Water leak sensor for outdoor use. In need of recommendations

I am trying to automate my awning to close when it starts raining. It has a wind sensor, but I tried using the weather forecast to automate it, and it closed even when it wasn't raining yet.

I don't want to spend over $100 on a specialized awning sensor, so I'm thinking a water leak sensor without an alarm would work just as well. I've read that most water leak sensors have sirens that can't be disabled programmatically, or they're not waterproof enough to be used outdoors.

I'm hoping to find a recommendation for a water leak sensor that will work for my setup without breaking the bank.

What is your plan for making the sensor dry again after it triggers?

Water leak sensors typically are designed to trigger when a puddle of water shorts across two terminals on the bottom of the sensor. Some sensors have a enternal probe that is waterproof, but the actual sensing device needs to be sheltered. These devices have no built-in alarm.

I own several Moes (Tuya based) Zigbee 3.0 sensors that seem to work well. Unfortunately, they are not currently available on Amazon.


The second type of sensor I use is an Ecolink Z-wave device.


For your application I believe the Ecolink devices would be preferable.

I would suggest that you place the sensor probe into a cup in which you have drilled a small hole. When it rains, the water level in the cup should rise causing the sensor to trigger. When it stops raining, water will drain from the cup through the small hole and the sensor will stop indicating. You might have to experiment with the size of the hole or holes to achieve the performance you desire. For example, you might not want a heavy dew or light mist to trigger the sensor. Thus, I would suggest using inexpensive disposable plastic cups for your container.

BTW: There are some Aqara leak sensors that are similar in design to the Tuya ones I mentioned. I have one and do not find it to be as reliable as the Tuya based sensor, but you can try it if you have other Aqara sensors. It is a waterproof design.


For the ecolink sensor. Does it need to be sheltered in a waterproof box, and only the lead exposed?

An irrigation rain sensor should work. This Rainbird model is "normally closed" until it detects enough water and then it opens. Idea is it can interrupt the common line of irrigation valves. You should be able to hook it up to a contact sensor with external terminals and sense it closes


With this approach in mind, I can go straight to a Ecowitt WH40 rain collector, as I already have the gateway. I was thinking of using their leak detector for this purpose, but it has a siren.

With your approach, I would need to buy an additional contact sensor to wire it to which would bring it up to the same price as this.

This is a great idea given you already have the gateway.

I am not sure the Ecolink needs to be fully enclosed in a waterproof box, but the sensor is not designed to be waterproof. At a minimum, the sensor needs to be sheltered from rain such as mounting it under an eve or keeping it in a Zip-lock bag with only the probe wire emerging.

I use a project/junction box on the outside of my mailbox to house the Ecolink sensor. Has worked in the Texas heat/cold/rain for about 2 years now :crossed_fingers:t3:


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How about the WN35?

@garz You might event consider getting a weather station. That way not only will you have a rain sensor, but also rain, temp etc. I use ours to notify windows are open, or if it gets too windy? Take the umbrella down. Not to mention feeding other stuff weather data. You get a lot for the money.

This would've worked perfectly, due to it's size and ip66 rating. Unfortunately, went with a different approach through ecowitt.

I ended up going with a WH40 rain collector, found an open box on eBay for $30 shipped, which fits the budget and ease of setup for this application. If this works out well, I may look into purchasing a Wittboy WS90 weather station, to replace this unit for further integration and applications around the house. I like the idea of less maintenance without the water-cup and snow proof design. I'm not sure how the rain collector will hold up to NY snow storms. May even take it down once temps drop to freezing.

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