What is a Water Leak Alarm?
A Water Leak alarm is a generic phrase used to explain a number of different devices to alert you of the possibility of a water leak (or even flood) at your property. There is a huge range of different types of water leak alarm (more on this below), with some being very affordable, with other more sophisticated alarms being much more expensive. In this article we look at the whole subject of water leak alarms, how they work and, importantly, what the pros and cons of them are so you are aware of their benefits as well as their limitations.
We will explain this more later but, it is important to highlight that water leak alarms are not generally designed to locate a water leak, they just indicate that you might have one. If you need to know where a leak we advise using the services of a leak detection expert such as us.
Why would I need a Water Leak Alarm?
The principle of a water leak alarm is a bit like what a smoke alarm does in your house, it gives you an early warning of a possible leak at your house. And just like you would want to catch a fire as early as possible, the same is with a water leak. If you can catch it early, you can prevent water leak damage to your house. Water Leak Alarms use water leak sensors to detect the signs of a leak. The way the device does this will depend on the type of sensor it uses.
What is a Water Leak Sensor?
A water leak sensor is a key component of a water leak alarm, it detects the presence of water, moisture or (in some cases) elevated humidity in your property. All water leak alarms have some form of water leak sensor in them, but they work in different ways depending on the type of alarm you have. Each type of alarm is designed differently, uses different technology and has different purposes. There isn’t one device that does what all others do, especially when you consider that you may need several of them if you want to monitor different rooms.
Types of Water Leak Alarm?
As we just said above, there are different types of alarm. Here is our guide to the main types that are available in the market at the moment;
- Your Water Meter – that might sound like an odd thing to say but a water meter can act as an alarm of sorts to indicate you are using more water. Clearly, unless it is a smart water meter, it is likely to be a ‘dumb’ alarm not giving you any warning sounds or smart alerts. We have a guide on how to read a water meter which explains what the numbers are and how to calculate water usage.
- Your Water Bill – again, very much related to the previous point, an elevated water bill much higher than you were expecting or normally have, may indicate you have a water leak. Moving on to more conventional types of water leak alarms and sensors…
- Flow Sensor Alarms (in line) – this type of water leak alarm is generally professionally fitted as it is attached to your water pipes in such a way as to allow the water to run through it, monitoring the flow through. Some of these have the ability to turn water off via an attached knob, tap or lever. Some smart versions also have the ability to turn your water off remotely via an app on your phone.
- Flow Sensor Alarms (clip on) – these work similarly to the in line versions, with the big difference being that you just clip it on without needing to modify your existing pipework. The sensor on it monitors the flow of water through the pipe. Clearly this means that it cannot turn the water off. However, it is a more DIY water leak alarm.
- Contact Sensor Alarm – this type of water leak alarm will typically have an attached probe which monitors for coming in contact with water or moisture. They will often have two pins (a bit like a moisture meter will have) that spots changes in conductivity across the pins that is associated with a water leak. They will normally have a ‘trigger’ point that then alerts you of a water leak.
- Humidity Sensor Alarm – this style of water leak alarm monitors the air where it is placed to check for elevated humidity which may be associated with a water leak. The device is constantly taking psychometric readings from the air in order to do this, again like some professional damp meters do.
- Flood Alert Alarm – these are sometimes devices similar to those listed above but instead of being called leak alarms, they are called flood alarms. They can be used to alert of flooding too. However, there are some other bespoke types of flood alarm, which are designed particularly for alerting about flooding. Different versions use different technology, but typically they monitor for rises in water levels and trigger at a point of a certain height.
- Smart Water Leak Alarms – most of the water leak alarms mentioned above can come as ‘smart’ alarms, but what does that mean and what difference does it make…
What is a Smart Water Leak Detector?
A smart water leak detector gives alerts and warnings to the user, usually via an app, suggesting that you may have a leak at your property. This is obviously beneficial if you are not at home, so you can be alerted that something could be happening whilst you are away. The basis on which these devices send you an alert varies from model to model.
As we mentioned earlier, some smart water leak detectors even allow you to cut the water off to your house remotely, which can be a useful feature. That said, those devices are usually much more expensive and require professional fitting.
As well as using alarms to help indicate you might have a water leak, there are other signs of a water leak to look out for. So if you see any of those things, get in touch today.
Water Leak Alarm – Pros and Cons
So we have talked a lot about water leak alarms and sensors but what are the pros and cons?
Pros of Water Leak Alarms:
- They can give you notification of a leak before you would otherwise notice it.
- There are some versions which are fairly cost effective, although features may be limited
- They are sometimes integrated into other smart home features / packages
- On smart devices, it can give you peace of mind if you are away from home
Cons of Water Leak Alarms:
- They would generally not tell you where a leak is (very important!)
- If the alarm is not ‘smart’ you wouldn’t know of alerts if you are away from home
- They don’t always give much information (e.g. small or big leak)
- Related to that., a big leak may do damage before you can do anything about it
- Some devices need professional fitting, which can be expensive
- You may need multiple alarms, depending on the model, which can be expensive
- Some devices require a smart hub to work, which is again additional cost
- They are generally run off batteries that need replacing – although many of the smart devices will let you know that (provided they are connected to Wi-Fi normally)
- They can give ‘false positive’ readings, suggesting you have a leak when you do not – for example, based on water running for a long time when you are just watering the garden or having a long shower!
- Some of the more sophisticated water leak alarms are very expensive
Which leads us on nicely to the next question…
How much is a Water Leak Alarm?
Water leak alarms vary in cost hugely, depending on what system they are on, their capability, if they require additional accessories (e.g. a hub) or require professional fitting and maintenance – which can add a lot to the cost of a water leak alarm system.
That said, the cheaper end of the spectrum of water leak alarms would be a few tens of pounds. But at the upper end, there are systems which cost many hundreds of pounds, even thousands.
Overall we are in favour of water leak alarms, provided you accept their limitations. As we have said before, the sooner you can catch a water leak the better, for many reasons. Water leak alarms can help with that. The main issue is that people hear the phrase ‘water leak alarm’ or ‘water leak detector’ and think that it will locate the leak for you. That is not the case, unless it is a highly sophisticated solution which is very expensive indeed. And even those might only tell you of an area / room.
If you have a water leak, we recommend using a professional water leak detection company such as ourselves. Our highly trained staff are experts in finding water leaks and have a very high success rate of finding leaks of all kinds. They have professional detection equipment to help with that.
So if you need help with a water leak, get in touch with our friendly team today.
Here are a few other commonly asked questions about water leak alarms…
Water Leak Alarm says I have a leak – what now?
If your water leak alarm says you have a leak and you have ruled out a ‘false positive’ alert (e.g. from running water for some time triggering it. Get in touch with us and make an appointment for one of our leak detection engineers to visit your property, we will help you find your leak before it does too much damage to your property. As we always say – never ignore a water leak. It can damage your property, cost you money and may bring safety risks to your home.
Where should I place my Water Leak Alarm?
If you are using just one water leak sensor alarm in your property, and if it is one which monitors flow, then usually the best place is at the point where the water pipe enters your property (usually near the stop tap) so it can monitor all flows of water to rooms beyond that point. If you are using one and it is of the variety that alerts for physical water, moisture or humidity, then place it at the position where you feel that you have the most risk of a water leak (often in a utility room, kitchen or bathroom). If you have multiple devices then place each in those places / rooms we mentioned. You may want to place one at the low point of your house too, in case of flooding or water ingress to your property.
Is there an alarm for Water Leakage?
Yes there is and there are many different types of water leakage alarms. Hopefully you will agree that the information we have collated above will explain the full range of water leak alarms, how they work as well as their advantages and disadvantages are in indicating a potential water leak.
Who makes Water Leak Alarms?
There are many, many different makes of water leak alarm and the list is growing all the time. They are available from a number of stores, as well as the manufacturers themselves most of the time. Make sure you do your research, before buying so that you are fully aware of the benefits and limitations of water leak alarms.
Are Water Leak sensors worth it?
That will depend on the cost of the system you choose and the functionality of each different one. Ultimately we think that they can be a worthwhile and reasonably inexpensive purchase to help protect your home from water leaks, provided you are aware of the limitations we have listed in our report.