Flood or water alarms/detectors are electronic devices that detect the presence of water and set off an alarm when its sensors are triggered. They come in different shapes and sizes and with a wide range of features. They can have wifi capabilities, smart home integration, phone or email alerts, and temperature sensors.
Flood alarms come in two categories, spot detectors, and area detectors. Spot detectors have sensors that require moisture or water to come in contact with the device for the alarm to activate.
Area detectors, on the other hand, use sensor wires to detect floods. They usually include long cables and even allow extensions for multiple sensor wires. They typically cost more than the spot detectors, but the upside is that they have a more extensive area coverage.
What are the Flood Alarms Used for?
A flood alarm detects water leaks and overflows in places where such a situation could go unnoticed for a period of time, so action can be taken early to prevent further damage to the property.
It can be used anywhere where there is a risk of flooding, or water is predominantly present. Such places include wet rooms with water heaters, bathtubs, washing machines, sump pumps, toilets, dishwashers, and water pipes.
How Do Flood Alarms Work?
Flood alarms contain specific electrical or electronic circuits composed of sensors and alarms. They are designed in a way that when water comes in contact with a single or multiple sensors; the electrical circuit becomes complete, thus, activating the alarm which then creates an audible sound.
The technology today allows the alarm to come in other forms than sound. This includes a blinking light, email notification, and/or text message to your phone. They can be integrated into smart home platforms which have various features.
Active or Passive Flood Alarms- Which Ones are Better?
Flood alarms come in 2 types, active and passive alarms.
Active alarms are integrated into the water system itself such as water pipes and water pumps. When the sensor is triggered, not only does the signal activate a sound, but it also shuts off the water supply to the water system.
Passive alarms, on the other hand, are placed close to appliances, equipment, or in certain areas of the house that have a higher risk of flooding. They contain flooding sensors which are sensitive to water contact. Once the sensors get wet, a signal is sent to the alarm system which emits the alarm sound.
The downside to this type of alarm is that you will have to manually close the water system, and turn off the alarm yourself. Many passive alarms run on a battery which needs to be checked regularly for them to be functional at all times.
What are the Advantages of Water Alarms?
Floods can be caused by a variety of natural disasters such as heavy rains and flash floods. They can also be caused by manmade incidents such as plumbing issues, damaged appliances, and pipes bursting.
All of these situations can occur at any time, and without warning which means appropriate preparation is needed. Having such a device is like an insurance policy that gives you peace of mind and an advanced notice in case something goes wrong with the water supply in your house. It can also save you a great deal of money as the leaking pipes that go unnoticed for a long time will increase the cost of repair work.
Some rooms like bathrooms, toilets, and laundry rooms are naturally humid and moist. When you add a leaking pipe or flooding underneath the sink of floorboards, this can cause mold and mildew to develop, causing damage to the floor, walls, and other parts of the room. A passive water alarm can help detect the leaks and rising water levels in the room, and warn the owners before the issue becomes serious.
1. Wifi Water Detector with Buzzer and Email/Text Alerts
This wireless water detector comes with a wifi water sensor and a 5ft sensor cable which detects presence of water in any location, any floor or surface, and notifies you of the situation through email or a text message.
The user interface makes it easy to set up for someone who has limited knowledge of computers or the internet. Plus, you don’t need to install an app. It just runs in your webs browser and it will work perfectly with any device.
Additionally, this product does not restrict you to a single email account. You can add multiple emails or contacts if you wish. Its wifi capability provides connectivity to your home or office network with no hub or gateway required. The sensors on this alarm combine audibles with text or email notifications. The audible alert can be programmed in three ways:
- Trigger normally, keep beeping
- Trigger normally, snooze after a set time period, and
- Turned OFF.
You can always change these settings any time through your phone or computer.
The device measures 3.5 x 3.5 x 1 inches and weighs 1.44 ounces and has built-in power module plugs which go directly into the wall outlet while the sensor lays on the floor.
If you want an excellent product with better customer service, then you might want to check out this product.
- Easy to set up with clear instructions
- No batteries needed
- Can be used with multiple email accounts
- Sends a warning when the device has not reported for a while
- Sends a notification when there is power loss
- Household power needed to operate
- Household wifi needed to be fully active
- Uses an intermediary source (Proteus cloud server)
- Compatibility issue between the wifi device and a some routers have been reported
2. Smartika SIGNAL Wireless Water Leak Sensor Detector
This is a state-of-the-art and energy-efficient wireless water leak sensor detector that will detect leaks, and send a notification either to your smartphone (through Smartika app), or alert you by emitting a loud sound. You can see the price and more product reviews here.
With no wires and a simple installation procedure, this can be conveniently placed in areas close to potential water leaks like under the sink or close to plumbing. You can also place it near washing machines, dryers and refrigerators.
This water detector contains some interesting features such as lighting, climate control, and security features. Installation and pairing is also relatively easy with this device- all you need to do is just to press a button. When you pair your smart home devices with the Smartika hub and a router; the remote functionalities such as dimming, geofencing and automation will become available. No pairing code is necessary.
This detector has matte finish, it weighs seven ounces, measures 3.4 x 3.4 x 1.1 inches, and runs on two 1.5-volt alkaline AA batteries.
- Modern style
- Easy installation and pairing
- Uses cutting edge technology
- Has remote functionalities or features
- Options to use the hub or not
- Uses rapid pairing technology
- Sound is loud enough to be heard
- Batteries needed
- Smartika hub needed to get phone notifications
- Need to wipe dry the metal contacts to stop the alarm
LeakSMART has more than an 85-year experience in the plumbing industry and they claim to have one of the most intelligent water leak prevention systems on the market today. With the latest and improved 2nd generation water leak detection technology, this device detects and shuts down the main water supply in just five seconds or less preventing potentially extensive water damage. If you check with your insurance company you may even get a better quote if you say that you have leakSMART installed. It also works with NEST smart home system.
When you have the leakSMART app installed on your phone, it sends a instant notification when a leak is detected, which allows you to remotely turn off the main water system. You should be able to turn the water back on remotely as well, in case it is a false alarm. How it works is that the electronic motorized brass valve is connected to the main water line so it can cut off the water supply on demand.
You should place the sensor near the risky areas, on the floor (household appliances, water heaters, sinks, or water pipes). Another good feature leakSMART has that it monitors the room temperature as well. This can be especially useful if you live in colder areas and have the risk of frozen pipes that could burst. In addition, the Nest system integration allows integration with smart home devices or platforms. The product is small, but not tiny (1.5 x 3.2 x 6.7 inches), it weighs 4 ounces, and requires 3 Alkaline AAA batteries. Check the reviews and product details here.
- Latest 2nd generation technology
- Instant phone notification
- Shut-off valve is responsive to remote commands
- Integrates with major smart home platforms
- Can remotely shut off the main water line
- Easy leakSmart app installation and usage
- Can connect to a range extender
- It uses Nest smart home system
- Potential hub issues
- Potential offline sensor problems
- Batteries required
4. Samsung SmartThings Water Leak Sensor
This water leak sensor is part of Samsung smart home product range or like they call it SmartThings technology. The essential component of this water leak detection system is the SmartThings hub (which you need to buy separately). The hub is the main unit which connects to a variety of devices such as lights, speakers, locks, thermostats, and sensors (including the water leak sensors) you may have in your home. You do need to check first that your other smart home devices are SmartThings compatible though.
The system is able to detect water leaks at home, but only when they are linked to the sensor. It monitors moisture and will send a phone alert when a leak occurs. Alternatively you can choose to activate a light or a siren (separate item) if you wish. It also monitors temperature like leakSMART.
Like other water detectors, you need to place it close to appliances or water fixtures like washing machines, water heaters, sump pumps, sinks, dishwashers, or pipe drains to keep an eye out for water outflow.
It comes in only one color which is white, weighs about 1.6 ounces and measures 2.3 x 1.5 x 0.9 inches. You also need a 1 Lithium Manganese Dioxide CR123A battery which lasts for about 17520 hours, but the good news is that it is included in the package.
- Good design
- Small and convenient
- Easy setup
- Works with the SmartThings smart home system
- You can have unlimited number of sensors supported by a single hub
- Wireless range is good
- Sends notifications to your phone
- Sets up on multiple phones
- Temperature monitoring
- Long battery life
- Compatibility issues with other smart home platforms
- Not waterproof
- Battery type is not readily available
- Battery power notification is not always accurate
- Does not emit a sound (need to purchase a siren separately)
- Potential sensor/alert issues
- Potential connection concerns
If you’re looking for Apple HomeKit compatibility, then you could go for the FIBARO HomeKit Flood Sensor. This battery-operated, wireless sensor detects water leaks as well as monitors changes in temperature like most other smart flood sensors. As the device uses Apple HomeKit technology, you can even control it using Siri. With the Siri voice-control system, you can ask Siri on the status of the device, if there is a leak in your home, or ask about the temperature surrounding the water sensor. Now do keep in mind that you should only do this if you live together with the person you care for, otherwise Siri ( or Alexa or any other virtual assitant) can be really confusing for dementia sufferer and it not recommended.
The whole sensor setup is fairly straightforward and you can do it via the Fibaro or the Apple Home App. You can also control this water leak detector away from home through Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch( minimum requirement for operating system is iOS 9.3). What I do like about this technology is that, the Homekit security system encrypts communication data between gadgets to ensure privacy and the telescoping feet feature guarantees surface contact to the water sensor making it more sensitive to water levels. On top of that, the built-in tamper alert informs you if it is moved to another location.
Because of its small size, it is easy to place the sensor in the key places where potential water leaks can happen. This gadget has a nice modern design, weighs 2.08 ounces, and measures 3.8 x 3.7 x 1.4 inches. It is battery-powered with 1 Lithium Metal CR123A battery.
- Equipped with a temperature sensor
- Compatible with Apple HomeKit Technology
- Siri voice control
- Security though data encryption
- Easy setup and user-friendly interface
- Homekit notification is quick
- Homekit integration/code and software issues
- No email and text message notification
- Only works with Apple HomeKit
- Siri may be confusing for dementia patients
If you’re interested in indie brands focused on designing and developing household products, then you might want to check out La Homieta’s WA08 water alarm and sensor. This battery-operated alarm boasts of having a battery-saving feature which helps prolong the battery life for up to 100 hours of continuous ringing (not sure if this has any real use in real life), and emits a warning sound as a reminder that battery is running low.
However what is great about this product that the dual sensors allow to detect water levels that are less than 1/32 of an inch, so you do not have to wait until the house is flooded up to your knees to hear the alarm.
And with an alarm sound ringing reaching 100 decibels, it is a surefire way that it can be heard throughout the entire house even if you have hearing aids. It also features a 6-feet inch wire for the sensor so that it can be positioned in hard to reach locations such as tight gaps and corners.
You can either put it in an upright position or mount it on a wall, and place the silver electrodes down on the surface. When a leak happens, water triggers the sensitive contact points and immediately creates a rising alarm. The sound will continue until the leak is found and the sensors are wiped dry.
This item weighs 3.04 ounces, and measures 3.9 x 1.3 x 2.4 inches. It requires a 9-volt 6F22 lithium metal battery for the power source with an operating temperature of 32°F to 122°F.
- Easy to setup/No assembly required
- Sensitive detection
- Includes a 6-feet inch wire for hard to reach areas
- Emits a 100-decibel sound
- Has a battery saver feature
- No text or email notification
- Tight battery compartment
- No remote access
- Main unit is not waterproof
7. First Alert WA100-3 Water Alarm for Leak Detection and Flood Alerts
With the First Alert WA100-3 Water Alarm, you won’t just get one water detector but three sensor units which can be placed six feet away from the main unit. The water sensors produce an 85-decibel sound, and are splash and water-resistant which significantly reduces the risk of water damage.
The water resistant feature makes this ideal for basements, garages, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and hot tubs. However, this product can also be placed in other water-prone places like near the sinks, toilets, washing machines, sump pumps, and water heaters. The sensors can be separated from the main unit and placed on the ground.
The main unit can be mounted on the wall away from the main water sources and the 6-feet wire allows the sensors to be positioned even in distant or hard to reach areas. Its loud 85-decibel alarm goes off when the sensor detects water, and the alarm could go on for up to 72 hours until it is turned off by drying off the contact points.
This product is battery-powered which requires one 9-volt battery for every water detector. It only operates with temperatures between 32 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is not really suitable for saunas. It weighs 1.1 pounds and measures 9 x 7.5 x 6.8 inches.
- Includes three water sensors
- Easy to setup
- Low price
- Sensitive to water
- Emits a loud 85-decibel sound
- Splash and water-resistant
- Includes 6-feet wires for each water sensor
- Easy to change batteries
- Good battery life
- No text or email notification
- No remote access
- No battery indicator
- Sensors are prone to move away from the original location
This product sounds an alarm when the sensor at the end of the wire strip comes in contact with water. To stop the alarm, the sensor must be removed from the water. The alarm comes with an 11-inch sensor strip; but you can order a longer strip if needed. You need screwdriver and 9v battery to install the product
- Loud alarm: The loud alarm, similar to a smoke alarm, makes it easier to hear from another room, depending on one’s hearing acuity.
- Easy-to-install: A screwdriver and a battery will be needed. As it has a flexible wire, you can install it inside the cabinet door. A battery comes with the flood alarm, but it may only last a few minutes (as our’s did while product testing), so have a back-up in case you need it.
- It is always on once the battery is installed.
- This product does not turn the water off.
- Sound may be too low for people with hearing aids
Persons with dementia may remove alarm. You may not hear the alarm if you are in the garage or basement.
If the person is home alone and the alarm sounds, he/she could panic if unable to remember how to turn the faucet or alarm off or sustain a fall, as floors are slippery when wet, especially when one is rushing.