THE BEST WATER LEAK DETECTORS FOR SMART HOMES

Fire can be the homeowner’s biggest fear, but any insurance company will tell you that water is by far the most common cause of property damage, even if you don’t live in a flood prone area. And it can come from many sources: A faulty water heater, a broken pipe, a faulty plumbing under the sink, a clogged toilet or even a split hose connected to your washing machine.

Just as it is necessary to have a smoke detector in each of the bedrooms and common areas of the house, it would be wise to install leak detectors in places where water damage could start: laundry room, water heater, bathroom, sink under your kitchen and so on. . Leak warnings are probably less important to renters, but something tenant owners might consider – though that raises the question of how sensors connect to the Internet. About that later.

If you think a leak sensor is something your home should have, here are our top choices. If you would like more information on this topic and would like to read more reviews, scroll down a little.

Updated February 10, 2020 to add our review of Flume Smart Water Monitor. While this unit cannot shut off your water to prevent catastrophic water damage, the plumber does not need to install and provide great insight into your water usage and can alert you to leaks. It is also significantly cheaper than systems that do this by being able to turn off the water supply.

THE BEST CONVENTIONAL WATER LEAK DETECTOR

Water Detection and Freezing Vi-Fi Honeivell Liric
Honeivell’s Liric water leak and a free detector alert you to three conditions that can cause problems in your home: water leaks, freezing temperatures and high humidity. The network is easy to implement, but its biggest drawback is that it cannot be integrated into any smart home system.

Although the most expensive sensor we’ve tested ($ 80), the Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi water leak and freeze detector is the most powerful and easiest to set up. It works via Wi-Fi and connects directly to your router without the need for a smart home center. In addition to alerting you to water leaks, Liric can also alert you to freezing temperatures and high humidity, which can lead to other problems.

Lyric has one major drawback that could be a job violation for enthusiasts: It cannot be integrated into the wider smart home system. Doing so can cause water to leak, but it cannot communicate with the smart water valve to shut off water at the source. But Honeywell’s sensor can’t be beaten on the basics.

RUNNER UP

Love’s Utilitech flood sensor
The Utilitech water leak detector is very cheap and can be installed in any Z-Wave hub of smart homes. But his own siren is too quiet to use and must be mounted on a vertical surface.

This was a difficult call as the Utilitech water leak detector has some major drawbacks. The battery life is only one year, and the sensor must be mounted on a wall or other vertical surface, making it a hassle and limiting its placement.

On the other hand, it only costs $ 30, you can deploy them in multiple quantities, and it works with most Z-Vave smart home hubs. Utilitech is Love’s brand, so we’ve been testing ever since the removal of Iris from Love’s system.

HONORABLE MENTION
What sets the Wackman LeakSmart hub-based sensor apart from the rest is that the company also makes a smart water shut-off valve ($ 135 on Amazon), which we haven’t tested (most people would like the component to be professionally installed). However, there is a huge advantage over other sensors that require more complex valve settings or do not offer these controls at all.

In addition to that version, the LeakSmart sensor also works with Wink (but not Samsung’s SmartThings). This is also one of several options we tested that measure temperature as well as moisture. But at $ 69, it’s expensive for a sensor that requires a separate center.

THE BEST HOME LEAK DETECTION SYSTEM IN THE WHOLE HOME

Phin Plus
The Phin Plus smart water valve is expensive even after the recent $ 200 price cut, but this class of device can prevent costly water damage in your home and help you use your precious resource smarter. Not having a fixed subscription cost is a major plus.

This type of product has a more holistic approach to preventing water leakage. Instead of placing sensors near leaking devices, taps, and fixtures, products in this category analyze your water system at the main inlet that comes into your home to find anomalies. If they detect a leak, they can shut off the water supply to prevent catastrophic damage.

This is currently a very small category, with only two players in the consumer market that we are aware of: Phin and its Phin Plus device ($ 699), and Flo Technologies and its Flo bi Moen product ($ 499). Both products are expensive, but Flo has an optional subscription plan that adds $ 60 a year to the price of the product. This is one of the reasons why we prefer Phin Plus.

RUNNER UP

Flo bi Moen
Flora protects your home from water damage caused by slow leaks and catastrophic breakdowns, and will also warn you of waste in the water. But it is expensive and will not alert you to collecting water where it should not.

There are some features of the Flo Technologies’ Flo bi Moen smart valve that we actually prefer over Phin Plus, namely, its ability to call robo alerts to potential problems with your water system before shutting it down – but we found Phin Plus to be a little more sophisticated . Yes, Phin Plus is more expensive, but Phin does not charge a subscription to achieve the highest possible value of its product.

THE BEST DII LEAK DETECTION SYSTEM IN THE ENTIRE HOME

Smart smart water monitor
Flume is a rare smart home product that has equal parts that are functional and comfortable – and could save you a few bucks to raise.

You can’t turn off the water supply if it detects a leak, but it costs hundreds less than the system can, and you won’t need to cut into a water pipe – or hire a plumber – to install it. This simple device also provides valuable insight into your water use and will help you reduce it.

HOW WE TESTED
To measure the efficiency of each sensor, we placed it on a tile in the bathroom, and then poured enough water to cover the surface of that tile. Most sensors responded immediately, although Honeywell Lyric routinely delayed the alarm for about 30 seconds, which we noticed in our full review.

We measured the alarm volume using the Decibel 10 app on the iPhone 6 Plus, and the microphone was aimed at the sensor from a distance of six inches. In addition to empirical testing, the volume of Honeywell Lyric was subjectively much louder than other sensors.

We did not directly test integrations with other smart home devices, but reviewed each of the companion applications and the IFTTT internet service for available features. We have consulted instructions and product lists to estimate battery life and device dimensions.

Editor’s Note : This test methodology does not apply to leak detection systems that monitor your water supply network, such as Flo bi Moen, Sinope Sedna, and Phin Plus.

THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN SHOPPING
You may be surprised by the different approaches to what seems like a simple task: detecting the presence of water where it should not. Some work on Vi-Fi, others need a hub to communicate. Some plug into a wall outlet, others require a battery. Some come with external sensor cables and are wall mounted, others lie on the floor. Most, but not all, have built-in sirens.

If the above recommendations do not work for you, here are the specifications and features you would like to consider when purchasing a smart home water leak detector.

Hub Requirements: Linei and D-Link Honeivell sensors work on Vi-Fi as well, so you don’t need additional products to work. Other products, such as the Fibaro Flood Sensor and Insteon Water Leak Sensor, require a hub to connect to the internet and applications on your phone.

fibarosensorfront Jared Nevman
Hub-based sensors, such as this Fibaro flood sensor, can be integrated into wider smart home systems.

Connection protocols: If you already own the center, you must make sure that the sensor uses a compatible connection protocol. Fibaro, for example, uses Z-Wave, which works with SmartThings and Wink hubs. Insteon sensors only work with Insteon hubs (one of which is compatible with Apple’s HomeKit technology). If you have a famous hub like Vink, SmartThings or Iris bi Love’s, you’ll probably see those names on the sensor box.

Integrations: Some hubs, such as Wink, SmartThings, and Insteon, allow you to automate actions on other devices when a leak occurs. This way you can activate the lights, turn on the cameras or activate the alarm. (Iris bi Love also supports this, but only with a $ 10 / month subscription.) Vink, SmartThings and D-Link also support IFTTT, a service that lets you automate tasks between connected devices and services. Sensors that communicate with water valves can shut off your main water supply to stop leaks.

Size and expandability: Where do you plan to place your leak sensor? If you are short on space, make sure the sensor is small enough to fit or offers a sensor cable to extend the range.

Built-in siren: If you do not plan to place the sensor far from where you can normally hear it, it is useful to have a siren. This way, you will still be notified at home even when the Internet is down.

Additional built-in sensors: Some leakage sensors can measure other environmental conditions that can cause problems to their extreme limits, such as temperature (a frozen pipe can burst and cause catastrophic water damage) and moisture (excessive humidity in the air can allow mold to growing).

Power Source: Most leakage sensors are battery powered, but some, such as D-Link’s Vi-Fi water sensor, depend on AC power. An ideal sensor with a backup battery powered in the event of a power outage would be ideal; unfortunately, they are rare.

Editor’s note: Mel Nussbaum, owner of a tap water utility in Overland Park, Kansas, emailed this helpful tip to prevent water damage from bursting frozen pipes: “If you turn off the main water service valve [you’ll] never have a problem and two minutes of your time [will] cost you nothing. As long as you are warned and forced to take action, you will continue to suffer enormous damage. “

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