Water Leak Detection 101: Implementing Early Warning Systems in Your Home

Many Americans use water continually throughout the day, whether taking a shower, flushing the toilet, starting the dishwasher or watering the flowers. Homes in the U.S. have water distributed throughout most of the interior and some of the exterior areas of the property. All along this “water network” are vulnerabilities to leaks, which may potentially result in more adverse consequences.

We will explain why prompt water leak detection is critical for homeowners and explore how to find a water leak using some of the best technology.

Importance of Early Leak Detection

Minimizing the Extent of the Damage

Detecting a water leak shortly after it begins is vital because water damage can worsen quickly and the costs of remediating the problem escalate. Leaks may occur in parts of the home that are not accessible or visible, such as inside walls, which increases the likelihood of the problem remaining unnoticed. In these instances, water will inevitably run or drip into areas in the floors below and damage ceilings and structural components.

The amount of water your home might lose from leaks may reach 10,000 gallons annually. Multiply these losses per household throughout the world, and we may waste a staggering 1 trillion gallons. 

A recent report from HomeGuide contained estimates of some of the most common repair costs for homeowners who experience water damage, expressed as the average cost per square foot. For example, the replacement of water-damaged carpeting typically ranges from $2 to $8 per square foot, hardwood flooring replacement begins at roughly $7 per square foot and mold remediation services often range from $15 to $30 per square foot.

Health Risks

The growth of mold and mildew is common if materials such as wood, drywall or ceiling tiles within your home are exposed to water. Tiny mold spores may enter the air and generate harmful allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Leaking water may also make contact with electrical wiring in your home and potentially pose fire risks.

Utility Costs

An additional financial concern is that leaks will likely drive up your monthly water (utility) bills.

Environmental Harm

Many people are unaware that a causal relationship exists between water leaks and harm to our ecosystem. A great deal of energy is expended when water is pumped, heated, treated, etc. When water is wasted through leaks, more energy is needed to meet the demand; therefore, more carbon emissions are generated, which contributes to climate change.

Understanding Flume Water’s Leak Detection Technology

The Flume Smart Home Water Monitor system was created in response to concerns about how to detect water leaks more proactively. Some of the key features of this technology include:

  • The system is monitored and managed, and all notifications are received through your smartphone using an app.
  • The Flume Water Sensor is easily attached to your home’s water meter, and all data is transmitted through a Flume Bridge device via RF (radio frequency), which connects to your home’s WiFi network.
  • Monitoring and leak detection activity continues 24/7.
  • Both indoor and outdoor components of your water system are monitored.
  • Patented technology interprets your water meter’s magnetic field.
  • The tremendously sensitive water leak detection system utilizes machine learning and can detect a slow drip that equates to one-hundredth of a gallon.
  • The system is surprisingly affordable, and the DIY installation and setup are fast and easy.

Installation and Setup

The do-it-yourself (DIY) installation and setup process requires no plumbing work and the Flume app provides some step-by-step guidance. The Flume app can be downloaded from either the Apple store or Google Play. You’ll receive a verification code via text to complete the sign-up process.

To get started, the app will have you name the location for reference i.e. “Home” or “Vacation Home.” The app will ask you to select any indoor and outdoor appliances that exist and the typical number of occupants living in your home.

The two physical devices associated with the system are the Flume Bridge, which connects to your home’s WiFi network, and the Flume Water Sensor. Each device can either be added by using the camera on your smartphone to scan the QR code or by manually entering the code.

Next, you will position the Bridge and plug it into an outlet. Try to choose a location in proximity to the location of your home’s main water meter and your network router. In many cases, positioning the Bridge on the second floor (if applicable) allows for the best connection.

A blue light on the Bridge indicates that the device has power. Some Android versions will immediately link your Bridge to your WiFi network, or the app will prompt you to open the “Settings” on your smartphone and add (select) the Bridge. Position the Flume Water Sensor near the Bridge and open the app to initiate a connection between the two devices.

Next, you will locate your home’s water meter to take a picture of the meter’s face at close range and choose the “Upload” option. Using the rubber straps (included), you will position the Water Sensor “snugly” around the side of the water meter.

Finally, you will turn on a faucet or hose to create a stream of water. Within a couple of minutes, the app will prompt you to choose “Continue” to complete the calibration process. Next, you will open the app and use the Flume Dashboard to monitor relevant information such as your daily water use and water flow rate and establish daily or weekly “budgets.”

Keep in mind that you can chat or email the Flume support team with questions or problems during the setup process.

How to Find Water Leaks

When properly installed and configured, the Flume Smart Home Water Monitor is an excellent solution for property owners who are struggling to determine how to check for water leaks on their properties in real time. The Flume Smart Leak Alert will generate a Usage Alert if the water runs continuously for two hours (default) or may be adjusted in the app settings.

The system will generally detect leaks or running toilets and create a Usage Alert. These settings are customizable, i.e., usage alerts occur when water flow rates exceed 10 gallons per minute. After receiving a Usage Alert, you can quickly respond to determine the source.