Updated for 2018
It’s happened several times to me, in several homes – the dreaded water leak. It’s one of the most common plumbing emergencies. I’ve had to repair the wall and flooring behind a water heater that burst at the seams, and had cabinet and flooring damage following a slower, but possibly more insidious kitchen pipe leak.
Aside from the obvious damage to your own dwelling, furnishings and possessions, there also may be liability concerns as well for those in condominiums and town homes. Just recently, a relative of mine who owns a condominium suffered through the arduous repair process and insurance finger-pointing after a neighbor’s water heater burst while he was away. It can be the same with any type of leak, whether it’s inside someone’s property or even a slab leak detection.
Go for the smart one
Fortunately today, water leak detection sensors are relatively inexpensive and simple to install. While you can find low-cost water and moisture sensor devices that simply sound audible alerts, there are more effective water sensing devices that can notify you of any issues regardless of where in the world you happen to be at the time. Not only can these devices give you added peace of mind and help avoid costly repairs, but your insurance company may even offer discounts or credits for installing them. As a minimum, install water sensors at your water heater and under your kitchen sink for the best bang for the buck protection.
The key to keeping these connected water leak, flood and moisture sensors simple and affordable is through a smart home automation controller, or hub that allows you to monitor, control, and receive status notifications – all from your mobile phone.
There are quite a few hubs on the market to choose from, and several of the best can be purchased for under $100. While no hub is perfect, an overall good choice for many, the Samsung SmartThings Hub does not have costly subscription fees or expensive extras. For more details on this device, see the Darwin’s Den SmartThing Hub Review. Once you have the hub, additional less intelligent (and therefore less expensive) peripheral devices such as smart smoke alarms, switches, and energy monitoring devices can be added over time.
Z-Wave Flood Sensor Comparison Table
The following table summarizes features of other popular Z-Wave water leak/flood detection devices. This table will continue to receive updates as data becomes available and new products are released.
This table includes battery life information as provided by the manufacturer. Your mileage may vary…. The information on the sensors in this table is based on my research and/or testing and reader feedback. There may be discrepancies with the actual products. Please let me know of any errors or omissions. Suggestions on additional products or comparison features are always appreciated.
|touch/drag right side of table to scroll on mobile display|
|Make / Model|
|Sensor cord length|
|Built-in audible alarm|
|Hard-wired power option|
|Everspring Water/Flood Sensor – ST812||Aeon Labs Aeotec Water Sensor – DSB45-ZWUS||Fibaro Flood Sensor – FGFS-101||HomeSeer HS-LS100+ Z-Wave Plus Leak Sensor||Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Plus Water Sensor 6||FortrezZ Water & Temperature Sensor – WWA-01AA|
|Out of stock||Out of stock||$34.95||$27.95||$54.99||$47.99|
|–||–||–||Includes optional wired probe||–||–|
|Z-Wave||Z-Wave||Z-Wave||Z-Wave (Plus)||Z-Wave (Plus)||Z-Wave|
|3.5 x 3.5 x 1.5||3.1 x 1.3 x 0.8||2.8 x 2.8 x 1.1||2.5 x 2.5 x 1||4.2 x 2.4 x 1.3||3 x 2.1 x 1.1|
|10 feet||3 feet||optional – not included||unknown||3.3 feet (optional $$)||–|
|3 AA (included)||2AA||1 CR123A (included)||1 ER14250 (included)||1 CR123A (included)||2AA|
|2+ year||1 year||2.5 years||1+ year||2.5 year||1-2 years|
|–||Extra $$ for sensor wire/wall powered option|
1. Unverified. Battery life will vary based on sensor activity frequency.
The best Z-Wave leak sensor?
The Everspring Z-Wave flood sensor has been my top pick in this category for nearly 3 years running, due to its reliability, solid build, audible alert capability, long corded sensor, reasonable price, and suitability for both indoor and outdoor use. Its 3 AAA batteries ensure that you won’t need to continually be replacing batteries on this device, which could mean the difference between having a working sensor or not while you are away. In addition to its Z-Wave interface, the Everspring flood sensor also provides a built-in 60dB audible alert. It’s not overly loud and may be difficult to hear from the garage or other remote location, but it is comforting to know that there is an additional means to receive leak notifications other than your smart home hub.
Our Everspring sensor has worked well for over two years, and triggers alerts every time we test it. Our batteries so far have lasted over two years as well, and levels have remained near 100%. For a few dollars less, Lowes carries the equivalent Utilitech branded version of the Everspring sensor.
The newly released Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Plus Water Sensor 6 is an impressive device on paper with nearly every feature you could want in a leak sensor including: 1) audible alarm 2) option for multiple sensor wires 3) optional mains/hardwired power option 4) Z-Wave Plus. It can be quite expensive however to get everything you ask for. At its current price of $60 for the sensor and $28 for the optional dock (which includes the mains power expansion, and sensor wire kit), it is nearly 3 times the price of several of the alternatives. It’s a little too new to properly assess its reliability and performance at this point, but we’ll be keeping an eye out for price reductions and feedback on reliability.
The new top contender?
The Dome Z-Wave Plus Water Leak Sensor is relatively new to the market, but is quickly becoming a favorite due to it’s low price, Z-Wave Plus radio, and flexibility with its included remote probe and built-in buzzer. I have one on order for evaluation. If everything works as expected, this may become my top recommended leak sensor given its Z-Wave plus radio advantage over the Everspring device.
Updated for 2018 Originally Published: 6 February 2016
Reference these related DarwinsDen.com Feature Comparison Tables: