The SimpleSENCE Water Leak and Freeze Detector has proven to be a pretty handy little tool. Water leaks in areas that would normally go undetected – under sinks, in attics, near furnaces or washing machines – have found that there is no place to hide when SimpleSENCE is around, sending alerts to homeowners so that they can take care of minor leaks before they cause major damage.

However, there are some leaks against which SimpleSENCE would prove useless. It’s not that the unit isn’t reliable or capable. It’s just that these particular leaks are too massive, too imaginary, or aren’t technically leaks at all.

Piqued your interest? Here are three of the most notorious leaks in history against which SimpleSENCE, we’re sorry to say, would be powerless.

Oh, Dam

American author Mary Mapes Dodge wrote a novel, first published in 1865, entitled “Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates.” A short story within the novel has become well known in its own right in popular culture. The story, read aloud in a schoolroom in England, is about a Dutch boy who saves his country by putting his finger in a leaking dike. The boy stays there all night, despite the cold, until the adults of the village find him and make the necessary repairs. In the book, the boy and the story are called simply "The Hero of Haarlem”. Although the hero of the dike-plugging tale remains nameless in the book, Hans Brinker's name has sometimes erroneously been associated with the character.

Why SimpleSENCE Wouldn’t Work: Technically, SimpleSENCE units could have been put all around the dam, and a superintendent or caretaker could have been alerted when the hole appeared and first began leaking.

Unfortunately, SimpleSENCE works via WiFi, which wasn’t introduced for residential use until 1997. And the units use AAA batteries, which weren’t developed 1911. And the convenient email and text alerts…well, you get the idea.

London is Leaking

Over the last year more than 500 million liters of water have spilled out of London’s aging water infrastructure every day. Thames Water – the utility company that supplies water to most of London’s 8.8 million residents – manages almost 32,000 km of decrepit pipes, 60 per cent of which were laid more than 60 years ago; the oldest are more than 150 years old. And the strain on London’s creaking pipes is set to get even worse, as London’s population is the fastest growing in the UK.

But Londoners should have no fear, as an army is mobilizing against the city’s looming water shortage. Every day, between 7:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. the next day, squads of water whisperers attempt to locate the sources of hidden leaks. Armed with eclectic toolkits stuffed with archaic listening sticks and pipe-diving cameras, these detectives are the last line of defense in London’s battle against leaky pipes.

Why SimpleSENCE Wouldn’t Work: Where do we begin? We could certainly start with the 32,000 km of decrepit pipes. Since these are hidden leaks that are very hard to locate, you’d need a unit every few feet. Some quick math tells us that 32,000 km equals almost 10.5 million feet. So, a unit every three feet would be over 3 million units. And although SimpleSENCE’s ability to connect to WiFi is exceptional, it would prove to be pretty weak on units that far underground. But mostly, we get a guilty pleasure thinking of all those water whisperers using those funny listening sticks.

Political Leaks

In 1971, then-president Richard Nixon and his staff recruited a team of ex-FBI and CIA operatives, later referred to as “the Plumbers” to investigate the leaked publication of the Pentagon Papers. On September 9, the “Plumbers” broke into the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, in an unsuccessful attempt to steal psychiatric records to smear Daniel Ellsberg, the defense analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press.


One of the plumbers, G. Gordon Liddy obtained approval for espionage against the Democratic Party. On May 28, 1972 Liddy’s team broke into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., bugging the telephones of staffers. Following the arrest of Liddy and his team, a Washington Post crime reporter, Bob Woodward, had several meetings with an informant known as “Deep Throat.” The man, W. Mark Felt, leaks details of the entire plan to Woodward, whose reporting, along with colleague Carl Bernstein, became known as “Watergate.”

Why SimpleSENCE Wouldn’t Work: Leaks. Plumbers. “Water”Gate. At first glance, this seems like the type of environment in which SimpleSENCE would absolutely thrive. Unfortunately, Watergate was a political scandal, and we purposely made SimpleSENCE apolitical. SimpleSENCE detects water leaks, not government wrongdoing. And that’s more than enough.