A Tiny Sensor that may save you a fortune!
If you have ever had a water leak, you are likely aware that the repairs could cost a few hundred dollars if you catch them early. However, if a leak is more indolent, it can linger, causing more significant damage. Costs can balloon into several thousands of dollars. With washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters, toilets, pipe leaks, foundation leaks, etc., it is a wonder that we still consider ourselves land animals. With so many potential water source threats, a water sensor becomes an important feature of a home monitoring system.
Yesterday, 2/27/21, I helped my 2-year old daughter down to a nap when I heard my alarm system warning. It did not alert me to an open window/door; it did not alert me that someone had rung my doorbell, nor did it alert me that a fire was detected. Instead, the warning chimes noted that there was a water leak detected in the basement. I rushed downstairs to find water pouring down my dryer duct’s outer aspect onto my tile floor. The water sensor behind my washing machine had done its job and alerted me to the issue. Uncertain of the leak’s origin, I went outside to find that my children had turned on the outside water spigot. Unfortunately, this had caused a leak within the wall. Luckily, I was able to isolate the problem. I was able to shut-off the outside spigot and the inside shut-off valve to isolate the leak. I was then able to sop up the water with only a few towels. Had the sensor not been present, I hate to think what might have resulted. We contacted a plumber and found a crack within the pipe, just inside the wall. The device likely paid for itself with only a single warning.
The unobtrusive Vivint Water Sensor should easily slide behind a major appliance, under a sink, under a water heater, under the flashing of your dishwasher, behind a refrigerator, or underneath a pipe system. The small white device weighed 2.36-ounces and measured 2 7/16 inches square by 7/8 inches tall. The sensor had a rather clean appearance, with a smooth top half. You will find four 1/16 inches tall plastic feet and two small metallic-electrodes along the bottom of the device. When those electrodes are exposed to water (or a temperature drop), the sensor will signal to the panel that water was detected. This can be simulated by dipping your finger into water and pressing it against the two electrodes. The panel will then send a signal to the App, which will alert the user to the problem. With the event mentioned above, I was home and able to address the problem urgently. In that instance, both the panel and the App alerted me to the issue.
If a leak occurred when I was not home, the App would have alerted me to the danger. I could have contacted my neighbor/local family member to check out the problem. They could have contacted a professional, or they could have shut off the main water shut-off valve (located behind my dryer). Using the system to its maximal potential, I would log into the App, disarm the alarm, and then unlock any needed doors to admit the individual. Once the water was turned off, the individual could clean up the area if needed and then exit the home. Through the App, I could see that the door was closed; next, I could lock the door and re-activate the alarm. Additionally, thanks to the linked Element Thermostat, I could see my home’s temperature, and I could adjust the temperature as needed.
This coming December (12/2021) marks my tenth year with Vivint. Over the last decade, I have entrusted my home and family to their monitoring center and their sensors. We have had alarms, both real and accidental, for entry, duress, and fire. However, before 2/27/21, I had never had a water sensor alert outside of my device’s initial test. If you are looking for a full spectrum home monitoring system, look to Vivint to fulfill your needs. When building your system, make sure that you talk to their agents about your need for a few of their water sensors.