Clean water has become scarce and expensive throughout the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, approximately one trillion gallons of water is wasted yearly from household leaks. To put this number into perspective, this is the approximate amount of water used by more than eleven million homes annually!
Leaks are a problem for several reasons. Not only do they cause waste and drive up the cost of your water bill, but water damage can be expensive to repair. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can leak as much as 250 gallons of water in a single day. The average cost of drying out your property – with no further damage or restoration needed – averages around $2,700 nationally. If you need to repair drywall or carpeting, this can cost up to $7,500. Not to mention, leaks can also cause fires if they come in contact with electrical outlets, encourage the growth of mold and mildew, and can cause wood or other organic materials to rot.
Given this, it’s recommended that every home have a reliable system to detect leaks as soon as they happen. Traditionally, leak detection relied on an alarm system. Leak detectors would be placed in areas of the home that were most likely to experience leaks, like underneath sinks or behind toilets. The problem with this system is that a leak can occur anywhere in the plumbing system, not just where the water sensor was placed.
Today, the best way to catch leaks is by using a smart leak detector. These smart devices monitor the flow of water in the home, catching leaks as they start. Here are a few of our favorite smart water devices we’ve installed:
When you flush a toilet or run the dishwasher, the pressure in your plumbing changes. The Phyn Plus monitors your plumbing system for microscopic water pressure changes 240 times a second to create individual profiles of your water fixtures and a baseline of your overall usage. This allows it to learn when you’re using a faucet or watering the lawn versus when there’s a leak. Once the Phyn learns your personal plumbing profile, it will enable an auto-shutoff feature that allows you to turn your water off directly from your phone. In addition, it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT.
The Phyn gives you insights about your water usage, allowing you to spot trends about how much water you’re using. On average, most people can save approximately 10% on their water bills using this system. It also comes with a “Plumbing Check” diagnostic feature, which looks for tiny leaks within your plumbing system when you’re not likely to be using water. The Phyn will alert you to any type of leak – from pinhole leaks behind walls to frozen pipes in your attic. As a bonus, some insurance companies offer policy discounts for having the Phyn in your home.
The Moen Flo works similarly to the Phyn Plus. The Flo is installed in-line on your main water supply line, which allows it to monitor all the water going into your home. The Smart Water Shutoff uses three sensors and a series of algorithms to actively monitor water flow, pressure, and temperature. The MicroLeak™ feature runs daily proactive tests to identify and notify you of any leaks in your plumbing system. The Flo can detect leaks as small as a drop per minute, which might be unnoticeable until you discover mold growth or water damage.
Your smartphone acts as your interface, allowing you to get alerts, remotely shut off your water, view water consumption, or contact your plumber directly for repairs. If you don’t have your phone with you, the Flo will automatically shut off the main water line. The Flo conveniently integrates with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT, and comes with a 1-year limited warranty covering manufacturer’s defects. Moen also offers an optional subscription call FloProtect, which provides an insurance deductible guarantee. If the Flo device fails to protect the home from catastrophic water damage, FloProtect will reimburse up to $2,500 of the insurance deductible.
StreamLabs Smart Home Water Monitor
StreamLabs Smart Home Water Monitor uses ultrasonic technology for 24/7 real-time leak monitoring. The device doesn’t require pipe cutting or tools – it conveniently zip ties directly to the pipe on your main water line, automatically detecting the size and type of your pipe. StreamLabs works by sending soundwaves directly into your water line, then recording the time delay to measure the water flow. It monitors everything from usage to leaky pipes, appliance failure, freezing conditions, and running toilets. StreamLabs also includes an “away” setting for when you’re not at home. This is useful for vacations or weekends away, as it will monitor and notify you if there is any water flow for longer than 15 seconds.
StreamLabs allows you to monitor your system from your smartphone and is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Nest. Unlike the Flo or Phyn, you can’t turn your water off remotely, however, you’ll have access to live and historical water usage stats, a leak alert history, freeze alerts, and comparative usage chart. The app also remembers your settings, so you can use it even if WiFi isn’t available. StreamLabs comes with a 2-year full product warranty and 3 months free of StreamPlus, a subscription that gives you access to a range of additional features, including the ability to monitor and control more than two locations and an extended 5-year warranty.
Smart water leak detectors are an easy and affordable way to protect your home from water damage and expensive repairs. They’re also a great way to be more eco-friendly and reduce your water bills! At PECO, we regularly install these devices and can help you select the best one for your needs. Give us a call at 864-639-2424 or schedule your appointment online.