The biggest boost to the growing smart home market was pretty obviously the Nest smart thermostat. Who would have guessed that a thermostat would be the technology device to inspire people to start linking up systems in their homes through their smart phones? Could the next big thing for DIY smart homes be smart water sensors?
Maybe that’s a stretch, but anyone who’s had a water heater, dishwasher or burst pipe disaster in their home knows how important early detection can be. Even those slow leaks that only cause mold damage can be expensive to repair. The more water spilled (or splashed) the more money the repairs are going to cost you. That’s why many of the new smart home systems have added water leak detectors to their roster of connected devices.
Most smart home water sensors are battery powered and include some variety of low-power wireless technology, such as Z-Wave. The sensors connect to the central smart home hub, and you can view the device’s status on your phone or tablet. If the device detects water, you get an alert (usually a text or push notification). That’s when you rush home to see what the damage is.
Want your shades lowered? Do it in seconds from a smartphone. Not sure if you locked the door when you left the house or left the garage door open? Again, it’s as easy as pressing a button on your smartphone.
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Here are a few of the smart water sensors on the market and, when appropriate, the systems they’re compatible with:
Fibaro Flood Sensor
The Z-Wave equipped Fibaro Flood Sensor ($59) doesn’t look like a typical sensor, and it’s not, in addition to water, it includes a tilt sensor (so you know if someone moved it), temperature sensor, a siren, a light, a built in Z-wave network range tester, and it can be wired or wireless. The company says it will work with any professionally-installed alarm system, but you can also set it up yourself. With a Fibaro Relay installed, the sensor can also automatically shut off a solenoid valve. Fibaro’s Home Center 2 or another Z-Wave hub is required to use the Flood Sensor.
Utilitech Water Leak Detector
If you have a Lowe’s Iris smart home system, this is the water detector you want, but it will also work with other Z-Wave hubs such as Vera. The Utilitech Leak Detector comes with a three-foot long cord and runs on three AAA batteries. $30.
The Wally system doesn’t use Z-Wave or Bluetooth or Zigbee. It uses a proprietary wireless system that takes advantage of the copper wires in your walls and treats them like antennas for the system. The moisture sensor (which also detects temperature and humidity) is said to not only help with big water emergencies, but also tells you about slowly developing moisture—the kind that can lead to mold damage. You need the Wally hub and the sensor for this system. Since the wireless method is unique, it’s not likely to be compatible with other smart home products, though the company said it does work with the Nest thermostat. You can buy the hub with six sensors for $299. Individually the sensors cost $35.
The Overflow is a basic wireless water sensor for the Wink system. You need a Wink hub ($50) to use the Overflow. Two AA batteries are said to last one year. $35
SmartSense Moisture Sensor
This moisture sensor is made for the SmartThings system. If you have SmartThings already, you can add the SmartSense Moisture Sensor for $40. The company also offers a package that includes two moister sensors (one under the kitchen sink and one by the basement water heater) and the Z-Wave SmartThings Hub for $189. You can set up your system to send you alerts if water is detected.
INSTEON 2852-222 WATER LEAK SENSOR
The Insteon Water Leak Sensor, like the SmartThings sensor, is just a basic water detector, but the company says the battery lasts 10 years. You need an Insteon system to use this one. $35.
This article was originally published on January 13, 2015 and was updated on May 4, 2015.
Scott Morrison says
You left out one of the most versatile systems available for leak detection and automatic water shutoff – WaterCop Pro. These systems, designed for various types of installations, are your best defense against water leaks. See FloodCop.com for complete explanations.
grant clauser says
Thanks for pointing that out Scott. I made this list up from products I saw at CES, but yours looks like a good one to check out too.
Joseph C Pittman says
Is there a battery operated sensor that alarms if a predetermined level is reached in a kitchen sink ?
Jaime GonzÃƒÂ¡lez says
I have a plastic (round) water tank in the house basement. I am in search for an alarm to alert when the water reach the minimum level required to avoid damages to the water pump installed.
Tim Yorty says
Why not just install a submersible sump pump and set the float to the level you want?
Floodcop product comment mentioned by Scott M. above looks great except for one problem; Expensive!
Adam Bockler says
This is a great idea. I grew up in the Northwest. We received a tremendous amount of rainfall each year. Some areas had to be especially careful during the spring when the snow started to melt as well. Having a water leak detection system can help you know when if there is a problem quickly and how to address it. This could potentially save a lot of structural and water damage to your property. http://www.flologic.com/
Josh Sorenson says
Check out Level Sense Pro which monitors for water leaks as well as power failure, failed sump pumps, temperature and humidity. Its an economical device the sends alarms directly to your phone via text.
Yes, I too have checked and found some smart home technologies that make things easy. Eddy Home was one of the technologies I checked out and I found that their products are helpful in saving water and detecting water leaks.
I liked wally and want to buy it for the rest of water leak detectors.
Scott Steiger says
Also check out Wifi Septic and Sump Pump Alarm We are using their Wi-Fi Enabled Products for Septic and Sump Monitoring.
Paul Brown says
If you are not “Tech” savvy, who do you contact for installation?
Lisa Montgomery says
There are many professional home systems integrators who can help you with your project. Check out our dealer directory
I am looking for a device that I attach to my piping that detects a leak in the piping. Can anyone help?
Hello Jason. FloLogic makes a flow-based leak detecting smart valve that automatically shuts off the water when a leak is detected. Being flow-based, it catches leaks anywhere in plumbing supply, as small as a drip per second, up to high flow leaks. Sensors only detect leaks if they are producing water where the sensor happens to be. More info to be found at http://www.flologic.com
Full disclosure, I work for FloLogic. We are always available to help educate the public on options for comprehensive leak detection with auto shutoff.
Looking for one either battery powered or with battery backup that will send text and/or email and does not require a hub. Anything like this out there?
leakSMART has a battery backup and can alert the user via text as well as other contacts via email (plumber, neighbor, etc). It does have a hub, though you can use other smart home devices as the hub.
Brittany Watson says
You could try the Honeywell Water Leak Detector. It comes with a cord, batteries and sends a notification alert via email and an app. It’s also super easy to install – check it out 🙂