Our SimpleSENCE Water Leak and Freeze Detector has an extremely simple job: to detect water leaks and freeze conditions and alert the homeowner – via text, email or both - when these events occur. Specifically, SimpleSENCE is meant to identify leaks that occur in “hidden” spots – places you wouldn’t normally spot a leak in your daily routine, such as under sinks, near a hot water heater, or in the attic.

Nothing fancy, just a routine task that needs to be done in order to catch leaks or frozen pipes before they can cause serious structural (and ultimately financial) damage.

The task is so simple that, quite frankly, you don’t really need SimpleSENCE to get it done; you can just do it yourself. Case in point: a very well-respected home improvement and repair website called The Family Handyman offers a quick and easy method for detecting under-sink water leaks:

“Sink leaks can occur at any plumbing joint. But the most common leaks happen at the sink rim, shutoff valves, supply line connections and slip joints in the waste lines. Don’t rely on your sense of touch to find tiny under sink plumbing leaks. Wipe each connection with a dry tissue. Then look for a wet spot on the tissue.”

How simple is that? All you need is a tissue and a couple of minutes of free time. Nothing could be easier. The problem is, there are three ways to execute this DIY approach: reactive, proactive, and accidental. The first is ineffective, the second is impractical, and the odds of the third happening are astronomical.


First, the reactive approach. This would logically be triggered by a suspicion that you have a leak, which would be the result of either smelling a musty odor under the sink, detecting the presence of mold or, more overtly, seeing water all over your bathroom floor. Unfortunately, when a homeowner finally detects a leak under the kitchen sink, it has likely already caused some degree of water damage to the cabinet and the surrounding area. In fact, since most of us use the area under our kitchen sinks as storage, a water leak can remain hidden behind a plethora of household items until it becomes too severe to miss.

OK, so how about being proactive? Great idea in theory. But to put it bluntly, are you really going to do it? Are you going to create a schedule of some sort to inspect all the water pipes under your sinks, around your water heaters, and in the attic the third Thursday of every month? One of the few household tasks most of us do on a scheduled basis is change our smoke detector batteries twice a year. But that’s only because it’s tied to a major event - the coming and going of daylight savings time – which receives tremendous media exposure. And even if you commit to doing it, how much do you really want to remove the dozens of cleaning products from under your sink (many of which have been there since the Nixon administration) and shimmy under the sink with your bad back? Face it, the changes of developing a regular schedule of water pipe inspections are about the same as winning the lottery – twice.

So, we’re left with the accidental approach. It’s not really an approach as much as it is…well, an accident. Maybe you open up your sink cabinet and you just happen to see a pipe leaking. And maybe it happened very recently so there is little to no structural damage yet. Stranger coincidences have occurred, but the list is pretty short. And you would need to have the eyes of a hawk to see a leak amidst the cleaning products, rags, bags of dog food, and other assorted bric a brac that have overtaken that space. To make matters worse, as the Family Handyman points out, the situation is worsened by the fact that supply leaks under the kitchen sink or bath vanity are “usually at the back of the cabinet,” making them even harder to see.

A reputable plumbing company in the San Francisco Bay Area puts it this way: “Think about how often you look at the area under your kitchen sink. You might open the cabinet a few times a day to throw something in the garbage or grab a cleaning product, but it’s usually only for a few seconds and a water leak is probably the last thing on your mind.”


                This is not to suggest that there aren’t some enterprising, ambitious DIYers out there who would actually follow through on a regular inspection schedule. But for the large portion of you who have better things to do, why not leave water-leak detection to the professional that offers reliable results – and no excuses?