August 26, 2019

Smart Home Leak and Flood Protection: A Hidden Opportunity for HVAC Specialists

Ask any homeowner who’s gone through a major flood or water leak in their home and they’ll likely tell the same horror story: In addition to the high cost of repairs and cleanup, insurance deductibles skyrocket after water damage claims.

Fortunately, there are smart products aimed, not only at warning of leaks but actually stopping them and protecting customers’ homes. The features on these products vary by device, but basically, when a leak is detected the water supply is either shut off, or a push notification is sent to the homeowner informing them that a leak may be occurring.

Of course, installing these products presents a value-added service and up-sell opportunity for plumbers, and it turns out for HVAC technicians and installers as well.

This is because HVAC equipment like furnaces and central air conditioning are often installed adjacent to the water tank in a home, and leaks can affect ductwork as well. Water alarm systems should also be on the radar of HVAC specialists who specialize in things like hydronic heating systems.

Simple and low-cost water sensor solutions

The easiest way to add leak or flood protection to a home is with smart water sensors. These Wi-Fi connected devices install in minutes and require no cutting, soldering, or plumbing expertise whatsoever.

They function very simply: You place the sensor on the floor in high-risk areas, such as near a water tank, underneath a sink, or behind a washing machine. If the sensor gets wet or even detects an unusual amount of moisture, it will send an instant alert via text or email to the homeowner. Some water sensors even include an alarm that will ring inside the home.

Many of these smart water sensors also include dedicated smartphone apps, that can monitor and control sensors remotely. All in all, they’re not the most robust solutions to protect against major leaks and floods, but they’re certainly better than nothing.

Advanced water shutoff solutions

Sensors are a great low-cost option, but they’ll only alert you once a leak is detected and won’t actively stop the leak. That’s where water alarm shutoffs spring to center stage.

These devices require some plumbing expertise to install and they’re significantly more expensive than a smart water sensor, but they’re much stronger and will actively stop a leak once it’s detected.

Most commonly, these alarms are installed on the main water line where it enters the home. The alarm continuously monitors water pressure and flow rate, and can detect when something abnormal happens—typically a leak. When a leak is suspected by the system, the alarm shuts the water off and alerts the homeowner, preventing further damage until the problem can be properly investigated.

Win-win for homeowners and installers

With sensors or alarms in place, homeowners not only enjoy more peace of mind, they may even be eligible for discounts from their insurance provider as well.

Whether a homeowner chooses a low-cost water sensor or more advanced water alarm shutoff, these solutions are a great way for HVAC technicians to offer some value-added expertise and services alongside the standard services and products they consult with their clients on regularly.

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