Employees take care of part of the 11,000 books that were damaged by a leak due to a broken water pipe in a library in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2012. Employees take care of part of the 11,000 books that were damaged by a leak due to a broken water pipe in a library in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2012. Employees take care of part of the 11,000 books that were damaged by a leak due to a broken water pipe in a library in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2012. (Photo: Daniel Garcia / AFP/Getty Images)

Could this high-tech plug stop leaky pipes and floods?

A new consumer-friendly device senses leaks and jumps into action.

Close your eyes. Imagine an Internet-connected device that could alert you before a pipe was about to burst in your house. Now open your eyes. Welcome to reality.

An Israeli company has developed a technology that updates an old-fashioned plumbing system to prevent leaks that lead to catastrophes.

LeaksStop's device works on home water pipes to detect, alert and stop leaks in your water pipes before they become a disaster.

Disasters can be a quiet leak that’s feeding black mold under the floorboards or a pinhole leak that suddenly bursts into a geyser when you are on summer vacation, relaxing at the beach far away.

Those of us who have come home to a flood know that turning off the water pipes is a must for any extended stay away from home.

This is because water is constantly under high amounts of pressure to be ready when you are – for a shower, washing the dishes or your pet dog. But that constant high pressure can tax your pipes, and suddenly tiny pinhole leaks escalate into floods in your basement.

This is what LeaksStop is aiming to prevent. Should something go wrong, it will turn off the water supply to your home and send an alert to your smartphone.

It also works to put less pressure on your home water pipes so that when you are at work, or away on a trip, there will be less continuous pressure on your pipes. This means less wear and tear overall.

A defective faucet can lead to not only wasted water, but can cause property damage as well.A defective faucet can lead to not only wasted water, but can cause property damage as well. (Photo: Kim7/Shutterstock)

Did you know that 1 in 10 homes in the United States is leaking as we speak? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, says that even before you notice the problem, the little leaks are big water wasters and can add up to 10,000 gallons of wasted water a year. Not to mention that leaky pipes can go undetected for years.

That’s a whole backyard swimming pool size worth of water going down the drain. That wasted water could provide enough water to cities of Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago if added up. This is welcome news across the United States, especially in areas where water usage is being controlled.

The LeaksStop system will also work to get a handle on the problem by reducing leaks up to 90 percent. The system follows a long line of smart Internet-connected devices for the home: the Nest thermostat, the Canary security system, the Leeo fire alarm, which doubles as a nightlight.

Bety Ruiz is a manager for marketing agency FiveTwoFive in New York City. She is always on the go and likes the idea: “It’s not an obvious thing, but now that I think about it could save me from huge problems I didn’t even know I might have," she tells From The Grapevine. "It could save me from massive home renovations and buying new furniture. And if I had such a device, I hope insurance companies would lower my premiums."

The company is installing a pilot of its system in Israel, a hub for water technologies, and plans to be in the American consumer market, at $200 a unit, in time for next summer vacation.

MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE:

Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows

Related Topics: Environment