With smart water devices you can save water and prevent in-home floods
By Indiana Lee
You might have smart lights, smart security, and smart music, whereas the plumbing sector has lagged slightly behind in the emergence of smart home living. But connected homes and water conservation go together like peanut butter and jelly. That’s because fixing household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills, and the average home insurance claim for water damage and freezing is $11,098. With smart water devices, you can prevent in-home floods, reduce your water use, and save. A lot.
With smart water tech, you can cultivate a greener home at less cost and effort while doing your part for Mother Earth. Conserving water saves energy needed to filter, pump, and heat fresh water, reducing your carbon footprint. It also supports fresh-water wetland habitats for otters, waterbirds, insects, and fish. This is especially important in this era of droughts and habitat destruction.
By monitoring water usage, pressure, temperature, and more, smart water devices are revolutionizing home maintenance and efficiency. Additionally, smart water devices lend convenience via wifi, mobile apps, or voice control. Let’s explore some essential smart home water-saving devices that will change the way you think about personal sustainability. From leak detectors to faucets, these are the tools that will help you green your home water use.
Leak Detectors and Shutoffs
Imagine leaving home on vacation only to return to a massive flood. The pipes you didn’t even realize were leaking finally snapped, or burst due to freezing, resulting in a huge and expensive mess. A burst pipe inside your home can pour out 50 gallons per minute. Sadly, this happens much more often than you think, with one in 50 homes filing a water damage claim every year.
To combat this threat, smart water leak detectors and shutoffs can save your home and save water. By placing smart, palm-sized sensors near where leaks are likely to occur, you can find out immediately, rather than long after the water is wasted and the damage is done. With the help of an app or via your smart home ecosystem, you can get leak detection alerts sent to your phone and/or initiate automatic shut offs. Other smart water systems learn daily water flows and can communicate unusual activity indicating a leak. Some can initiate shutoff during a potentially catastrophic event.
We like Flo by Moen Smart Water Shutoff
Flo offers a whole-home system for preventing water waste and flood damage. This system detects leaks and temperature changes quickly so that you can address wasteful, costly problems. You can also purchase the components: Flo smart water leak detectors combined with the Smart Water Monitor and Shutoff, compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant.
Smart Hose Timers
Most homeowners use hoses to irrigate their yards or new plantings, or for some backyard fun. Hoses are huge consumers of water, however. And if you don’t shut them off when you’re finished, you’ll risk overwatering and the hefty bill that comes with it. Fortunately, smart water hose timers offer tons of advantages over the old mechanical timers.
We like the Orbit B-hyve XD Smart Hose Timer
The battery-operated product comes with a plug-in wi-fi hub that monitors multiple timers and their batteries. The smart hose timer attaches to your hose and spigot to regulate flow according to your programming, input via the smartphone app. WeatherSense technology means local drought and weather conditions are already accounted for.
Smart water shower tools are making this daily activity greener than ever. Digital shower controllers give you a connected and adjustable experience depending on your preferences, allowing you to control everything from temperature to time and water pressure. If you’re like me, you might get distracted waiting for the shower to warm up and waste too much water in the process. These devices can help you save by setting timers and tracking water usage.
We like the U Shower by Moen Smart Home Connected Bundle
The Moen Smart Shower can activate your shower via voice activation, smartphone app, and the in-shower controller. The app can create up to 12 personalized, named presets adjusting water temperature, shower timer, and notifications, so you have the perfect shower experience every time. The pause feature ensures you’re not wasting water during warmup.
Smart Sump Pump Monitors
A sump pump is a device that moves potential floodwaters out of an area such as a basement. Built into a dedicated basin in the foundation of your basement, these are instrumental in avoiding costly and wasteful damage from heavy rains or broken pipes. Though not strictly a smart water conservation effort, smart sump pumps can be, well… smart.
Advanced smart sump pumps monitors bring more confidence than ever by monitoring all the components in your primary and backup sump pumps, and periodically sending water into the sump. An audible alarm accompanies notifications via text, email, or smartphone app.
We like the PumpSpy WiFi Sump Pump Smart Outlet
Check out the PumpSpy for its extra-simple smart sump pump installation and free monitoring via wi-fi. All you have to do is install the smart outlet and connect it to wifi; then plug in your sump pump and install the high water sensor. It will monitor your sump pump for problems or a power outage, and you’ll get instant alerts via the app before your basement floods.
Smart water faucets simply replace traditional faucet models with the added benefit of sensory intelligence, automatic activation, and enhanced control. These devices are growing in popularity during the COVID era because they promote good hygiene by reducing cross-contamination via touch. Smart faucets also enable water conservation rates of up to 50% per year. This translates to incredible savings while you do your part to maintain our natural resources.
We like the Delta Faucet Trinsic VoiceIQ
For an exceptional touchless experience in your kitchen, Delta’s VoiceIQ Technology links to Alexa or Google Assistant to turn water on and off and even warm up via voice command. The handwash feature offers properly timed dispensing, and you can ask for a cup, a gallon, or just about any amount you might need to fill a container.
Elevate your bathroom experience with a smart toilet. A model with all the bells and whistles includes a heated seat, heated-water, adjustable bidet, dual auto flush, and touchless lid- and seat-raise. Though bidets seem like they use excess water, they are far more water efficient than the traditional toilet paper solution. Remember to get the remote control and nightlight.
Note that in 2019 Kohler debuted an $8000 Alexa-connected toilet that will flush on voice command (in addition to autoflush), but they are not yet available for purchase.
We like the Toto Washlet with Integrated Toilet
Though not technically a smart home device, there’s plenty to fall in love with. The lid automatically opens as you approach. But you control the temperature, pressure, and direction of the bidet spray (which self cleans when you’re finished). You may decide to save your preferences with the memory feature on the remote. Start the temperature-adjustable air flow for a quick dry. As you depart, the 3D Tornado flush saves water by automatically sensing the exact volume required (don’t ask me how), and the lid lowers as if to bid you a fond adieu.
Smart Water Usage Monitoring Devices
There are all kinds of smart water monitoring devices that make it easy to monitor and optimize your use of water from home or away. These devices hook right into your water system, sending alerts on everything from leaks to overuse. These tools come in various forms, some requiring professional installation because they tap right into your pipes.
We like the Flume 2 Smart Home Water Monitor
The Flume gives you smartphone oversight into your water use without plumbers or cutting pipes. It drills down to show water use by sinks, showers, and appliances. Custom weekly or daily water-use budgets let you monitor regular usage like irrigation schedules and accommodate irregular events like pool fillings and kids’ activities. Catch costly drips with custom leak notifications for peace of mind whether you’re at home or away. Do it all yourself and experience up to 20% savings per month on your water bill.
Lawn maintenance consumes an absurd amount of water. We hope you opt for sustainable landscaping choices to mitigate water consumption, but you’ll likely still need to water. Smart sprinkler systems, in conjunction with drip hoses, can give you a greener, and “greener,” yard. These tools range in terms of features and how easy it is to use the controls and automation. However, a smart water irrigation system and controller can be worth the investment with the proper considerations.
Smart sprinkler controllers make water conservation easy through features like hyper-local weather monitoring so you don’t over-water and integration with your other smart home environment. Check that your wi-fi will reach the control box location and be sure to ask about monitoring fees. Look for a manual control pad as well as voice control.
We like the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
This smart water device automatically creates watering schedules, while the mobile app lets you manage your sprinkler system from anywhere. By creating tailored schedules based on the specific needs of your plants, soil type, and sun exposure, Rachio claims that homeowners can save up to 30% to 50% on water bills. Be sure to combine it with a compatible wireless flow meter that detects expensive slow leaks, broken heads, and ruptured pipes.
The author: Indiana Lee is a freelance writer living in the Northwest with a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and explores the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Find her on Twitter @indianalee3.