Frozen pipes, overflowing toilets or flooding can be the stuff of nightmares. Anyone who has cleaned up after a washing machine hose has split can relate to the amount of damage water can do within minutes, from destroying furniture and personal effects to warping floors and soaking carpet.

Even a slow leak in the basement left undetected can contribute to issues such as mould and mildew.

Many homeowners install smart water-leak detectors in multiple areas that might be prone to water damage, such as the space surrounding your hot-water tank or in the laundry room. 

These compact electronic devices look similar to smart smoke detectors and operate in much the same way. They use sensors to detect leaks or high levels of humidity, essentially identifying the presence of water where it shouldn’t be, whether pooling around your washing machine or seeping down the wall. 

Many smart-leak detectors such as the Lyric™ Wi-Fi Leak & Freeze Detector by Honeywell simply connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network, while others are compatible with an existing hub, such as Wink or Apple’s HomeKit. 

The added benefit of these systems is they can integrate with apps to automatically shut off the water valves in the event of an alert.

Dripping faucets or running water make distinctive noises. The sensors in smart-leak detectors pick up these sound waves and transmit information on where the water is leaking. The detectors sound an internal siren and send alerts to your smartphone. 

Some devices can be programmed to notify you when the temperature or humidity exceeds or drops below a specific range.

Water-leak detectors are simple to install. They come with water-sensing cables that can be mounted to the wall or draped along the floor. Some devices must be plugged into an AC outlet, but battery-operated detectors are most convenient and notify you when the battery is running low.