Has anyone tried Flo or can recommend any other smart water leak detection system?

We have had it installed for several months and it remains in learning mode. Their support is a joke and they keep referring us to the same article that explains the initial learning mode. We are ready to remove it and put a real system in. It’s cheap, but in our opinion NOT effective. Keep looking, I would definitely pass on this product.

On the other hand, I had a really good experience with support.
A couple of months ago my device stopped working after a storm. I tested the power supply and it was good so the issue was with the device. I called them, told them about my findings and they sent me a new one. Just like that. Problem solved in less than 10 minutes.

On a side note yesterday morning it warned me about a small leak.
I checked everything in the house and one of my toilets did have a teeny tiny leak that I would never know about (and this early) without this device.

Bottom line for me is: it won’t do what most of what us would like it to do.
It won’t respond and shut off the water as fast as we would like it to but… considering there are no many options out there… at this point getting some protection is better than having no protection at all.

This is a nice way to put it however I’m starting to think it may take over 20 minutes in same cases, depending on what the device think is normal at your home.

I noticed after it learned our showers go over 20 minutes (and stopped warning me about it), it now lets me use the water hose for over 20 minutes without a warning as well.

So you will have water damage even when using the device.
It may minimize the damage by a lot but won’t prevent it.
My only comfort is knowing that if it will shut off the water in less than one hour instead of leaving it running from several hours or even a whole weekend if I’m not home so is is better than nothing.

Yes, you are correct that the cut off time is based on behavior, so it can run longer. Moen Flo now do sell far more expensive (than other brands) water sensors that can cut off the water. Theirs is about 5 times more expensive than the Samsung SmartThings sensors and rely on the Internet. If your Internet is down or out because of the leak, you are screwed. A local hub, like the incredible Hubitat, does not need the Internet for operation. Hubitat supports many of the standards like z=wave, zigbee, and other technologies to allow them to work together. It instantly closes my Dome z-wave valve when the sensors detect water. Hubitat can work with other sensors to function as a self monitored burglar alarm and control for all other home automation. The Samsung water sensors are cheap and small so they can be placed anywhere - I bought 13 to cover every possible spot water could come from. I had 2 leaks within a week and I don’t want that hell again.

I live in the UK so the choices are very limited.

There seem to be basically two types of devices, the water flow measurement type like Moen and Phyn, and the actual leak detection type like LeakSmart.

Currently none of Moen, Phyn or LeakSmart are available in the UK.

I had a personal preference for the leak detection type of product and was particularly impressed by LeakSmart. (There are others including simple Z-Wave solutions.) Like others have indicated it seems the water flow approach seems to result in the leak having to be active for a number of minutes before the valve will decide to shut off. This applies to Phyn as well.

There is an unmentioned or at least not clearly mentioned here bonus of the water flow approach which is the ability to measure water usage. Here in the UK the majority of water meters - if you have one not all properties do, are located at the edge of your property under the public footpath and therefore impossible to regularly monitor.

The Phyn whilst currently not available in the UK is now at least already available in some European countries. This is down to the fact that two of the major investors in Phnn are Belkin and Uponer. Belkin is obviously a global firm with sales in the UK and Europe but Uponer is a European firm. They both are therefore working to expand availability throughout Europe and to the UK.

There have been some prior indications that Phyn would add HomeKit support, however I am taking that with a very large pinch of salt. If they did then it would make it much easier to link a traditional (HomeKit) water leak sensor and have it trigger the shutoff valve well before the perhaps several minutes its flow rule would do so. EveHome make a suitable leak sensor as does Fibaro but neither make a valve so they in this scenario would be a good pairing. Obviously a similar result could be achieved using HomeBridge. This approach unlike IFTTT would not be affected by Internet failures.

So, LeakSmart would still be one I might consider - if it was available and sadly they seem to have no interest at all in entering the European market. Otherwise Phyn is what I am considering.

Note: I had no plans to get the Phyn Plus which is far too bulky. However they have announced the Phyn XL 1.5 which is much more svelte. :wink: It should also be much cheaper.

I spoke with different people at Flo (before getting it) and I was told the protection is there even when the internet is down. As customer service they don’t know enough to explain it in more details.

From an engineering perspective it is possible.
The (AI) model can be “trained” at the cloud and then pushed to the device periodically - when there are changes to it.

Then the device itself can run it even when disconnected.
Considering the price, I assumed the device had the capability to do so.
Nowadays this kind of stuff is cheap, for example, there are $100 video cameras that can detect people without dependency on the cloud (by running a model locally).

Anyway, i will test it and post the result in here.

I never considered Phyn but it looks like a great option.
The fact that it is owned by a technology company is already a bonus for me.

This comparison is bias (Phyn website) but it says they don’t have a subscription which is a big plus.
They may be around $200 more expensive but you would spend that in about 3 years of Flo subscription so in a long run it is cheaper.

https://www.phyn.com/phyn-vs-flo/

Now back to cloud, sensors and hub integration.
If they to expose an API it will most likely be through the cloud - for some weird reason device manufactures don’t like local APIs, even though Philips Hue has been doing this forever.

So at the end, even if they say it is compatible with SmartThings, if it is cloud based it won’t be safe enough.

I use IFTTT to change Flo’s mode to “Away” when I put the house into night mode and away mode which causes it to shut off almost instantly when water is used.

Overall I’m happy with it, but mine has been driving me nuts lately because it’s been telling me I have a small leak almost every day for over a month and I can’t locate it.

It rarely detects anything when I run the test manually and the automatic test schedule is constantly changing which is making it even harder to find. I think I’ve narrowed it down to my upstairs bathroom, but I’m not seeing or hearing any signs of a leak and since it’s not happening every time I run the test, I’m not confident enough that there’s an issue to start opening up the walls…

I’ve owned mine for over a year and been very pleased with it. My insurance gives me a 10% discount on my homeowner’s for having it. I don’t pay for the extra subscription, I don’t really think it is worth it.

I can confirm that it will shut off the water very quickly (1 toilet flush) if it is in away mode, but it takes some time in normal mode. This shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone. I can also confirm it works normally even if it doesn’t have internet access. Finally, I can confirm that you CAN use your water when flo is trying to do a leak test. The valve is closed during a test, but it will see a sudden pressure drop when water is turned on somewhere. It will then cancel the test, open the valve, and resume “normal” operation. There will be a very short delay while the valve opens back, but it isn’t very noticable.

So far, the flo has notified me about water pressure issues, and I realized I had a faulty pressure regulator. I also added a thermal expansion tank. It has notified me of a few small leaks. These leaks are always hard to track down, but usually end up being a faucet or toilet issue.

I used to get several false alerts, but I think Moen has adjusted the detection algorithms. I might get one false alarm per month. It has always been when both clothes and dishes are being washed AND one or more showers are being used.

So could you use a leak sensor and a virtual switch to put it into away mode and that should shut it off quickly?

I’ve had Flo for about two years now. Although I like the ability to quickly shut off water in an emergency, my experience with it hasn’t been so rosy. I had it installed before my irrigation T because I wanted to track my lawn watering usage. I also want to know if there is a leak in the sprinkler main as that’s bit me several times before.

The problem is that flo has never learned my irrigation schedule or usage. 100% of the time my irrigation fires, flo shuts off water 10 minutes into the first cycle. Because I have a smart irrigation (Rachio), the schedule times are not always the same, which probably confuses flo more. Further, they are usually early in the morning and my phone is in night mode (I don’t want to be woken up with the sprinklers at 5am, sorry).

I’ve fought with them over this for two summers now and they promise to be working to fix it. BTW, before I installed the meter I confirmed with them that putting it before the irrigation was acceptable.

I see mentions of IFTTT here but there is a major flaw in their ‘integration’. They do now allow IFTTT to set Flo into ‘Sleep’ mode. If they would simply allow that integration then I could have Rachio put Flo to sleep during watering cycles and back to ‘awake’ (Home or Away) when it finishes. To me this seems pretty clean and foolproof - I don’t trust they can solve this with their ‘smart’ algorithms. It frustrates me to no end that they haven’t done this. It’s a cool concept and nice to see my water usage and have the ability to shut off water (esp when I’m away) but I think they need to address this.

Update: I finally found the leak that it’s been warning me about.

I have a low flow toilet which has a container suspended at the top of the tank and if the toilet isn’t flushed for a long time then the leak causes the water to rise 1/4" and overflow the container, but it only drips once every 15-30 seconds.

I’m really impressed that it was able to detect a leak that small.

Happened to me a couple of times (really small leaks in the toilets).
I found the easiest way to deal with it is to go to all toilet tanks and add a few drops of food coloring to the water and then wait about an our. If there is even a really small leak, the water in the tank will start show the color.

In some cases I all had to do was to clean around the flapper/seal and it stopped.
As you said, it is very impressive when it comes to what it can detect during its nightly routine.

… and they announced they’re killing their IFTTT integration (effective 8/14/20), a matter of weeks after I spent ~$1k to have one installed. I sent an email asking about an API or any other method to close or open the valve outside of their app. I’m not expecting a satisfactory answer, since it seems they are pulling away from third party support in favor of expanding first party product options. I’m beyond frustrated because the entire reason I purchased the device was to automate water shut off during the winter when my ski rental cabin is unoccupied.

I use FortrezZ’s zwave flow meter and certain smartapps/automations to turn off my Leaksmart water valve when flow is detected when I’m away, or for other flow conditions. Works great, and I’ve caught contractors using my water while I wasn’t home when our neighbor’s house was being build.

The DTH works great with the Classic app, and it works with the new app EXCEPT it’s a power/energy meter vs a water meter. The DTH needs to be rewritten for the new app’s capabilities, and I probably won’t have time to work on that for a long time. The good news is that even though the new app can’t leverage all those tiles that Classic has, the capabilities are still available and exposed in SmartApps and Automations.

Sorry, I feel horrible about recommending this product on the SmartThings and Hubitat forums.

I can understand their decision to discontinue IFTTT if most customers weren’t using it because it’s really expensive, but people like you purchased the device based on their claim that they offer IFTTT so for them to discontinue that service with less than 1 months notice is completely unacceptable.

I personally think they should refund all the customers that purchased it recently or at the very least give them a year free of their paid monitoring service since you’re losing the ability to monitor it the way you expected.

You might want to return it. If you didn’t have them install a bypass with it then maybe they’ll let you keep the fittings and bypass tube it comes with and just return the device.

I had the original version of the device which they were discontinuing so they sent me one to replace it with. I don’t mess with plumbing, but it was literally just turning off the water, unscrewing 2 bolts, sliding the old one out, sliding the new one in, tightening the bolts, and turning the water back.

It looks like the device is currently around $400 so for that price you could probably buy (2) clamp-on zigbee/z-wave water shut-off valves, a UPS, and a hub that supports local execution. You’d need to have 2 valves on the main line that you could attach them to, but it would give you that redundancy in case either hub failed.

Assuming a UPS can safely power a hub and the valve then the hub with local execution could still close the valve if a z-wave/zigbee water sensor detects a leak while the power and internet is out…

I agree that they probably won’t do anything, but the ST APIs are well documented now and the developer portal makes it easy to publish integrations so I’m hoping they’ll look into that. That won’t help people on other hubs, but it might help you.

FLO has an Alexa skill and Alexa routines support water sensors as triggers so I figured that would be a viable alternative to IFTTT, but the damn FLO skill doesn’t allow you to control the valve or change the mode which renders the skill useless.

It looks like the skill was launched in 2018 and the first review looks like the typical positive review posted by an employee, but the other 9 reviews spanning over the last 2 years requested the ability to control the device and FLO still hasn’t added that functionality so I wouldn’t hold your breathe.

I too purchased a Flo by Moen and was really peeved to get the email saying they were cancelling IFTTT support/integration less than a month after I had my Flo installed. Grrr!

I Google’d to see if there was an API and found this thread on another smarthub’s forum.

“After looking at the web app, it appears that the Flo uses a straightforward REST API for control (but possibly Firebase for the realtime data). I cobbled together a basic driver that replaces the IFTTT capabilities (update valve state, set the device mode).”

Anyone here capable of creating a Smartthings integration?

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That’s a nightmare lads :frowning:

To the OPs question, other options would be a Z-Wave bulldog valve robot which you could install and integrate with SmartThings. It’s not as smart as the other systems though as you’d need some water sensors to trigger it to automatically close.

If there was a particular spot you were concerned about leaking then you could drop a sensor there - Might do the trick.

If you didn’t need it integrated with ST, Guardian and Grohe have standalone systems worth looking at - https://www.smarthomeperfected.com/automatic-water-shut-off-valves/

LeakSmart definitely looks a good shout as can work with ST

Your findings give me hope, but how do we get someone familiar with Smarthings development to get us a functioning integration. I consider the built in ‘logic’ of Flo to be a bonus feature, but nothing actually useful in preventing a water damage claim. The tie in to water sensors is a must, and I am not going to purchase their locked down stuff. I doubled the amount of water sensors I had in place around my house after having Flo installed as I assumed IFTTT was here to stay. I also would have never purchased this if I thought it could not integrate. So far Flo has yet to even give me a generic reply when I complained about them dropping support.

I got a reply from Flo support after complaining about them dropping IFTTT. This brings hope that something will be officially supported, but that doesn’t mean it won’t take someone in the community to develop the integration.

Thank you for contacting Flo! I apologize that IFTTT integration is no longer available with our device. Based on homeowners feedback during the past few weeks our development team is working on an alternative to IFTTT. We will provide updates on this as they become more readily available but it is a priority for us. Please contact us if there are additional questions that we can assist you with. Thank you for your patience and have a great day!

Any update on an API for Flo?

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