Leak sensor practicalities


#1

I just bought my first ‘smart’ device specifically for use with the ‘smarthings’ hub. I bought the Samsung Smarthings Water Leak Sensor - https://shop.smartthings.com/products/samsung-smartthings-water-leak-sensor .

I got it, I paired it, it works. But it seems such a silly design. First of all, the ‘water sensor’ is simply two terminals on the base of the unit. So you have to place the sensor right where you would expect a leak - which would seem to jeopardize the sensor itself. If just a few drips fall, then it won’t damage the sensor but then it won’t likely trigger the detection either. Once you get enough water to flow under the device, one can only imagine that if you aren’t in a position to ‘fix’ the problem right away, the amount of water could be sufficient to perhaps damage the sensor itself (I bought this sensor to put in my ‘second home’ condo, where I’ve had plumbing leaks in the past; I’m often gone for weeks at a time).

I would have expected, at the very least, a cable that would have the sensor at one end, and be connected to the transmitter at the other end. That way, you could safely mount the transmitter box anywhere, and place the ‘sensor’ part where it could flood.

Further - it seems somewhat silly to have only 1 sensor per device. As I got to thinking of all the places where I could have leaks (have had leaks!), I’d have to buy 6 or 7 of these guys to do the job. It would seem logical that you could have one base ‘transmitter’ unit, with perhaps 3 or 4 cables, each with a sensor at the end, so you could sense (eg) water under the sink, water at the base of the toilet, etc. I’m not sure I want to fork out $40 per location when I can think of 6 or more locations where they could be useful. I’ve had leaks around windows during heavy storms; water heater leaks; under-sink leaks in the plumbing, etc.

Basically, are there better / more flexible sensors out there than the Samsung one?


Bulbs, switches and sensors, oh my....what to buy (device class features)
(Andy - United Kingdom) #2

There are much better/cheaper water detectors .
It rather depends on where you are…

I’m in the UK and use these (which I often buy on sale for £15.00)

https://www.maplin.co.uk/p/foxx-project-water-sensor-a76wa

These have a cable which is much better
And if you cut the plug off(which I frequently do) then you can use it with a relay or other physical switch to ‘add’ the switch/relay to smartthings

The actual sensor is just a two pronged plug connected to two wires.
I don’t see why you could not ‘lay’ bare wires across a larger area with a small gap in between and connect to this sensor.
That way, any water bridging between the cables would record ‘wet’

If you are in the US then I’m sure someone will suggest an alternative


(Brian) #3

Google is your friend, there are many cabled in the US.

I would add that I’m very confident that the SmartThings sensor would activate in any situation based on tests I’ve done. No matter how the water comes, it’s getting off an alert before it gets submerged.


#4

Steerpike:

I can see your point on their limitation. I bought many more than you to get decent coverage. There’s no way to predict, with certainty, where a leak will appear. We all probably think of the standard places to put these sensors (e.g., water heater, sinks, toilets, etc.) but there are other potential leak hazards, such as pinhole leaks, etc. This is one possibility:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/910764625/osiris-the-65-smart-water-monitor/comments

I don’t have this unit, yet, but it is supposed to listen to water flow within the pipes and give you alerts. If it works correctly, no matter where the leak is, this unit is supposed to find it and let you know. You may want to read more up on that product…apparently they are out of stock now, but will have more…The principle behind it is that water shouldn’t be flowing non-stop for, say, 20 minutes…you set a threshold, then it lets you know…if you have irrigation, you can probably set the unit to not report during irrigation times…

There’s also a couple other options of water flow meters that can be placed in your water line that will measure flow/rates…they are Z-wave…Just google Z-wave water flow meter…

The nice thing with home automation is once your water sensors, water flow meters, etc…detect something, you can have the water shut off to your entire property, without your intervention, using a Z-wave water main automatic valve (just google it, there’s several…)


#5

I have several leak sensors in strategic places, and FortrezZ’s water meter to detect slow leaks over time, such as failing toilet bowl valves.

I can tell you with certainty that the ST sensor is very sensitive, and has worked flawlessly on a couple occasions for me.

Utilitech makes a cabled sensor that’s good for sumps, and places that can get quickly submerged.

Including a water valve in your portfolio of gadgets is also a good thing to do.


#6

There are many options, just depending on your needs and budget.

Personally, I use the super cheap throwaway leak sensors, they’re about four dollars each, which are not networked. Then I have a single Leeo ($49 list, but often on sale for $29) which is an audio listening sensor that can recognize single tone alerts such as my leak sensors use.

So if any of the cheap sensors alarm, the Leeo hears it and notifies me. The Leeo also has an IFTTT Service/channel so it can be integrated with SmartThings to trigger a water shutoff,

https://shop.leeo.com/pages/water-alarms

What you give up with this method is knowing exactly which sensor is going off, but since I only have a whole house water shut off anyway, that doesn’t matter for my purposes. This method fits my budget much better than individual networked sensors, but different things work for different people. :sunglasses:

As others have mentioned, there are also other devices which connect with SmartThings directly which do have a cable probe. Or there’s the fibaro leak sensor which uses the same kind of detection system as the SmartThings brand but is itself waterproof and will float. The same is true for the Fortrezz.

The Fibaro is on The official “works with SmartThings” list

And so is the Fortrezz

The Aeotec is popular in the community and has a remote probe. It also let you set it for report dry or report wet, so it is a popular device for things like monitoring Christmas tree water buckets where the probe will be wet most of the time. Some of the other sensors will run their batteries down quickly if you try to immerse them and use them to report when dry.

https://www.amazon.com/Aeotec-Water-Sensor-Z-Wave-Flood/dp/B00H3TJ3P4

As does the new dome sensor, but I don’t know anyone who has that one yet.

https://www.amazon.com/Dome-Home-Automation-Resistant-DMWS1/dp/B01LXR0B8Q/

And another alternative is the Lowe’s iris/utilitech which was the first one that worked with SmartThings:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Iris-White-Indoor-Flood-Sensor-Works-with-Iris/1000052267


#7

I have the ST leak sensors. One took a bath from a leaking hot water tank in May. It was in the tank pan and ended up in about an inch of water. I dried it off and it’s been back in service ever since. Same battery.

I echo the comments about it’s sensitivity and it’s very responsive. One of STs better devices I think.


#8

Wow, thanks to everyone for the very helpful and informative replies - I will research all the referenced devices and buy a few to try them out.

I’m new to ST and my biggest challenge is finding devices and being confident they will work well with ST, so the references given here are really appreciated.

Thanks!


#9

You might also find the following of interest:

And you can check the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki for more ideas. :sunglasses:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section


(Tom Guelker) #10

I have a Dome water valve. If any of my 4 water leak sensors detect a leak the water valve closes within 2-3 seconds. The valve is less than $100 on Amazon and unlike the more expensive valves, this uses your existing 1/4 turn ball valve.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #11

Unfortunately, my whole home master valve is a screw-type tap. :cry:


#12

The dome is good, but if your main is outside, you really can’t use it without serious weatherproofing…a lot of the other products are able to be outside (not the control unit, but the actual valve.)


(Allan) #13

I also have the dome water valve and about 7 SmartSense leak detectors. Just an FYI if you don’t have a 1/4 shut off you can easily add one using, a least in the US, shark bite fittings for less than $30 and no real plumbing experience.


#14

I just ordered the Aeotec. I note several comments that suggest one has to do an IDE change to get it identified as a water leak sensor (as opposed to a simple ‘open/close’ sensor). We’ll see how that one goes! Thanks for all the suggestions.


(Tom Guelker) #15

My main water shutoff was the old style as well. I paid a plumber to remove the old valve and install the new1/4 turn ball valve. The motor unit takes up room so space has to be allotted for full swing of the handle.

As to the poster who has their water main shutoff valve outside, are you referring to the valve on the meter? If not, you should install a valve indoors as well.


#16

I’m not the poster but I wish I could do that. But I’m on a slab. We have a turn off at the meter, another one in a box outside just before the slab and that’s it. I have no idea where it goes from there, lol.

I am, however thinking about putting shutoffs on the hot water tanks where I already have 1/4 turn lever valves.


#17

I ordered and received the Aeotec Water Sensor. I successfully added it on my phone, and now when I place the sensor in water, I see, on my phone, “Wet”. Great - it’s working. But now, I want it to send an alert to me - I don’t want to sit and stare at my phone waiting for leaks :). So this is a new area for me - a basic ‘automation’ step. I choose ‘automation’ on the phone, ‘plus’ to add an automation, name it ‘water sensor alert’, (next), “What do you want to happen?” … This is where it gets a bit hazy for me … It has several options like ‘turn on …’, ‘set the …’, ‘change mode to…’, etc but nothing like ‘send an alert’. Under ‘additional settings’ I see 'Automatically perform ‘Water Sensor Alert’, so I tap that, and then it wants to know when to do this; choices are things like, ‘Someone Arrives’, etc. There’s an option for ‘Something turns on or off’ - that seems perfect for me, so I choose it. So now I’m at 'Perform Water Sensor Alert when …, and there’s a ‘which’ option; I’m hoping to select my water sensor here … but it will only offer to use the ‘Wemo’ switch I have. So I go back and choose, instead, ‘Something opens or closes’ - so now I’m on a screen that says 'Perform ‘Water Sensor Alert’ when … Any of these contact sensors … but the button for ‘which?’ is grayed out and says '“You can’t currently add this”. So I’m stuck.

So I"m not sure how to complete this step. Sorry if this is a dumb question!

Edit To Add: I did just now discover the whole ‘Smart Home Monitor’ app, and with that I was able to quickly configure an alert when either of my two water sensors detected moisture - so that is great! However … I would still like to know why I could not add an ‘automation’ step above.


(Allan) #18

You couldn’t add it because it wasn’t the right “type” of sensor that the routine you were building was looking for.

Don’t worry much about it. Smart Home Monitor is the correct way to do what you want and the easiest.


(Tom Guelker) #19

You can receive both a text message and a push notification when the water sensor detects a leak.

From the SmartThings home screen, scroll to the bottom and select Smart Home Monitor.
Tap the gear icon at the top right of the screen, then select Leaks. Flip the toggle so “Use every moisture sensor” is enabled. Then enter your cell phone number and make sure the slider is enabled for “Send push notifications”


(Sam) #20

I just got a SmartThings Water Sensor to put in the water heater pan which is in my attic. It paired easily so I set up the Smart Home Monitor to send a push notification when moisture is present. I tested it in a pan of water and got a text but when I moved it to the attic and retested it showed as “wet” but it didn’t send another text. I brought it back down and did my test again with the pan of water and the same thing happened - shows “wet” but no text. Did I miss a step in setting up the app?