Flooding Alarms: More Than An Ounce of Prevention

When people think of flood damage, they commonly think of damage caused by torrential rains flooding neighborhoods.  While that is certainly a concern for many homeowners, there is another cause for flooding that nearly every homeowner needs to be prepared for.  That is flooding that is caused by malfunctioning appliances, especially water heaters.

Every year, thousands of people have to deal with the consequences of a broken appliance.  In addition to a huge mess, those consequences include water damage and the costs of repairs and cleaning.  In some cases, that damage runs into the thousands of dollars.  This is especially true if the flooding occurs when you are away from your home for an extended period of time, such as a vacation.

While insurance is good to have, there is something else you should invest in:  a flood sensor.  Flood sensors basically do exactly what their name suggests:  they detect flooding and notify you when one occurs.

Flood sensors come in two broad categories:  alarms and alarms plus water shutoff.  Alarms are the simplest and least expensive safety measure.  You can buy very simple stand-alone systems that function much like smoke detectors.  When they sense flooding, they trigger an audible alarm.  You can get one for under $15.

Of course, such a simple an inexpensive system is only effective if you are within hearing range of the alarm.  More complex systems will send messages to your mobile phone.  There are also systems that use a central panel that monitors multiple sensors—such as ones near water heaters, clothes washers, dishwashers, etc.

Another option becoming more commonly available is including flood sensors in your home security system.  If you are already paying a monitoring fee for home security (or will be), this may be the most cost-effective solution.

The other type of systems are those that will stop the flow of water when a sensor is triggered.  These systems are more expensive, but they have the added advantage of preventing excessive damage.  If the dishwasher overflows while you are home, you may notice it in time to turn it off and prevent much damage.  However, if your water heater or washing machine breaks and starts flooding while you are away for the weekend, then that could mean hundreds of gallons of water flooding your home.

Every day, homes are damaged by flooding brought on not by Mother Nature, but by defective appliances.  Flood sensors cannot stop the damage entirely, but they can notify you of an emergency and even turn off the water to minimize damage.  When it comes to stemming the tide of flood damage, every second matters.  Every second is money.

Considering how inexpensive they are, they make very good insurance investments.