Wi-Fi and immediately sends email alerts when even the slightest amount of moisture is detected.
Features of the Zircon WiFi Water Leak Alarm
- Name each wifi water sensor with its location during set up and email alerts will direct you immediately to the source of the alarm!
- Loud 105 dB alarm and flashing SOS alert even when Wi-Fi isn’t available.
- Independent and hubless system allows an unlimited number of Leak Alert WiFi water detectors to be set up and running at any given time.
- Fully automatic battery-powered operation – no wiring required for this smart water sensor.
- Like your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a low battery warning chirps an alarm when it is time to replace the 3V Lithium battery.
- Unit floats and alarm sounds for up to 8 hours.
Lyric Wi-Fi Water Leak & Freeze Detector
Many pipes will burst when the water trapped inside them freezes and expands. That’s why, in addition to water leaks, Honeywell’s Lyric sensor can also detect temperature changes, and send you an alert when things get too cold. This is actually a pretty good feature. The water leak detector is slightly more expensive than the Zircon models but that is to be expected with the extra features.
Features of the Lyric Water Leak Alarm
- Wi-Fi water leak detector sends alerts by text and email. Geofencing technology can tell who’s nearest, and sends an “all clear” when the problem has been resolved.
- Works with the Honeywell Lyric App
- Battery operated – Lasting up to three years (Batteries included)
- Connects to standard Home Wi-Fi directly – no need for an extra hub or base station. Can be integrated with a smart home.
- Status LED lights and an industry leading 100 dB buzzer helps notify a leak detection
- Temperature, humidity and water leak measurement
- 4ft cable sensor (included) can be used to extend sensor capability
- The entire length of cable sensor detects water
- Additional cables can be added to extend the sensor length to 500ft. (sold separately). Ideal for looping in an entire area
- DIY installation and can be setup in minutes
Fibaro Flood Sensor
The Fibaro water leak detector is pretty high tech and slick for the price. It is a bit more expensive than the above mentioned water leak alarms and honestly probably a bit overkill for basic leak detection. However, it works incredibly well and does have some cool bells and whistles.
The two things that I do have a concern about are the alarm volume. It isn’t that loud compared to the Zircon and the Lyric. It also uses a much less common battery meaning you likely won’t have a backup in the house.
Features of the Fibaro Water Leak Alarm
- It is designed to either be placed on the floor or a wall with the gold-plated water-sensing probes extended by a connected wire.
- The device can be battery or VDC powered (12/24 VDC).
- It has a built-in tilt sensor that reports any movement of the device to the central Z-Wave controller.
- The Fibaro Flood Sensor is buoyant and can float on the water’s surface.
- It has a built-in temperature sensor that can alert you if there is an increase or decrease in temperature, which can protect your home from damage caused by frozen pipes.
- The Fibaro Flood Sensor is compatible with many Z-Wave smart hubs such as Home Center 2 and Lite, SmartThings, HomeSeer, Vera, Clare Controls and Nexia. (Note: This device does not currently work with Wink).
- Mobile alerts: Get notified immediately on your smartphone, tablet, or email when water is detected
- Visual alerts: trigger certain lights, activate specific scenes or even sirens if there is a threat
- Audio alerts: The Flood Sensor will notify you when it detects water with an acoustic alarm
- Protection even on uneven surfaces: three 24K plated gold telescoping feet always make sure it’s making contact even on uneven surfaces and never corrodes
Moving along to our higher priced water leak detectors….
The Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector
The Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector is a Wi-Fi-connected, multi-function sensor that detects major home problems like water leaks, humidity & freezing/high temperatures. When you connect it to your Roost App, your phone will alert you if water is detected, or humidity / temperature fall outside your preset levels.
A lot of people seem to like the Roost. It is a solid water leak detector but I wasn’t overly impressed with it for the higher price tag. In fact, I had a little trouble getting it to work right with the App. But that could have been just me.
Features of the Roost Water Leak Alarm
- Senses water leaks in common locations like under the sink, dishwasher, toilet, hot water heater, washer and more.
- Freeze alerts using temperature sensors help prevent frozen pipes.
- Alerts your smartphone whenever your alarm sounds. Early warning to water leaks that could turn into major issues and property damage.
- Share alerts by inviting trusted friends to receive smartphone alerts if your alarm sounds when you are away.
- Using the Roost App, you can simply customize and set the temperature & humidity range that you want to track
- Up to 3-year battery life (AAA batteries included)
Sinope Sedna Smart Water Leak Detection Kit
The Sinope Sedna water leak detector is more than just your basic water alarm. Sedna combines leak sensors that communicate with a electronic water valve on your main water supply (there are 0.75- and 1-inch models available), so that if water appears somewhere it shouldn’t be the valve will turn your water off to prevent a small leak from turning into a disaster. This makes it a great option for people who are away from home for long periods of time or who travel frequently.
Features of the Sedna Water Alarm
- The system includes – (1) smart automatic water shut-off valve with AC adapter – 3/4 in diameter and (5) wireless water leak detectors. Professional installation is recommended.
- The valve connects directly to the main water supply and closes as soon as a leak is detected.
- Great detection accuracy: The ultra-precise water leak detector detects the slightest puddle of water.
- Preventive detection and remote control: A notification is sent by e-mail or text message when a water leak or a temperature drop is detected and the valve is closed automatically.
- The valve allows you to remotely control the opening and closing of your main water supply wherever you are.
- Full port ball valve: The stainless steel full port ball valve’s design prevents any restriction of water. You will not notice any change in water flow.
- Each Sedna sensor measures 2.5 inches square and 0.75 inches high. You can plug 4-foot extension cables into two of them for deployment in hard-to-reach locations, such as underneath a dishwasher. Both types are incredibly sensitive and can detect as little as 0.015 inches of water as well as freezing temperatures.
- Runs on two AAA batteries.
Guardian Leak Prevention System
The Guardian Leak Prevention System was built from the ground up to be completely bulletproof. Guardian uses some great technology to drive the product. The system itself is robust, and well built, with sensors that also will hold up over time in harsh environments such as basements, attics, and other indoor areas.
Features of the Guardian Leak Prevention System
- No Tools Needed – the Valve Controller installs out of the box, with no tools – hand-tighten the clamps to secure everything to your valve
- Use Your Existing Valve – you don’t need a special valve or tools to use Guardian – just a standard quarter-turn ball valve.
- Three Points of Leak Detection – detect leaks using the Bottom Sensors, Top Sensor, or Remote Sensor Probe, or all three, to monitor toilets, appliances, sump pumps, sinks, drains, and more for leaks.
- Self-Testing – Guardian will open and close your valve weekly to keep it in good condition and ensure proper operation during emergencies.
- Battery Backup – with the optional battery backup, Guardian will protect your home and shut off your water supply during leaks for up to twelve hours without electricity.
- Offline Functionality – once configured, the Valve Controller will still shut off your water during a leak, even if the internet is down. WiFi is only required for setup as well as off-site control and monitoring of the system.
- 15-Year Battery Life – the Leak Detector includes a 15-year battery, and you will receive an alert when the battery runs low.
- Waterproof Housing – reuse your Leak Detectors even after a leak – its waterproof housing protects it from water damage.
- Extreme Long Range – the Water Detectors can be placed up to 1000′ away from the Valve Controller, which means Guardian will protect large homes and even apartment buildings.
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