Because Phoenix has such a mild climate, it’s easy to think that water damage to your home is a remote possibility. We may not have to worry much about frozen pipes, but it’s open season for all other kinds of plumbing leaks. Placing a leak detector near each plumbing fixture will prevent the significant damage that unchecked water can do.
Water is the universal solvent and inside your home it will:
- Crumble or rot drywall
- Warp wood, including subfloors
- Promote mold growth
- Ruin furniture, carpeting, and laminate flooring
- Destroy the adhesives that anchor ceramic tile to the floor
Fixtures and appliances like these can develop leaks at any time:
- Water heaters
- Washing machines
- Sinks and dishwashers
- Around toilets
- Inside the air handler
Why Each Fixture/Appliance Needs a Leak Detector
- Water heaters. Water heaters are often inside the garage or near the laundry room and most hold at least 40 gallons of water. These appliances give few signs of failure, and when a pipe or the tank springs a leak, the leak can cause severe flooding. The water could gush unrestricted from the appliance itself and the pipe that fills it.
- Washing machines. A clothes washer can leak from the tub and the fill and drain hoses. Like the water heater, it holds substantial amounts of water that could cause extensive damage if it goes unchecked.
- Beneath sinks and dishwashers. Much of your home’s plumbing is tucked inside the walls and hidden inside cabinets where it’s largely out of sight. When you do open cabinet doors beneath the bathroom and kitchen sinks, it might be to grab something quickly and shut the door. By the time you notice it, the damage may be severe and require a cabinet replacement or a complicated repair.
- Toilets. Besides leaking between the tank and the bowl, a toilet can leak at its base, creating a slow, damaging leak that can contaminate the subfloor and ceiling beneath it.
- Air conditioning systems. The air handler may not seem like a logical place to have a leak detector, but it could save you a good deal of discomfort and money if you place one nearby. When the air conditioner or heat pump runs, extremely cold refrigerant flows through an evaporator coil inside the air handler.If this coil is excessively dirty, the air filter clogged, or the system is low on refrigerant, the coil can freeze over. When it melts, the water could overwhelm the drain pan and flood the areas around the air handler.There’s always the chance that the drain line from the air handler to the outdoors will clog, which will cause the condensed water to flood the drain pan that sits just below the evaporator coil.
How Leak Detectors Work
A leak detector senses the presence of water and will sound an alarm. Many incorporate humidity sensors, as well. Some use plugs, while others use long-lasting batteries. High-tech models can send Wi-Fi alerts to your phone or computer so that you take action immediately regardless of where you are. They’re a practical device to have if you:
- Are away from home during the day.
- Have a two-story home with plumbing fixtures on the second floor.
- Have an indoor air handler for the A/C or heat pump.
- Go on vacations and need to leave the water on.
- Have a winter home in the Phoenix area.
Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning can help you choose and install the best leak detector to use inside your home to prevent costly water damage. We’ve provided trusted services for Phoenix homeowners for nearly 70 years.