Water damage inside the home should never be ignored. Whether it’s a slow and steady leak, from a toilet for example, or a sudden burst, from a broken washing machine valve, water can contribute to costly damage. According to Roto-Rooter, only 8% of residential flood claims are due to weather, 30% are caused by appliance failure, and a whopping 62% are caused by plumbing failure. And filing your insurance claim can be a major headache as some insurance policies do not cover slow and steady leaks that could have been prevented. “Most accidental flooding is caused by worn washing machine hoses, ice maker lines, dish washers, toilets, sump pumps and water heaters,” says Roto-Rooter. Keeping your appliances well-maintained is a must as many homeowners don’t always see leaks when they happen. Thankfully there’s a new product on the market that will alert you to water leaks within your home. Meet Wally.

Wally

With the advancement of “smart” technologies for the home we wanted to introduce you to a new player in the market: Wally. Wally’s first consumer product, a device that alerts the homeowner to water leaks and changes in temperature, aims to alert homeowners before their property becomes damaged. Their technology is based on Sensor Nodes Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure, otherwise known as SNUPI. In simplest terms, the Wally device detects changes in humidity and temperature with small sensors placed directly near the appliance and communicates this information remotely using your home’s existing copper wires. The information is fed through your home’s copper wires to a central hub in your home. The hub then sends a text message to your phone to alert you of the exact problem. What makes this smart device unique is that Wally utilizes a relatively “old” technology, copper wiring, which already exists in the home. The only wireless dependency is with the central hub device, which is placed right next to your router. Making this the perfect device for homes that have poor internal wi-fi connectivity due to the size of the home or other constraints such as concrete walls.

Wally

Wally detects changes in humidity and temperature. This dual-detection is especially necessary for homeowners who live in climates that change dramatically from season to season. A Wally sensor placed in the basement, for example, will not only alert you to unwanted water, it will alert you to dips in temperature. This is especially important as cold winter snaps can freeze pipes and cause thousands of dollars in damage. There are other water-detection devices on the market however, they often rely on a short battery life and merely sound an alarm when water is detected.

Wally devices are small enough to fit directly under the most common sources of water leakages in the home: the dishwasher, refrigerator, toilet, water heater, sink, air conditioning unit and washing machine. Slow drips and leaks wreak havoc to expensive flooring materials, sub-flooring and walls. According to Wally, in 2011, 14 million homeowners suffered from damage due to water, freezing and mold, which resulted in $11 billion in property loss claims. As water finds its lowest level, it can pool and collect, eventually making its way to additional rooms and the foundation. Mold and mildew soon grow, contributing to an unhealthy home environment. If this wasn’t enough reason to check for leaks, a slow water drip can be detrimental to the environment.  According to the Wally blog “about 22 gallons of water are lost each day to common plumbing problems in your home.  Have a silent leak in your toilet?  That could be up to 300 gallons of water wasted.”

Wally

Most people leave washing machine water supply lines turned on so when a hose bursts, water can discharge at up to 500 gallons per hour.

The starter Wally package includes the main hub, six mini sensors (about 3″ x 2″ in size), a power cord, and an ethernet cord (in custom orange). The cost is $299.00 and includes free monitoring service via email or text messaging. For homes that need additional sensors, you can purchase them individually or in packages of six. Set-up couldn’t be easier and I was fortunate to have a personal demonstration of just how easy this process is. The well-designed website and set-up system walk you through very simple steps. There are even animated instructions for those who feel overwhelmed at the thought of setting up another device in the home. The hub and sensors are always on and have a long battery life (the battery is designed to last 10 years without needing a change), which means that Wally is working 24/7. Perfect for homes of all sizes, and excellent for people who manage multiple properties. Wally is a device worth checking out.

Wally has told us that there are future plans to develop additional types of sensors to make your home even smarter. They have also recently launched an affiliate program to help professionals supply Wally to their customers.  Buy your Wally directly on their website.

Need to find an appliance repair person or water damage clean-up service in your neighborhood? Find one on Porch today!

Top image credit: Wally