Cover Image for Prevent Water Damage With Early Leak Detection

Prevent Water Damage With Early Leak Detection

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6 minutes
William Hogan
William Hogan

Water is one of the most common causes of property damage, so it pays to be well prepared. As building owners and operators can attest, undetected leaks are costly to your property and your bottom line. And if a leak turns into a flood, you could lose more than just your shirt, but the business of your current and future occupants.

Fortunately, smart building technology affords us preventative maintenance, and one very important aspect of that is leak detection. Most of all, leak detectors will help you save money and protect your investment, as well as shield your residents and guests from the dangers of water damage. 

Don’t Water Down Your Asset

Obviously, avoiding a $12,000 leak remediation expense is something that all asset owners would appreciate. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, undetected leaks can cost up to $1,000 a day. In most multifamily communities, that’s at least half a unit’s entire rent for the month. Let’s say a resident goes out on a month-long trip and neglects to tell the Building Staff about the running toilet because it’s not going to be their problem anytime soon. That seemingly minor mental lapse could account for more than 21,000 gallons over the course of that month if unaddressed. 

Speaking of wasted water, leaky pipes lose six billion gallons of clean water daily in the US alone. That’s not a figure you want your property to be associated with for reasons outside of monetary loss. This brings us to other, less obvious effects leaks can have on the community of any given asset. The presence of water on and in places it shouldn’t be for extended periods of time leads to the growth of mildew and mold within 24-48 hours of water exposure. And it only keeps growing until it’s eliminated, which can be quite the undertaking if it seeps into carpets, drywall, and other hard-to-reach places.

Outside of the unpleasant smell and material damage, ingesting black mold spores on a regular basis can lead to dangerous health symptoms. There’s also the physical hazards of flooding and excess water in common areas of your building. What if an occupant or a staff member slips and suffers a serious injury? Hey, it happens. And if it does, the owners will be the ones paying the medical bills and more. Suffice to say, standing water can really put a stain on your property in a myriad of ways. 

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As many of you know, a leak could come from any one of the following utilities: a failing water heater, a burst pipe, a broken supply line under the sink, a clogged toilet, or even a split hose connected to the washing machine. So, when it comes to detecting leaks and monitoring water flow on a property-wide scale, there are two areas of coverage to target: large leak risk aversion and individual unit leak detection. 

In order to arrive at an effective smart leak detection solution, owners and investors first have to identify where their bigger area of risk lies. Is it a central utility room or is it within individual units? If you’re in the hospitality industry then it’s most likely the former because guest rooms typically don’t have washing machines and as many water-based appliances as most modern multifamily units do. Therefore, they’re best served placing leak detection equipment in the facility’s laundry room, for instance, because if a leak leads to a flood down there, then it’ll lead to a ripple effect that disrupts the daily functions and in turn the guest experience.

This is to say that your maintenance team will be so busy mopping up the water, they won’t have the time to wash the sheets and turn the room. On the other hand, in multifamily communities leak detectors are more valuable if installed in individual units where there are increasingly more appliances dependent on water flow. Either way, Monnit offers a wide array of leak detection devices ideal for commercial and industrial use cases. 

Sound the Water Alarm!

There are technically two physical types of leak detectors: pucks and clamps. Pucks are placed on the floor under or near areas where water is flowing, like in laundry rooms, bathrooms, water heater closets, etc. Due to where they’re situated, they can only detect the presence of water on the floor. The good news is they’re highly sensitive and the sensor usually covers a lot of ground. They’re also affordable and very easy to use. All you have to do is turn them on, slide them into the targeted space, and you’ll be alerted to the slightest amount of excess water. In fact, some can detect usage down to the one-hundredth of a gallon—that’s enough to detect a dripping faucet.

Clamps are fastened around your water meter or the actual pipe(s), and can monitor water pressure, detecting abnormalities and tracking daily consumption. A great example of this type of detector is the Flume Smart Home Water Monitor. Complete with an app and wireless bridge, it takes under 10 minutes to install. Simply download the app, plug the Flume Bridge into a socket less than 1,000 feet away, connect to WiFi, and then secure the straps of the sensor around your water meter. Turn on the water and be alerted to leaks and irregular pressure via the app when home or away. 

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Now That You’ve Got Your Feet Wet...

So, we’ve established that installing some form of leak detection will help you avoid catastrophic water damage to mission-critical systems and property. We’ve also touched on other costly dangers sure to rear their ugly heads and derail your business as a result of excess water. Lastly, we’ve educated you on the areas you’ll want to target depending on the configuration of your asset as well as the two main types of detectors out there on the market. Now the next move is yours. 

But before we sign off we ask that you look at smart leak detection solutions more as a building amenity and less as a remediation tool. Occupants will undoubtedly appreciate and be comforted by the fact that they’re living or staying at a property that’s equipped with leak detection. On the flip side, you won’t lose the trust and business of occupants who happen to be there when water invades their space or disrupts their experience. For any other questions on leak detection or preventative maintenance in the MDU and hospitality arenas, don’t hesitate to reach out.  

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