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My personal home security system protects me from burglaries and fire/smoke damage, but it also has an add-on component to prevent costly water damage.

Basically, it is a sensor that you put on a wall toward the floor. When water touches the sensor, an alarm is sounded. I will also receive a text message and a phone call from the monitoring company should this happen. Not only do you want this in your own home, but this is also great for rental properties or vacationers – you’ll get immediate notification when water is backing up from a drain, a sump pump has failed, or sink/toilet is overflowing. You can have multiple sensors, so you can have them in kitchens, bathrooms, and the basement (and sub-basement). Some people add sensors in the attic to know if their roof is leaking.

I just thought of this idea while speaking with a client today. He owns a rental 3-flat in Chicago, and he personally lives about 30 miles away. The sump pump recently failed, but a tenant thankfully caught it in time before there was any damage. What if nobody was there to notice it right away?

The best part is that it doesn’t add additional fees on top of my monthly monitoring charges. Just a one-time $20 per sensor. If you’ve ever experience water damage in your home, you’ll know that $20 is pretty cheap compared to pulling up carpet, replacing drywall, replacing furniture…get the idea?

Here are a few other ideas for keeping your home secure and your loved ones safe:

  • Entry sensors on gun safes or medicine cabinets – they won’t trigger an alarm, but you’ll know as soon as one of these is opened.
  • Entry sensor on the mailbox – know exactly when your mail is delivered…or, if someone else is going through your mail.
  • Entry sensor on a closet or locked room – great for homes with children and if you want to keep them out of a certain room in the house.
  • Water sensors near windows – these could make sense in a vacation home that you can’t easily get to, like a home in Florida near the ocean. You’ll know right away if a big storm has compromised your window seals and water is leaking into the home.
  • Customized PINs for each family member – know when your kids come and go, even if you aren’t home.

Let me know if you have questions about this. When researching security systems for myself, this was easily the best option for the features – the fact that it is less expensive than others is an added bonus. I definitely did not want to secure my home based on price.