Water Heaters: Should You Consider a Water Heater Leak Detector?

leaking water heater

Water Heaters: Should You Consider a Water Heater Leak Detector?

With the average water heater holding about fifty gallons, a leak in your tank can create a lot of damage.

And, depending on where your water heater is located and how long it is until the water is shut off to the tank, it could spread into several rooms – ruining carpets, damaging flooring, and even seeping into walls.

But what if there was a way to monitor the area around your water heater to detect pooling water?

And what if – after detecting water outside the tank – it could automatically shut off the water source to prevent compounding damage?

Water Heater Leak Detectors

A water heater leak detector is a system that alerts you to any water leaking out of your water heater.

How does a water heater leak detector work?

There is a moisture sensor that is set up to touch the floor next to your water heater. If water is detected outside your tank, the alarm will sound to alert you.

The sensors can be height-adjusted as well to accommodate your water heater location and setup. This may be useful in the situation where you sometimes have average moisture on the floor but only want to be alerted if it hits a higher level.

Where to place the water leak sensor

While the main unit of the system is relatively versatile and can be placed anywhere above the floor, the location of the water leak sensor is crucial to the function of the detector.

When deciding where exactly to place the sensor, consider these factors:

  • Where would leaking be likely to show up first? If the flooring is not perfectly level underneath the tank, it could influence the direction of a flow. You want to make sure the water will be detectable by the sensor and can not move around it.
  • Do you have a “normal” level of moisture on the floor that would trigger the alert unnecessarily? If so, you may not want to locate the sensor all the way to the floor but hover it slightly above.
  • Do you have a water heater pan underneath your tank? If so, you can dangle the sensor to a height that will alert you between the floor and the top of the pan.

What if you’re not home when the alert goes off?

In addition, many water heater leak detection systems also incorporate an automatic shut-off valve.

When an alarm is triggered, the water will be shut off to the water heater to prevent it from continuously flowing into your home. While it cannot stop the water that’s already in the tank from flooding out, it will limit the damage even if you’re not home.

Is a water heater leak detector right for me?

Now that you understand how the water heater leak detection system works, you’ll want to determine if it makes sense for your home.

Water heater location

If your water heater is located in the garage or somewhere where a leak may not do significant damage to your home, it can still be a great asset – especially if it has an automatic shut-off valve. If you’re not home when a leak occurs, you will not lose as much water, and the flow will be stopped until you can get it repaired or replaced.

If your water heater is located inside the house – like in a utility closet or basement – it can potentially save you thousands of dollars in damage to both your home and personal belongings.

Water heater age

Consider the age of your water heater. Newer water heaters have more modern parts and current technology compared to their older counterparts. While still susceptible to a leak, it’s less likely that the tank will be rusting, pitted, or just wearing out.

While water heaters have come a long way in terms of efficiency and safety, it’s worth considering safeguarding your home against a potential leak that goes undetected.

Have a question about your water heater or an alert system?

Contact the experts at Agentis. Our technicians are happy to help and can answer any questions.