Compare water leak detection systems

There are a variety of water leak detection systems available on the market today. In general, leak detection systems can be classified as either passive or active. The majority of leak detectors on the market are passive.

Passive vs. active leak detection systems

A passive leak detection system is intended to alert the homeowner when it detects a leak. In most cases, an audible alarm is sounded. Some systems also feature a flashing light. When the homeowner notices the alarm, he or she must make an intervention to shut off the water supply to stop the leak and prevent damage. Passive leak detectors are most typically battery-operated stand-alone units that simply rest of the floor under the water appliance or plumbing being monitored for leaks. As such, they are easy to install, but require regular battery testing.

The problem with passive leak detection systems is obvious - they will only be effective in preventing damage from a leak if the homeowner notices the alarm signal. Unfortunately, since the majority of water leaks that cause significant property damage actually occur when the homeowner is away from his or her residence (either at work, on holidays, etc.), passive leak detectors offer little assistance in preventing leaks that lead to significant or catastrophic home damage.

Active leak detection systems, on the other hand, not only detect the presence of water, they are also typically hooked up to a valve on the building's main water supply line and can intervene in the event of a leak. They go about this by shutting off the water supply thereby preventing further water from flowing and causing property damage. An effective active leak detector will turn off the water supply within a few seconds of a leak being detected; accordingly, active leak detection systems offer vastly superior protection as compared to passive systems.

Active leak detectors can either be designed to monitor and protect an individual appliance (point-of-monitoring) or multiple locations (whole house). Point-of-monitoring systems are designed to detect a leak from a single location, such as a washing machine or water heater. If a leak is detected, the water supply to the single point-of-use is turned off.

Point-of-use vs. whole-house leak detection systems

The most effective leak detection systems on the market are both active and offer protection on a whole-house basis. The technology varies considerably from system to system.

Some units (eg. FloLogic® System) monitor water flow patterns to recognize if water is allowed to flow for an unnaturally long period of time. In theory, a leak anywhere in the plumbing system would eventually be detected this way. The whole house, every inch of the plumbing system, could be monitored from a single point in the home at the main incoming water line. However, these systems can have serious shortcomings. Most notably, the leak may be allowed to flow for a considerable period of time before it is actually recognized as a leak and not normal water usage. These systems usually have a home/away button to select when you are away from the home to help minimize this problem. For example, when the "home" option is selected, the system will trigger only if the water has been flowing for more than 30 continuous minutes, or, in the "away" mode, if it is detected to have been flowing for a period of 30 seconds/a minute. But what happens if you want to run some laundry or a load of dishes while you are out? You would have to leave the system in "home" mode, negating much of your potential leak protection. Furthermore, the inconvenience associated with always setting and re-setting the home/away feature is a nuisance.

Multiple-sensor systems offer best protection

The H2O SOS and other quality leak detection systems use multiple water sensors placed throughout the house in areas where leaks are most likely to occur, such as refrigerator ice makers, dishwashers, under sinks, under toilet tanks, clothes washing machines, hot water heaters, and near basement floor drains. If a leak is detected in any of these areas, the sensor sends a signal to a shut-off valve on the main water supply to the home and the water supply is stopped. Proper placement of sensors becomes the most important factor in ensuring an effective system, and this is easily accomplished. Both hardwired and wireless options are available for ease of installation. In our opinion, an active leak detection system with individual water leak sensors specifically monitoring all leak-prone areas in the home is the best and most cost-effective approach to home water leak detection. More specifically, we have not found a better leak detection product on the market than the H2O SOS.

We began our search for an effective leak detector after hearing countless stories from homeowners recounting the devastating effects of hot water heater tank leaks in their homes. In 2004, after one of our shareholders experienced tens of thousands of dollars in damage due to a cracked toilet tank when he was at work, we knew we had to find a cost-effective solution to help our customers protect their homes and businesses. Please read on to learn more about the H2O SOS system. We are confident you will agree that it is simply the best home leak detection technology and value available on the market today.