1 Major Success Outweighs a Multitude of Minor Failures

OK…now it’s official…for me, in my specific case, in spite of the vast array of ways in which SmartThings has been a huge disappointment to me for a while now, I just experienced one major success that really matters…

Though I had been looking at and drooling over the idea of Home Automation (and specifically, SmartThings) for a long time, the impetus that finally pushed the finance officer over the edge to get on my side of things was when our water heater busted. We had a small creek flowing in the basement, and I decided right there and then to never be caught so off-guard again.

So, while waiting for somebody to come and fix/replace the water heater (which, by the way, ended up being me doing the replacement job myself after considering the options), since I wasn’t sure yet exactly what was wrong and it may be a week or so before somebody was going to be able to take a look, we decided to get a v1 ST Hub and a leak detector (i.e. the water heater was ‘leaking’, but not 100% opened up yet; the bulk of the water was still in the tank).

After that, I got a few more leak detectors for various places around the house. One of the places was the inside-bottom of our furnace (one time, the drain for our AC unit got clogged, and caused water to drip down into the furnace/fan compartment, settling in the bottom, below the fan, and started coming out the bottom. After unclogging the AC’s drain, I put a water sensor in the bottom of that compartment below the fan to make sure to catch it earlier if it ever happens again.

Well, it happened again, last night. This time though, since I had the detector in there, I was able to get on it before it got out of hand. Of course, I now need to go figure out what I need to do to stop it from doing this (whatever it is that needs to be done to prevent an AC unit’s drain from clogging), but the primary takeaway from this leak detection event is that SmartThings saved me from a complete furnace melt-down/replacement (i.e. due to the path the water takes between the AC compartment through the furnace fan and mainboard compartment down to the compartment below the fan, water was dripping down some of the wires that are directly connected to the main circuit board). Oh ya…since we did our furnace replacement a couple years ago, I happen to know how many thousands of dollars an event like that could get into.

So, while I’m still baffled by the state of things in SmartThings Land, and I will continue to complain about all of that, this one success sure does put it all into perspective. Hopefully I will be able to allow it to condition (to some extent) how I express my frustrations about everything CRAZY going on around here. :slight_smile:

Thanks, SmartThings! :slight_smile:


Glad to hear you were able to catch your furnace pre-meltdown, since I know that can be an expensive repair – although it’s better in the Summer months, rather than the middle of Winter which I had to endure a couple of years ago… :slight_smile:

Nevertheless, I think it highlights the advantages of having a system in place that works reliably. If there had been an outage at the time of the alarm and you weren’t notified, the CFO would have pointed out that all your fancy gadgets were crap and should go in the garbage. :slight_smile:

If the hub was able to discuss these issues locally with the leak detector, and then notify you that something was up, regardless of the state of the ST cloud backend, that would be a significantly more robust safety net. I’m just saying…


I agree 100%!


I’ve said many times and I’ll say it again. This is the reason I and the rest of the SmartThings team is here! These stories drive us and make us strive even harder to make the best Smart Home platform in the world!

Thanks for sharing!


We just happened to be in the middle of an All Hands meeting when you shared this. The whole company got to hear it. As @slagle said, this is why we’re here.

Did the moisture sensor survive?


Indeed. Thanks again for all you do for us here in this Community, Tim.

Thanks, Gals/Guys. :slight_smile:

As for the sensor…
Since I had it in there this time, and since that meant that I got alerted much earlier (i.e. last time, the only way I knew it was happening was from the creek flowing across the floor), the water level only got up to about 1/4"-1/2" deep before I was able to get to it, and the sensor was only about that much under water.

I immediately took it out, opened it, removed the battery, wiped everything with a towel, shook it a few times in every direction, wiped more, put it all back together, and touched it to the still wet floor where the pool once stood in the bottom of the furnace compartment, and BAM!..got the leak detection alert again.

So, ya, I think it’s OK.

Thanks again! :slight_smile:


I thought leaks were local? Pretty sure they are, V2 hub of course.

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Yup… But you won’t get push or SMS text alerts on your phone, so be sure to have an Alarm device (or a colored bulb?) also with local DTH.

Even better… A smart whole home water valve too!


Here is Texas we pour bleach down the AC drain pipe once a month.


Cool when things work out.

dust and debris clogs the condensate drain line. Might need to adjust the filter and change it more often. Good reply about bleach to kill the mold buildup.

I had a dead mouse stop my drain 10years back. Now I monitor my pan, if the water gets up to 0.75 inch deep then send an alarm and stop the AC.

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Just wishful thinking but if a custom smartapp could be run locally, I could very easily have something that would communicate over lan and triggers a notification/SMS through one of my android control units (they are all equipped with a sim card)

I believe the environment supports local LAN operations via hubaction, but haven’t seen a useful implementation yet.

Oh but the app would then be cloud… I’m defeated. :confused:


Yup… At least from the outside perspective, if SmartThings could accelerate the publication of more SmartApps and DTHs to the Hub V2, it ought to bring a lot of benefits (resiliency and lower cloud load).

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I use this type battery operated alarm version and they have them at Lowes and HomeDepot for less than $12.

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I tried some of those before, but once I got the ST system up and running, I figured they weren’t needed anymore.

I guess that decision was a bit premature.

I’d really rather not be doubling up on things around here, but with things this important (water, fire, gas, etc), I suppose a redundant alerting mechanism may actually be recommended.