Best way to protect against water leaks


Per the title, wondering what people here feel is the best way to protect yourself from a water leak. I know you can get water sensors and automated shutoff controls, but from what I’ve read this isn’t really a 100% solution - sometimes the sensors and/or valve fail. In which case, I’m kind of thinking, why bother? But maybe some protection is better than none? Anyway, given these aren’t 100% solutions, what if anything can you do to cover the gap? I suppose you could have full redundancy - multiple sensors in critical areas, two shut-off controllers instead of one. A friend suggested putting in a camera or two to monitor critical places. Any other ideas?


A notification is better than none. An auto (or manually controlled electronic) shut off valve is better than just a notification. I only have the first one, when I get power close to the shut off valve I wouldn’t think twice about getting one of those Dome or similar devices.


Yup, my shutoff valve is outside, in-ground, and the water main runs into the slab foundation :angry:

But I use a WaterCop valve on the cold-water side of the water heater … was thinking of using one on the hot-water side too, but they’re only rated for cold-water applications … might try it anyway :slight_smile:


This thread just got me started thinking about having an outlet put in the location close to the valve… thinking something like this, why stop at 1 outlet! lol



Sure, something is better than nothing, but I am hoping there is a 100% solution. Maybe that’s too much to ask, and maybe I’m thinking of this wrong? If I’m going to be out of the house for a week shutting off the water at the main is really the only guaranteed fix, and easy and fast w/no downside I’m aware of. So maybe the sensors are really for when you are home every day, but may be out for multiple hours. Even then a leak can do a lot of damage quick.


What if you have grass/plants/trees/etc. that needs watering? :wink:


Failure of any of the components or infrastructure is certainly possible, but honestly not very often. I’ve got (5) SmartThings Leak Sensors and a Dome Water Shut Off Valve running through SmartThings and WebCoRE. If any of the sensors senses moisture, it shuts of the main water supply to the house and notifies my wife and I via Notification and SMS. I physically test the system each week by finger-wetting a different sensor. It has not failed at all (yet).

I look at it this way. Even though a failure could certainly happen for several reasons, if I never put the sensors and shutoff in place, I’d never have an auto-shutoff or warning - ever. The failure rate for me so far has been zero. To my mind, I’m much better off with this in place.


Agreed, sensors + shutoff + SmartThings is a big improvement over options in the past, which were basically paying a neighborhood kid to check on the house every day or two. I guess the bottom line is some improved monitoring is better than no monitoring. But shutting off the water seems to be the best solution for an extended absense.


I’m leaving for a 23 day vacation soon and will be having a neighbor water our plants while we’re away. I suppose I could tell her how to turn the main water valve off and on to get water, or I guess I could put enough water out so she wouldn’t need to do that, but having a reliable system watch over things seems to me to be a better option.

Also, it’s not just about long absences. The only water leakage problems I’ve ever had prior to getting the current system in place were when I was home. One overflowing basement bathroom extraction pump tank (GFI had tripped without me knowing it), one leaking water heater, and one burst washing machine supply hose - each still allowed significant water leakage before I could get to the main valve to turn it off. I’m retired now but, like everyone else, we used to work every day. Every work day for 50 years is a lot of time and a lot of potential damage.

Anyway, to each their own. But for me, I feel much better with the current automated system versus not having any. To me (and my wife), having this in place is one of the better reasons for having a SmartThings system.


Agreed, it’s not just about the long absence, but at least when I’m at home every night I would catch something before the entire house filled up. I will definitely be investing in some sensors at some point, should probably move it up on the priority list given how often I’m not home. But for an extended absence the less than 100% reliability of the smart stuff makes me nervous. I will probably turn the water off, which is a bit of a hassle but will give me peace of mind.


Water damage was my first focus; it seemed like an easy way to justify the cost and effort of getting started with SmartThings since even one water damage incident could be extremely costly. Perhaps some ideas for you here:

I live in a rural area with a well pump. Water enters from the pump into a pressure tank, then passes through a ball valve on the way to filters and water softener. I use an EcoNet Z-Wave external mount ball valve shutoff to cut water to the house as a first line of defense when a leak is detected. No plumbing required so it’s easy to swap if it dies. I run a weekly piston to briefly toggle the valve to keep it from sticking.

Washing machine and dishwasher are behind Z-Wave plugs that turn off when water is detected. That is not guaranteed to help anything but there are enough situations where cutting power to the appliance would stop or slow a leak. The washing machine has an overflow tray plumbed into a sink drain on the floor below to mitigate damage with one water sensor in the tray and another in the drain/supply box at the wall.

Sump pump and septic lift pump have float switches connected to cheap door/window sensors that have terminal blocks for continuity in addition to magnetic trigger. Run hookup wire from the contact sensor to the float switch as an early alarm if the pump is not working. The door sensors are subject to false positives so I use two and ignore when only one has triggered.

I am about a year and a half behind my ideas and purchases on actually integrating new automations but additional plans include an energy monitor on the well pump circuit to detect excessive water use (also useful if I leave the garden soaker running all day) and possibly a relay on the well pump to allow it to be shut off in case something goes awry upstream from the ball valve.


This company has started shipping these devices. It is supposed to measure water movement from the outside of the pipes. They do give access to the API, but there’s no direct integrate with ST.