Neighborhood Watch

By James Pan

As we all look forward to summer, it's a great time to travel. Here are two action items you can implement to ease your worries while you are away:

1. Limit internal water damage from leaks with Wi-Fi leak alarms. Place leak alarms around every sink, toilet, hot water heater, and appliance (including behind the fridge where the water line for the ice maker goes). You may need as many as 15-20 sensors. Consider this leak alarm:

These alarms are Wi-Fi enabled so if you're on the road, you can ask your trusted neighbor with a key to investigate. Although it can be tricky to get the Wi-Fi to work with the alarm, here is a YouTube video that will help:

Alternatively, you can just turn off your main water valve and drain your pipes before you go.

As someone who has had four incidents of serious water damage, I know that it can be stressful. It's even more stressful if the water leaks to the neighbors’ homes and you need to remediate their damage, too.

Editor’s note: Please take this advice seriously! Mary and I returned from a recent trip to see our son in California to find our lower level partially flooded from a faulty pressure reduction valve on the main house supply line. The aftermath has not been pleasant, I assure you (our lower level is now basically in our garage, and we are looking at two-plus months before we are back to where we were—and that’s with the water damage restoration expert here within two hours of our discovering the problem and the plumber here to fix the problem early the next afternoon!).

2. Take valuables out of the office and bedroom, the areas thieves are likely to check first. Temporarily place valuables in the attic or some other non-obvious place. Thieves are quick and will spend only about 10 minutes in your home; so anything that makes it harder for them to discover valuables increases your chances of finding those items where you left them upon your return home.

Have a fun and safe summer!

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