What is the health check?
As part of your Flo service, and one of the main features of your Flo device, an automatic health check is performed every night to ensure your home’s plumbing is leak free. This automatic test will run during the hours when you’re least likely to use water, and will be cancelled and re-tested should you use any water for the duration of the test. When this is exactly can vary from user to user as Flo will do it’s best to not disturb your regular water usage schedule.
How does the test work?
During the health check, Flo will shut its valve, preventing any water from the city from influencing your home. While the water is shut off, Flo will monitor the stability of the water within your pipes for the next several minutes. If there is very little to no pressure change, you will pass your test. However, if you have a drippy fixture or a leak at any point, the health check will fail, and Flo will notify you in the morning.
How sensitive is the Health Check?
The Flo Device is able to pick up a drip as slow as 1 drop per minute. Such a small drip will not be visible on your apps “Current Flow” meter. This is because a small drip is not moving enough water to be detected as water flow.
What should I do if I fail my Health Check?
As the health check can pick up on very small drips, it’s a good idea to inspect your faucets, hose bibbs, and any other fixtures for evidence of a drip. Inspect faucet tips for moisture and water collection, inspect your shower head for a drip by looking at the floor to help identify a drip.
Hose bibbs are a common source of drips, especially if they are older as they may not form a complete seal when shut. If you keep your hose on and rely on the hose nozzle to retain the water, consider shutting the hose off at the hose bibb instead as hose nozzles will typically allow water to drip out and can cause the health check to fail.
Next, inspect your toilet fill tanks. A common cause for a slow drip is a bad toilet flapper. If the flapper isn’t forming a good seal, it will allow water to drip or trickle through. This will result in the toilet’s fill valve to activate and fill the water that is repeatedly being lost. Refer to our article on replacing your toilet flapper for more information here.
I’ve checked all my fixtures and hose connections and they seem fine. What next?
If you’ve checked all your fixtures for a potential drip and have found nothing it’s time to move on to inspecting the angle stops. These are the shutoffs for your various fixtures. For a sink, they will be located almost directly beneath. You’ll find one shut off for cold water and one for hot water. Inspect these connections for drips or leaks, and check for moisture. They should be dry to the touch. If a you see a drip or feel moisture on the connection, please contact your plumber for more information on replacing the unit.
You’ll also find one of these for each toilet. Inspect that as well for drips or moisture.
If your angle stop shutoffs are fine, consider shutting them all off and running your health checks manually. If you now pass your health check, it’s safe to assume a fixture after a shut off is causing the small drip. Open a pair of shut offs, and re-run the test until the test fails. By process of elimination you can find the source of your leak or small drip.
I’ve shut off all fixtures and I’m still failing my test. Now what?
If you still fail your health check with all your sinks and toilets turned off, you’re at least narrowing down the possibility of the source of the leak.
Consider shutting off your irrigation related components. If the irrigation to your home is connected to the plumbing from inside the home it’s possible that Flo is catching a leak in the irrigation system.
A quick way to test if Flo is covering any irrigation is to turn on the irrigation and check your Flo app for water flow. If you see water flowing, then that section of irrigation is included in your health check.
Some irrigation will have a shut off right before, if you see one, try shutting off the water to the irrigation and re-run your health check. If you pass the test, the leak is caused by some component after the irrigation shut off. Take a look at your irrigation valves, to see if they’re leaking. Sometimes running the irrigation system while visually inspecting the valves will result in a visible leak. Contact your plumber, landscaper, or gardener for assistance in detecting and resolving irrigation related leaks.
I’ve checked everything and I still can’t find any leaks. What should I do next?
If you’ve searched high and low, and have found no evidence of a drip or moisture around a connection, it may be time to ask for some assistance. But before you call anyone for more help, considering waiting a few days to see if your nightly health check continues to fail. It could be that Flo simply picked up on something intermittent or a one time series of drips.
Should you continue to fail your health check repeatedly and are not able to identify the source of the leak. Contact Flo support or your local plumber to see what additional steps may be taken.
There is a possibility that the leak being detected is from a portion of pipe that is hidden beneath the ground, a wall, or running through the attic and there are professional methods to aid in detecting “hidden” leaks.
If the leak is this small, can’t I just ignore it?
Your Flo device is designed to provide you with information on the health of your plumbing system. Even the smallest drips can result in a large leak if left ignored. Remember that your pipes always have a constant pressure between 40-80psi (potentially more if you do not have a pressure reducing valve installed) and that constant pressure is pushing against all of your fixtures and pipes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whatever may be causing the small leak could give into the pressure and cause an even bigger leak, or a burst. Flo will do it’s best to shut your water off as quickly as possible, to minimize water damage impact but it could take several minutes for such a leak to be detected and acted upon by Flo.
It’s best practice to stay on top detected leaks to at least discover the cause. You may find that it’s a fixture or faucet that can be shut off in the meantime and addressed at a later date, or with professional help, you may discover that there was a hidden leak somewhere which could potentially have lead to water damage somewhere in the home.