HVAC & PLUMBING BLOG

Smart Plumbing? The Future is Now!

With everything getting smarter these days, it should come as no surprise that smart tech has made its way into the pipes! It started with TVs, then thermostats, home controls, and fridges, and now smart home tech is changing the way homeowners and plumbers interact with their plumbing! Here’s some of the new plumbing smart technology, the features generally found in smart versions of plumbing fixtures, some of which debuted this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020!

Smart Pipes, Detectors, and More

Bigger than any individual smart fixture like a faucet or fridge, smart pipes might just be the game-changer. Making pipes smarter has been an ongoing quest, ever since the mid-2010’s when the first companies started working at it but it hasn’t quite taken off. But now, the future for smart pipes is looking brighter. 

Smart Detectors 

One of the products debuted at CES this year was Flo by Moen. This handy puck is placed behind washing machines, by water tanks or under the sink. When it senses water or freezing temperatures (not something we have to deal with too often here in Phoenix) it sends a signal to your smartphone letting you know a leak is occurring! Each puck runs about $50, that’s less than your water bill will be with even a low leak!

Now, knowing a leak is occurring is helpful but what if you’re not home or away on vacation?  

Automatic Shut Off Systems

That’s where an automatic shut off system can come in handy! Moen makes one of those too, and together these smart plumbing tools can detect and auto turn off your water when any leak occurs before anything gets too damaged. The automatic shut off tool can also detect the signs of a leak such as fluctuating water pressure.  

The Phyn XL is another water monitoring system that can detect leaks. The Phyn uses machine-learning-based water sensing technology to detect leaks or pressure changes in the water flow. Phyn also manufactures a simpler “Water Assistant” tool that allows you to focus your monitoring to specific fixtures.

You might be curious why so many of the smart devices out there are automatic shut off systems and leak detection but when you know the numbers the answer is clear. Homes are 10x as likely to be affected and damaged by a water leak than a fire. On average the repairs needed from a leak will run almost $10,000! With numbers like that, water sensing tech makes a whole lot more sense!

Smart Water Heaters

Water heaters are another plumbing fixture that’s benefiting from getting smarter. Depending on the model you might find a smart thermostat with precision controls, syncing up to your smart device, an energy saver smart mode that will adapt to the patterns of the home (readying hot water for the morning and hibernating the rest of the day). Some will have their own built-in screens to make diagnosing problems even easier!

Smart Purifiers

More and more homeowners are installing reverse osmosis and other water purification systems to supply their drinking water. Those are about to get a whole lot smarter too! Kohler for example has released the Aquifer Refine Purification system.  You hook it up to the pipes and wi-fi and it gets to work. The wi-fi isn’t needed for the filtering process of course but to connect with your smart devices to provide updates on possible leaks while filtering out lead, viruses, and bacteria. While it’s at it, monitors filter usage and can be connected with Amazon Dart to automatically order new filters when the current one is almost used up. How many folks have bought a RO system only to slack on their filter changing? With smart purifiers like this, it’ll be even easier!

Smart Faucets

Faucets are getting smarter too! Kohler, the company behind the previously mentioned smart purification system also built out a whole suite of smart faucets. These advanced fixtures allow for voice controls, water usage monitors, leak detection, touchless controls, and presets for different uses. These aren’t the cheapest upgrades in the world, their lowest tier the Setra will still run you about $400 but for some these features will absolutely be worth it

Smart Baths and Showers

Few things conjure the thought of luxury quite like a warm bath to soak in for hours after a long day. Now, what if you could have a steaming hot tub ready for you right when you stepped in your front door? With smart tub bath control, you can! Once again, Kohler’s at it producing a digital thermostatic valve. With it you’ll be able to schedule your bath remotely and get precise control over the temperature! No more bathroom alchemy of mixing 90% hot as the lava plus 5% cold, 4% freezing, and 1% ice. That’s a thing of the past!

If you’re more of a shower person you can look at upgrading your shower header for a newer, smarter model. Models are made with built-in voice controls, Alexa smart speaker, waterproof (natch) bluetooth speakers, and more. At a more affordable price than their tub counterparts, expect smarter showers to be The Thing soon.

Even Smart Toilets?!

That’s right! Even toilets are getting upgrades these days! Smart toilets can include tons of different features from auto flushing to built-in night lights for midnight visits. And of course, you can always pair it with the smart detectors to detect leaks before they run for long!   

Here’s a list of just some of the potential features you can get in your smart toilet:

  • Automatic flushing
  • Overflow protection
  • Water-saving features
  • Massaging bidet wash
  • Automatic flush
  • Remote control
  • Self-cleaning features
  • Built-in sensors that alert you to possible tank leaks
  • Self-deodorizer
  • Emergency flushing system during power outages
  • Nightlight
  • Slow closing lid
  • Bluetooth 
  • Air dryer
  • Heated seating
  • Foot warmer

Could you imagine? Dads may well never leave the bathroom again! (Just kidding pops!)

Looking to upgrade your plumbing and get a smarter setup? Dreaming about all these excess features? Just want to save yourself the headache and damages from a leak? Whatever your reason, ACE Home Services can help you get the smart home you desire! Give us a call today and we can help you find the best smart solution for you!