Blog post

Protecting Your Extended Family

Our busy lives are often crammed with taking care of something – the kids, the pets, the house, and even our own parents. That last one can be particularly difficult if aging parents live far away or require frequent visits. With your schedule, you cannot just drop by and check in on them every moment of every day. However, thanks to smart home technologies you can feel almost like you are there in person.

According to research from Business Insider, more than 24 billion internet-connected devices, or four devices per person, will be installed around the world by 2020. With some of these devices, such as smart cameras, smart door bells, and smart security, you can be alerted at any time day or night if your parents are in crisis. And you can even check in on them proactively. But have you ever considered how helpless you might be if the second leading cause of insurance claims happened in their home?

Water damage is outpaced only by wind when it comes to homeowner insurance claims. Water leaks lead to mold, which can impact residents’ health. If leaks go unattended, the resulting damage can be catastrophic – loss of valuable items, irreplaceable mementos, even whole home devastation. How do you ensure this doesn’t happen?

Smart technologies now extend to leak detection. LeakSmart detects and protects. When the system senses a leak, it shuts off the main water within five seconds and sends alerts to all identified contacts — your parent, you, even your preferred plumbing expert. The system works 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If Wi-Fi is down, LeakSmart continues monitoring the water in a home.

You never have to worry about your parents suffering water damage again, giving you peace of mind and allowing them the independence of living alone. Smart technology, helping you take care of the ones you love.

Slow Leak

The summer months bring sunshine and fresh air—that well-earned time outside. But don’t let a slow leak demand your time inside this summer. More relaxed schedules means time to squeeze in that plumbing maintenance visit you’ve been putting off. Because nothing slowly sucks the joy out of your summer faster than a slow leak.

While we typically place a call to our trusted plumber during an emergency or when we’ve identified a plumbing problem, consider scheduling a routine visit. Preventative checks of areas around your home where slow leaks are probable will ward off future damage. Have a backflow test you need to report to the city? Consider adding a check of the following areas of your home to stay ahead of the problem. Bonus points for feeling like a home maintenance all-star!

Dripping Faucets
You might think the most annoying thing about a dripping faucet is the repetitive plink that threatens to drive you crazy, but this common problem not only wastes hundreds of gallons of water a year, it also points to bigger problems. Have a professional test your faucets and replace any worn washers that might be preventing the water from staying where it belongs. While you’re at it, ask for a quick under-the-sink check as well to be sure there are no supply or joint leaks. It doesn’t take long for water to warp a cabinet and mold to grow.

Running Toilets
Like faucets, toilets are main players in the plumbing show of your home. Because of this, their inner workings need regular maintenance and replacement of parts. Have a professional do a quick check of the toilets in your home and replace worn parts before you even have to jiggle that handle. Water outside of the toilet means soggy ceilings below, AKA bigger problems and additional service calls for you.

Escaping Water
Water has that sneaky way of getting into places uninvited and wreaking all sorts of havoc. It warps wood, lifts tiles, stains ceilings and provides the perfect conditions for the growth of mold. One of the most cost-effective ways to prevent water from escaping around shower doors, tub bases and sink rims is to caulk. Have an expert test these areas for leaks to be sure you’re secure. A simple line of caulk could mean the difference between shelling out money for a ceiling repair or saving for that special summer experience.

Slow Drains
Advertisements on TV might have you believe that a slow drain can be fixed with a quick splash of chemicals, but sometimes these DIY fixes can cause bigger problems and erode pipes. Let an expert test your drains and provide a professional solution because the longer water sits in one area, the more likely it is to leak into other areas.

Water Heater
Everyone knows someone who’s had to replace a water heater. With an average lifespan of eight to twelve years, this appliance will likely fail during your experience as a homeowner. Catching a water heater during the slow leak phase will prevent a catastrophic burst. Have your plumbing professional check below and around your heater for any sign of a slow leak. The basement and garage store many of our family mementos and seasonal overflow and these items don’t mix well with water. Prevent the heartache and headache!

Permanent Solution
This preventative maintenance visit is the perfect opportunity to ask your plumbing professional about new technology and ways to make your home smarter. A LeakSmart leak detection and protection system alerts you to both slow and catastrophic leaks. Detectors sense a leak, shut off the main water within five seconds and send you as well as your preferred plumbing expert a message. Let this smart system do the reacting so you can go back to relaxing.

Five Warning Signs that Could Lead to Bigger Plumbing Issues

The days are long and summer calendars full. Having a trusted plumber on speed dial is always a good idea, especially with summer travel and activities on the horizon. But how do you know when to call in a professional? Check out these five warning signs that a bigger problem may be on the horizon.

1) Water around the toilet base.
Are you wiping up water on the floor near any of your toilets? Time to call your plumber. First, your plumber will ensure the leak is coming from the base of the toilet by flushing to see if the water expands. If this is the case, the bolts can be tightened or the worn out wax ring replaced so you can flush with confidence.

2) Water near the dishwasher.
The dishwasher is another culprit of leaks that sometimes fails to give a warning sign. The location of the water will give the plumber an indication as to the problem. You might need a new latch or gasket for a leaky door, tightened hose connections, or new valves. Clean dishes are one thing, peace of mind that a slow leak won’t destroy your kitchen is another.

3) Water leaking from your showerhead.
No matter how small, a leaking showerhead hints at issues to come. Mineral deposits naturally build up over time and can plug holes and even damage valves if left unchecked. Your plumbing professional will identify the source of the problem so you can go back to belting out your favorite tunes.

4) Water near the washing machine.
Front load or top load, no matter how you throw the clothes in, if there’s water leaking out, there’s a problem. Washing machines are serviced by high-flow lines so damage to the hose can mean major trouble for your laundry room and surrounding areas. If the gasket is worn in a front load washer, water can leak out throughout the course of the cycle. With the help of a plumber, your leak will be located and fixed. Sorry, that doesn’t help with the pile of dirty clothes waiting to be washed, dried, and folded.

5) Water is dripping from the icemaker.
It might not seem like an immediate emergency, but a slow leak from an icemaker can cause costly damage. A plumber can investigate if defrost drains are clogged or cracked, whether valves need to be replaced, or if line fittings are loose. Because the only water you want out of your icemaker is cubed.

How to work smarter, not harder
Staying ahead of issues before they get ahead of you is always a challenge with busy schedules and limited time. Let LeakSmart leak detection and protection system be your eyes and ears. Installed sensors will alert you to both small and catastrophic leaks, automatically shutting off the main water supply and sending a text to you and your plumber within five seconds. This water security system makes the call so you don’t have to. Crisis averted. Let summer continue!

LeakSmart Blog: Six Tips for Opening Your Summer Getaway

Six Tips for Opening Your Summer Getaway

Six Tips for Opening Your Summer Getaway

There is no surer sign that summer is about to start than the opening of your cabin, cottage or summer home. Whether it’s your first or 15th opening, here are some helpful tips to make sure this year’s this summer of fun is a success.

Reconnect with Utility Companies

Before arrival, if you disconnect utility services such as electric, propane, water, phone, internet and TV during the colder months, contact services to get them reconnected so you return to your cabin that is ready with lights, water and plenty of summer action. And don’t forget to ask about a discount or current seasonal promotion.

Look for Leaks and Other Signs of Wear & Tear

Before moving in, it’s good to take a quick lap both inside and out of the cabin to inspect for downed power lines; large yard damage or debris; damaged windows, roofs doors or siding; rodent damage; bad smells; wet or stained flooring, furniture or ceilings.

Once you are in the clear, then turn the water back on, check for leaks around sinks, toilets and water lines. If damage is suspected, turn off the water main and contact a plumber.

Consider Creating a Home Inventory

Did your cabin pass inspection? Great! But what if it didn’t? Would you able to recall the personal items in your cabin should it be damaged by water, fire or severe weather? Consider listing everything in an inventory that is helpful to have on hand if disaster strikes.

Pump the Septic System

While fall is a great time to have a septic system pumped, be sure to do this this as soon as possible upon your return to avoid sluggish draining or flushing, odors or sewage backup.

Make Some Smart Upgrades

Want to know what’s going on in your home when you are not there? Consider having a smart ring doorbell, smart thermostat, or a LeakSmart leak detection and protection system installed by a plumber or plumbing, heating and cooling specialist.
While away from your summer home stay in control of your water. LeakSmart will not only monitor for leaks and shut water off automatically if a leak is detected, but also remotely control your water supply from your smart phone. While you are at it, consider installing a LeakSmart system in your primary residence to ensure a water crisis is averted even while you’re away.

Have Your Contractor Open & Close Your Home

Sometimes opening or closing a cabin can be a real hassle, or difficult if the property is still owned by an aging friend or relative. Consider enlisting your plumber or plumbing, heating and cooling specialist to help open and close your cabin. While many people think that shutting off the circuit breaker every time you leave your home saves on energy, it actually requires a large surge of energy when turned back on and can create unnecessary damage to your circuit breaker.

Your plumber can identify and wrap pipes, adjust the thermostat and water heater, unplug big appliances and bring everything back online again upon your return – and if you install a LeakSmart leak detection system, even serve as an emergency contact.

Happy summer!