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Water detectors

Water detectors can help protect your business against water damage - read on to find out how

Imagine that you go into your business premises one day, only to find it flooded. How would you fix it, and more importantly, how could you prevent it from happening in the first place?

Water detectors offer a simple, easy to use solution that can help protect your start-up from a burst water pipe, a flood, or another form of water damage.

But what is a water detector? Why does your business need one? How do they work? What’s the process for installing a water detector on your premises? We’ll provide the information you need to know about this key aspect of business security.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. What is a water detector?
  2. How do water detectors work?
  3. What are the benefits?
  4. Where to put water detectors
  5. How to install water detectors

Click on the links above to go straight to that particular section. Or, read the whole article from beginning to end for more detailed insight into water detectors.

Alternatively, to compare quotes for business security now, fill in the form at the top of the page.

What is a water detector?

Water detectors identify leaks from pipes and appliances.

Some types of water detectors may also be able to notice changes in temperature, humidity and frost – all factors that can also lead to water damage. This includes burst water pipes and leaky appliances, as well as monitoring bathrooms, showers and toilets for potential faults.

How do water detectors work?

Water detectors work by alerting you of a leak by an alarm. The sound is measured by the decibel number, which indicates how loud the sound will be – the higher the number, the louder the alarm. Some detectors may have a flashing light, or buzzer, too.

Some may be used anywhere, while others may only be placed on certain types of surfaces, such as walls or flat and vertical surfaces, or in a specific area, such as a basement.

How are they powered?

Water detectors can be battery powered or they may connect to a power supply. Many devices are battery powered, either using batteries that can be replaced, or long life batteries that could last up to 10 years, or some may only need to be changed once.

What happens when they are activated?

When activated, an alarm sounds for 24-72 hours, depending on battery or power.
Water detectors use sensors to work – if water crosses the sensor at certain points or amounts, then an alert is raised that a leak may have occurred or the water levels may be dangerous.

Some water detectors may have a standby mode. This is useful as often they may be put in place and then not checked on regularly, plus it may help with your business energy usage and bills.

How many water detectors do you need?

How many water detectors your business will need depends on how many places a water leak is likely to occur on your premises – it’s possible to have only one, or more than this, depending on your business’ requirements.

What are the monitoring options?

Some water detectors may be monitored by a professional company.

Otherwise, an alarm sounds to alert people on your premises. Alternatively, some devices can send you a notification to your smartphone or device (or to your designated team members) to inform you when the sensor is activated.

More advanced detectors may be able to shut off the water supply too – this is likely to require a professional company to install or monitor it, or at least some specialist knowledge to do this yourself.

Wireless water detectors

It’s also possible to use wireless water detectors that connect via wifi and can send notifications to a smartphone or device via email or text message.

Wireless water detectors can often be connected, as well as set up and installed via an app.

Note that some smart or wireless water detectors that connect to wifi may need an additional hub to do this, while others may be able to connect directly to your router.

Reusable water detectors

Another option is reusable water detectors, which are battery powered. When activated, an alarm may sound for up to 24 hours, and then can be reset once the issue has been addressed.

Bear in mind that this type of detector relies on someone hearing and acting upon it. On the plus side, they are an affordable option that you can install yourself.

Cabled water detectors

Cabled water detectors are also available – with these, the alarm is raised through the sensor (which is the cable). This means that however long the cable is, this is how much area the detector can sense leaks in – cable sensors can often cover a bigger area than the other types of water detectors.

This type may be wall-mounted or it could be placed in another room, or used to form a perimeter around a room (depending on the cable length).

Spot detectors

Spot detectors are placed in a certain location and when water comes into contact with two out of the three or more sensors, it raises the alarm.

It’s possible that there are sensors on the bottom of the device to detect any water leaks. In addition, some types may have a compartment that can be opened for wires to extend the reach of the device further.

Electronic leak detection

Another form is electronic leak detection. With this option, the device is attached to a wider security system in a commercial premises and it can detect the sounds and frequency of leaks.

These work acoustically, with a microphone and amplifier to detect leaks. This type can be used in underground pipes and it may be possible to rent them – it could be useful if you’re a property developer, for example.

What are the benefits?

Water detectors can help to protect your premises against damp, leaks and mould. The potential benefits are that these are caught early, meaning less or no repair costs, as well as helping to create a safe working environment for your team.

Addressable water detectors have multiple zones, meaning it’s possible to pinpoint the exact location of a leak.

Note that not all water leaks can be seen above the surface.

Where to put water detectors

Water detectors can be placed anywhere that is at risk of experiencing a water leak. Some possible locations could include: near the sink in a kitchen/bathroom, in the basement, near a water heater or pump, or toilets.

A bar could find it useful to place one near the ice-maker, while near the refrigerators or freezers in a commercial kitchen in a cafe or restaurant could also be ideal spots.

If opting for wifi-connected water detector, check what its range is – how many metres can it cover (e.g. 45 metres).

If using water detector in a public place (such as toilets in a restaurant or showers in an office), be sure to check if its vandal and tamper resistant. Similarly, asses if it can be cleaned without being activated.

How to install water detectors

Most water detectors can be self-installed, although some more advanced systems may require a professional to do it. If you do decide to do it yourself, check if any special equipment or tools are needed.

Installation is likely to include setting up the detector with batteries or putting it in the required location. For smart devices, you’ll probably have to download an app and follow the instructions.

For more advanced water detection, with professional installation, it’s possible to have a water detector system with a control panel. This can also be split into zones (two, four, or eight zones, depending on the size of your premises) like with other alarm types or CCTV cameras, for example.

However, standalone water detection is an inexpensive option, for businesses with low risk or levels of needs for water leaks.

If you opt to use a professional company, then they may survey your site for leaks or potential leaks.

What are the next steps?

From reading this article, you’ve learned more about water detectors, including the different types that are available and where they can be used in your business premises.

We’ve also looked at the different features and components of water detectors – such as how they are connected – and send alerts.

Next, read our articles on other areas of business security, including intruder alarms and fire alarms. Visit our page on alarm system costs for more specific pricing information.

To compare quotes for business security, simply complete the form at the top of the page.

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Scarlett Cook attends and reports on many industry events for, particularly those relating to communication, equality and diversity in entrepreneurship.

Since joining the team in 2018, she has developed our telephone systems and business mobiles topics as well as ‘how to’ guides, with her work having been referenced by brands such as Hiscox. Previously, she has written for audiences across the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Scarlett Cook
Scarlett Cook

Scarlett writes about a wide range of topics on the site, from business security to digital marketing and EPOS systems. She can also be found writing about diversity and sustainability in business, as well as managing the Just Started profiles.

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