Review: Flo by Water Secure Co monitors your whole home’s plumbing with automatic shutoff and smart phone control
Smart home devices can improve our lives in a variety of ways but most of them don’t have the ability to protect our abodes from thousands of dollars of damage. While a smart water shutoff device isn’t something you hear near as much about assmart lights,locks,cameras, etc. it’s an addition that can offer some serious peace of mind with automatic leak protection and the ability to control your home’s water main from your iPhone. And another benefit is being able to track how much water you use, even down to the fixture type. Read on for our full review of theFlo by Water Secure Co Smart Water ShutoffandSmart Water Detector.
After my wife’s family had a basement water leak that ended up causing $15,000 in damage a bit ago I started researching potential solutions that could prevent events like that. I came across the Flo by Water Secure Co Smart Water Shutoff and was eager to give it a try.
What does the Flo by Water Secure Co Smart Water Shutoff do?
iPhone control to shut off the water of your entire home from anywhere is just one part of Flo by Water Secure Co. The real magic is the combination of the great iPhone app along with the Flo software that continually monitors your water pipes.
Here’s how Water Secure Co describes how Flo works:
The Smart Water Shutoff has three sensors that actively monitor water flow, pressure, and temperature. These sensors, in combination with the Smart Water Shutoff’s algorithms, are what enable Flo by Water Secure Co to detect and protect the home from problems like leaks, burst pipes and more!
The really impressive part about all of this is that a singleFlo Smart Water Shutoffdevice can detect even the smallest leaks — down to 1 drop an hour — at every fixture in your house.
A recent study found that homes with the Flo Smart Water Shutoff saw a96% decrease in water damage insurance claimscompared to homes without the smart device. Further, statistics show that water damage in homes is 5x more likely than theft and 6x more likely than fire damage.
In addition to the automated proactive protection and control of your water main from your iPhone with theFlo app, this Smart Water Shutoff offers detailed tracking of your water use that can even tell you how much you’re using by fixture type.
The Flo Smart Water Shutoff is available for a range of sizes for main water lines. Unless you’ve got some good plumbing experience and the necessary tools, you’ll want to have a professional install the device.
Flo can be used with copper, PEX, CPVC, galvanized, and pretty much any other type of water main. In our case, our plumber also installed quarter-turn manual shutoffs before and after Flo to make it easy if we ever need to do any maintenance in the future.
After you get the Flo Smart Water Shutoff installed, you’ll go through the initial set up process on theiPhoneorAndroidapp.
You start by entering what type of home you have, how many floors, what type of plumbing, etc.
Next, you’ll give more details about your appliances, set a water consumption goal, and get Flo hooked up to your Wi-Fi.
After you get Flo all set up, you’ll start to see water usage, can check water pressure and temperature but it will be in a “Learning Mode” for about a week. That means the auto-shutoff feature won’t start working until it understands your water usage habits.
The core features of the Flo Smart Water Shutoff don’t require any extra cost beyond theone-time purchaseof the device.
Here’s how the app looks once you’re up and running.
In the third screenshot above, you’ll notice Flo detected the water pressure drop as our plumber did some work.
Flo does an automatic health test every morning in addition to the 24/7 monitoring of your water lines. You’ll see if you any critical alerts at the top of the app’s homescreen.
Also shown above is the detailed water use by fixture. You can the app offers super granular data like the shower running for 6 minutes and 23 seconds.
So far, Flo has detected one instance of unusual water activity in our home. It ended up being our water softener tanks that were going through a cleaning cycle. It’s an irregular event so Flo automatically shut off our water main.
The app offers great options to continue receiving alerts for events like the one that was triggered in the future or ignore them for a certain period of time.
And if for any reason the Smart Water Shutoff isn’t responding (power outage, etc.) you can manually shut it off.
Flo by Water Secure Co Smart Water Detector
Another product in the Flo lineup is theSmart Water Detector. This can be used with the Smart Water Shutoff or on its own.
It’s super easy to install and detects if you have any leaks at a single fixture/location with a water-sensing disc on a four-foot cable. It’s great for places you’d like to keep an eye on leaks from your drains as the Smart Water Shutoff is just monitoring your water supply lines.
If you do want to use it with the Smart Water Shutoff, it can act as a trigger to shut off your water main.
You can dial in custom alert settings for the Smart Water Detector for humidity, room temp, and low battery warnings (in a nice touch, Moen includes an extra battery in the box).
Once it’s set up you’ll see the Smart Water detector(s) as another device in the Flo app.
You’ve probably noticed by now, there’s no AppleHomeKitsupport here. While that’s a deal-breaker for me for a lot of smart home devices like lights, locks, and cameras, I haven’t found it to be a downside with Flo by Water Secure Co. My guess is that HomeKit doesn’t support the level of detail and functionality that these devices offer. However, if you do use Alexa, Google Assitant, or IFTTT, Flo does support those platforms.
As for why the lack of HomeKit support doesn’t bother me, automated protection is what Flo does best. A smart water shutoff isn’t something you turn on and off like a smart light or need to check in on as much as you would a smart camera. The value here comes from the peace of mind that Flo is monitoring your plumbing 24/7 and can act on its own to stop a leak. When you do want to dive into your water usage habits and other details, the Flo iPhone app offers a polished experience.
After spending over a month with the Flo by Water Secure Co smart devices, I wholeheartedly recommend picking them up. I think they offer great value and the Smart Water Shutoff provides the major advertised features even if you don’t want to pay for the $5/month FloProtect extras.