While hurricanes and wildfires are prevalent in the news and social media, damage from non-weather events like plumbing and appliance failure account for more than 50% all of all homeowners insurance claims. These leaks are not only a threat to your home, but to your wallet as well.
While burglar and fire alarm systems are customary, few homeowners have installed a water leak detection system. Though statistics show that they are 12 times more likely to have a water leak than a fire or theft.
There are three types of leak-detection systems you can use in your home:
- Sensors near toilets, washing machines and other devices using water, that emit an audible alarm and an alert to your smartphone when water is detected.
- A system that monitors the water flow through the main water pipe which shuts off the water automatically when the flow exceeds specified levels.
- A system that turns off the main water shut-off valve when leaks are detected.
Most likely, your home equates to approximately 50% of your assets and is your sanctuary. In addition to installing a water leak detection system, Here are some steps you can take to avoid freezing pipes and accidental water discharge from water supply lines, appliances and
for fire suppression systems (interior sprinklers.)
If your home will be vacant for an extended period of time, winterize it:
- Turn off the water at the exterior, make sure the water supply is turned off at the main supply point
- Open all faucets and drain all water lines and toilets.
- Prevent water in a toilet’s trap from evaporating (possibly allowing sewer gases to enter the home) by raising the toilet lid and seat, wrap the bowl with saran wrap.
- Turn down the thermostat to a level adequate to keep the inside temperature of the home above freezing ( not less than 50 degrees)
- If you are able, ask or hire a caretaker to provide oversight while the home is unoccupied. Having someone stop by and check-in on your home is invaluable
Your home may be equipped with a fire suppression sprinkler system or turning off the water supply may not be an option. Even if your home isn’t vacant for an extended period, sprinkler systems can fail. Pipes can burst or fail during a one week vacation. Here are some statistics from Chubb regarding leaks:
- A pipe with a leak 1/32 inch wide – about the thickness of a dime – will produce 264 gallons/day. That is enough to fill an 8-foot-square room with 6” water.
- If you’ re gone for two weeks on vacation and your icemaker leaks at the rate of 1 drip per second, it will produce 115 gallons of water – enough to fill almost 1.5 bathtubs.
- If your toilet in your secondary home leaks for the 8 months of the year that the house is unoccupied at a rate of 10 drips per minute, it will produce 333 gallons of water, enough to run your dishwasher 40 times.
Please consult with your Risk Advisor to review the water defense options that are right for your home. In addition to preventing a loss, many insurance companies now offer additional premium savings for having a leak-detection system.
Joe Young is the Private Client Leader for Florida, he can be reached at email@example.com. Ted Karlunas is a Sr. Private Client Advisor based out of our New York and Radnor PA offices and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org