Commercial vs. Residential Products for CRE

Not all leak detection systems are the same. Many of the brands you may have hear of: FloodStop, WaterCop, Flo by Moen, Phyn, Leak Defense and others, were designed specifically to address a single family home environment. It doesn’t take an engineering background to see that a system that monitors 5-10 sensors has to be different than one that monitors 300-500 sensors. I’ve listed below some of the driving factors determining whether you have a commercial-grade leak detection system

system components

Continue reading to fully understand why comparing residential/consumer leak detection systems to commercial/enterprise systems, like those from The Detection Group, is like comparing a B&W television from the 1970s to a 2021 85” Samsung 4K Smart TV. Some of the myths out there include:


1. A battery is a battery is a battery, so battery life will be the same. False: For example, generally, Trident wireless water leak sensors have more sophisticated, higher quality and longer lasting batteries than residential systems. In addition, Trident sensors, while

always standing-by, communicate through a dedicated RF frequency only when the sensor is sending out an alert notification.


Residential systems communicate via Wi-Fi which is always on and therefore drawing more power. So even if the systems have similar quality batteries, the Trident sensor will have a longer battery life.


2. Notification protocols are typically identical in both types of systems.

False: Residential water leak systems, and even many other commercial systems, do not have all the notification features that the Trident commercial system provides, namely: phone call, text, and email simultaneously to as many people as desired. Residential systems send an alert only via text & email to one individual.


3. Residential and commercial systems are both ‘calling tree’ capable.

False: Trident is calling tree capable, meaning if the primary recipient does not answer, it automatically continues to secondary and tertiary contacts until someone is reached. Importantly, the notification can be directed to individuals responsible for specific areas of the building. Residential systems have limited notification capability.


4. A water leak is a water leak, whether in a single-family dwelling or high-rise building. True & False: There are vast differences between water leaks in a single-family dwelling and those in a commercial building. But it is true that both create havoc, expenses for the owners and occupants, increased insurance rates, etc. But that is where the similarity stops.


Finding the leak quickly in a 30-story building is critical. So Trident sensors, unlike what I fondly refer to as residential ‘screamers’, not only provide a local audio alert, but the system will advise building management exactly what floor and where on that floor the leak is taking place, so it can be fixed immediately. In some cases, with optional Trident shut-off valves, the system will instantly shut off water supply to the leak.

5. All residential and commercial wireless water leak detection systems are created equal.

False: Only one wireless water leak detection system has received FM Approval as best-in-class for commercial buildings, and that is the Trident system. When you see a product or service with the FM APPROVED mark, you will know it meets FM’s high property loss prevention product testing and certification standards. In many cases, building owners and insurance carriers specify Trident as the only brand that meets their requirements.


6. Both commercial and residential systems are configurable.

False: Trident needs to be flexible to cover many types of buildings: commercial office, hospitals, laboratories, hotels, warehouses and many others. To do this, it has to be highly configurable to allow the customer to adjust features. An example is you can adjust the time between when the leak is first sensed, and the notifications are sent out, to minimize ‘false alarms.’


Or if you are installing a sensor in a hospital room or multi-family living situation, you may want to turn off the audible alarm, and simply use the notification services to alert you where the leak can be found.


7. Both types of systems can support any building size.

False: The Trident commercial platform can support hundreds of thousands of square feet of coverage because it communicates via an RF backbone and mesh network. Residential systems cannot because they rely on Wi-Fi communications, which are limited in range and coverage.


8. Residential systems are just as secure as Commercial systems. False: Security can be an issue with many residential systems as they may communicate with various device manufactures via numerous entry points, which could facilitate security breaches.

The Trident commercial system provides a high level of security and is less susceptible to endpoint intrusion as it does not have to communicate with Building Management Systems. And notifications are routed through cloud communications via ethernet or cellular channels, versus typically local networks for residential systems. Trident also uses a closed, secure, proprietary RF frequency band versus less secure Wi-Fi which is the conduit found in most residential systems.



9. (Please move this one up)Residential water detection systems offer the same functionality as commercial systems.

False: Commercial systems, like the Trident wireless water leak detection system, offer management functions either not found, or which are very limited, on residential platforms. For example:

– Scheduling capability by time and date for different building segments

– Self-monitoring and notification of low battery status is persistent until resolved

– Time Stamp for all events

– Control console or mobile device management versus Smartphone app for residential

– Shut-off valve flexibility as an option versus a requirement to suit commercial needs

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally at [email protected] .

Scroll to Top