Flooded? How to Prevent Water Damage with Leak Detection Systems

Written by
Home Controls
Published on
May 31, 2013 10:00:00 AM PDT May 31, 2013 10:00:00 AM PDTst, May 31, 2013 10:00:00 AM PDT

A few years ago, my mother came home from a vacation to find water pouring out of her front door. While she was gone, the pipes to her washer had burst and flooded the entire house. She had been gone for days, so the damage to her home and all her belongings was extensive. If something like this has ever happened to you, then you know how devastating a home flood or water damage can be. If this has not happened to you, then you should take every precaution to protect yourself. In this blog entry, I’ll show you some ways to prevent a home flood – both low tech and high tech solutions.

Property damage caused by aging and faulty plumbing is one of the most common home insurance claims. Some studies show water as the No. 1 most frequently filed insurance claim, while it is No. 2 in other reports. State Farm has an interactive map that shows America’s Most Common Claims in the Home, and their most recent data shows that water damage varies from state to state, but it is almost always in the top two.

Insurance helps ease the pain of repairs, but will not fully replace your valuable property or alleviate the hassle, anguish, and disruption associated with a devastating interior flood loss. Annually, more than 2,500,000 homeowners fall victim and the damages total billions of dollars in preventable losses. Yes, “preventable.”

Low Tech Solutions

The first signs of water damage might seem trivial: a drip here, a drop there – nothing that can’t be dried with a towel. But warnings like water stains on the ceilings or a leak under the kitchen sink can lead to real problems like a weakened roof or rotten floorboards. Once again, State Farm comes through with a great video on how to check your home for water leaks, and how to recognize the small signs of potentially big problems. The video is worth a quick watch.

High Tech Solutions

There are many tech detection solutions that notify you of a potentially dangerous water leak and even automatically stop the water flow, and Home Controls offers several. The option you choose depends on your needs, the type and size of your home, your personal choices and even your budget. We’ve broken them down into Good, Better and Best categories to help illustrate what’s available.


The most basic and simple solution to avoid a home flood is with a leak detection alert system. This is commonly known as a “Passive” leak detection. A basic system includes two simple parts: a water detection sensor and a main unit. You place the sensor anywhere you are worried about possible leaks, like a kitchen, bathroom, laundry room or hot water heater. When the sensor detects water, it notifies the main unit which then sounds a loud alarm or siren. Most of the passive leak detection systems are available as complete kits, either wired (meaning the alarm is connected to the sensor) or wireless (meaning the sensor communicates with the alarm through wireless technology, so you can place the alarm in a different location in your home).

Home Controls offers two wireless versions with the Household Alert system from Skylink. The standard version is ideal for small to medium-sized homes with a wireless range of 300 feet, and you can add up to 4 sensors to monitor different locations with the same device. The Skylink long-range version is more suited for medium to large homes with a wireless range of 800 feet, and supports up to 16 sensors. The best feature: both starter kits start at less than $30 each!

Long-Range House Alert Water Alert Set:


The advantages to these systems are they are easy to install, simple to use, and are the most inexpensive of the three options. The disadvantage is you need to be home to hear the alarm. If you are interested in remote alerts, then continue reading.


While still considered a “Passive” leak detector, the WaterBug system from Winland Electronics has the ability to offer additional alerts – including calling someone if you are not home. Because of this added feature, WaterBug is very popular and is one of the best selling products at Home Controls.

WaterBug works very similar to the Skylink Household Alert – water detection sensors send alerts to a main unit. However, instead of being stand-along kits, these systems are connected to your home’s security system. From there, you (or your security professional) can program your security system to react in a number of ways: sounding an alarm and flashing lights to alert you if you are home, or calling you (or a monitoring station, if your system supports it) to notify you of trouble when you are not home.

The WaterBug comes in two systems as well: wired and wireless. Each system supports up to six sensors and you can pick different sensor styles, including the standard surface sensors or an under-carpet sensor.

WaterBug 200 Kit (Wired):


WaterBug 350 (Wireless):


A WaterBug system can easily be installed for less than $100. Since it requires a security system, however, you might need some moderate to advanced integration skills or the help from an installer.


Known as an “Active” leak detection system, the DynaQuip WaterCop goes one step beyond a “Passive” system and automatically shuts off the main water supply to your home at the first sign of a leak. This is the ultimate in home flood protection. Day or night, home or away – it will be there for you.

The WaterCop automatic shutoff valve is installed on the main water line near the existing manual shut-off valve. WaterCop flood sensors install near water using appliances and in rooms where running water is present. When leaking water comes in contact with any of the sensors, a wireless signal is immediately broadcast to the WaterCop main valve causing the valve to close. Water flow is quickly cut off to all areas of the home and any continuous flooding is stopped.

The WaterCop is completely wireless. Since the system connects to your main water line, you need to order your WaterCop to fit your pipe fitting size.

WaterCop Flood Prevention Kits:

1-1/4″ Pipe: www.homecontrols.com/WaterCop-Flood-Prevention-Kit-DQWCKIT4

1″ Pipe: www.homecontrols.com/WaterCop-Flood-Prevention-Kit-DQWCKIT3

3/4″ Pipe: www.homecontrols.com/WaterCop-Flood-Prevention-Kit-DQWCKIT2

1/2″ Pipe: www.homecontrols.com/WaterCop-Flood-Prevention-Kit-DQWCKIT1

As the most advanced water detection and flood prevention system, it is also the most expensive. The price is not too high, however, and you can get a complete kit for just over $400. It is recommended that you work with a qualified plumber to install the WaterCop valve – you wouldn’t want to create a leak from improper installation!