Water Monitoring Devices

By Stephanie McLain, Claims Adjuster

If walls could talk, they may have wonderful stories to tell. If pipes could talk, you’d probably save a ton of money on plumbing costs. Well, a winner of 2018’s Best of What’s New Home Awards is here to translate your house’s pipes — Flo by Moen is the all-in-one security system for your home water. The world is changing:   first you needed security for your home, then your car, now your water. This is a brilliant idea on preventing water damage, so hear me out.

To avoid water damage, you start with preventing it. The system is installed on the main water supply line to the home. Because it is installed on the main water supply line, the device can monitor all water entering the house. It has three sensors which monitor water flow, pressure, and temperature. These sensors, paired with some algorithms, are what enable Flo by Moen to detect and protect against leaks, burst pipes, and more!

Each night the system will run a health test. Flo can detect leaks as smalls as one drop per minute which more often than not go undetected until after there is extensive damage.

Your smartphone will act as your command center. This is where you will get alerts and shut off your water as necessary if you have a cell signal or are connected to Wi-Fi. Luckily, if you’re unresponsive, Flo by Moen is also smart enough to shut the water off itself should something catastrophic be occurring.

Similarly, you can purchase a Water Hero, which is also installed on the main water line and runs via your cell phone. With the Water Hero, you can set up “Home Mode” and “Away Mode” where the alerts are different depending on the mode.

For example, if the device is in Home Mode, the owner states he usually has it set to alert him if water has been running for 15 minutes and to shut it off if it’s been running for 20 minutes. Alternatively, if it is in Away Mode, he has it set stricter where if the water runs for 1 minute while away, it alerts him and if it runs for 2 minutes, it will shut the water off. These controls are completely customizable by the consumer.

For more information on how Wi-Fi water shut off valves work and two more products, check out this article from DIY Smart Home Guide’s website

The Water Hero starts out at $649 and Flo by Moen is listed at $767.70 MSRP. Although these prices seem high, many customers note within the first 6 months they detect a leak they didn’t know about. If your home insurance deductible is $1000, avoiding just one claim will pay for the device and that is definitely worth thinking about.

About Stephanie

Tech enthusiast (not pro), photographer hobbyist, boy mom, animal lover, and Insurance Adjuster

Stephanie Headshot

When Stephanie isn’t at work she’s trying new things from food, tech, games, hair colors, etc. Stephanie and her husband of 2 years live with their 2 boys, 1 fostered cousin, 2 dogs, 1 snake, and 1 fostered bearded dragon. Her goals are to experience the best life has to offer. They like to explore as a family everything from the outdoors, new towns, new games, or even new concepts or ideas for the house.

No Endorsement:  The products identified above are examples of smart home technology that may prevent water damage to homes.  The information in this article about products is for informational purposes only.  MAX Insurance has not purchased or tested and does not endorse, recommend, certify, or approve any product mentioned above.  We have no affiliation or relationship with any manufacturer or supplier of any product described in this article.  We make no representation or warranty with respect to any such product nor to its quality, reliability, or integrity.  We do not vouch for the truthfulness or accuracy of any information from any third-party about its product.  If you choose to purchase or use such product, it is at your own risk and you are responsible to use it in accordance with directions from its manufacturer or supplier.

Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes in Your Home

By Karen Morrone, Marketing & Communications Manager

Frozen pipes.  What are they and why should I be concerned about them?  Those are the questions that came to my mind this week after learning frozen pipes have been occurring across the country and affecting some of our MAX membership.  We had losses with damages in excess of $100,000 due to water pipes bursting due to these freezing temperatures.

According to the American Red Cross, when water freezes, it expands and that expansion causes pressure on the pipes and can essentially break the pipe regardless of how strong the pipe may be, whether it’s metal or plastic.  Simply put, water can freeze, put a tremendous amount of pressure on the pipe and then the pipe busts open and can cause water damage, possibly a lot of water damage to not just your home, but your contents as well.

Which pipes freeze the most often?  Houselogic.com shares the following:

  • Pipes that are exposed in unheated areas of your home. Think crawl spaces, basements, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes that are located on your home’s exterior walls. These pipes probably have little to no insulation around them.
  • Pipes that are on the exterior of your home. Garden hoses come to mind.

So, how can I prevent a pipe from freezing in each of these scenarios?  Check out these tips from both the American Red Cross and Houselogic.com websites:

  • For pipes in unheated areas of your home or pipes located on the exterior walls, add extra insulation or heat tape. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  You can also open your cabinet doors in your kitchen or bathroom to allow warmer air onto the pipes.  Let water drip from your faucets.  Even a trickle could help prevent a pipe from freezing.
  • For garden hoses, remove, drain and store them outside before the first freeze. This tip would have been more helpful to readers in the fall, but is still good to know even in winter months.
  • Lastly, if you are going out of town for an extended period of time, set your thermostat for no lower than 55 degrees and consider shutting off the main water valve or get one of these, opening your faucets and flushing the toilets to drain the system. Coming back from a vacation and finding water damage in your home is not a welcome surprise for anyone.  We recently had losses with damages in excess of $100,000 due to water pipes bursting due to freezing temperatures while members were away.  Water ran for a few days before discovery, resulting in extensive damage to drywall, kitchen cabinets, hardwood floors, carpet, etc.  It is always a good idea to have someone check on your home when you are away, especially in winter months.

Here’s hoping the remainder of the winter season that the Groundhog predicted earlier this month is favorable to you and that your pipes do not freeze.

KarenKaren Morrone

Karen is the Marketing & Communications Manager for MAX where she manages content marketing and social media.  When she’s not at the office, Karen can be found transporting her children to soccer and other after-school activities.  In her “spare time”, you can find her volunteering at scouts, tending to her garden, or baking treats.

Plumbing: Ways to Prevent Water Damage in Your Home

“Why should I care about a water leak?”
A MAX member left for vacation and asked a neighbor to check on his home a couple times. The neighbor checked the home 3 days after our MAX member left and found the entire main level flooded due to a pipe break. Water ran for 3 days resulting in extensive damage to his home, including mold. The cost of repairs was $20,000.

Typical water damage repairs can take 30-60 days. Want to prevent water damage in your home? Here are some good plumbing tips:

  • Turn off your water if you are gone for a long period of time. Whether you are on vacation for weeks at a time or are a snowbird leaving your winter home vacant during the summer months, it is a good idea to shut off your water while away from home. Another idea is to have someone check on your home daily while you are away.
  • Replace your rubber washing machine hoses every 3-5 years. Think back to when you purchased your washing machine, or better yet look up the receipt. Has it been over 5 years? Replace those rubber hoses with stainless steel braided lines. These lines are much less prone to bursting.
  • Replace the supply lines to other plumbing every 3-5 years. Just like the washing machine above, the same advice holds true for other plumbing supply lines such as toilets, dishwashers and refrigerators with ice makers. In addition, consider replacing the toilet fill mechanism every 5 years to prevent failures.

Of course these suggestions depend on the type of connections you currently use for your plumbing. If you are uncertain about any plumbing items in your home, we recommend you consult a professional plumber or trusted handy-person.