4 Smart Upgrades for Your Plumbing
By now, you probably already have smart devices in your home — lighting, security, cooking, entertainment, and more. Well, plumbing is beginning to enter the fray.
Curious about smart upgrades for your plumbing? Continue reading to learn about the different smart plumbing options available to you.
Smart faucets, such as the Kohler Sensate Faucet, allow you to give voice commands to your faucet for a hands-free experience. It connects with your Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri for voice control operation. To do so, however, it must be connected to electrical power. If you don’t have an outlet under the sink already, then you may need to install new wiring, which will obviously add to the budget. Keep this in mind if you are considering a smart faucet.
Additionally, you will need to download the associated app on your phone and follow the instructions to make sure everything is configured properly. And as of this writing, there’s no voice control for temperature (for Sensate), so the water will dispense at the temperature indicated by the handle’s position. You can, however, tell the faucet to dispense a specific amount of water, such as 12 ounces of water. The Sensate faucet dispenses as little as eight ounces and as much as six gallons.
Through the Kohler Konnect app that’s connected to the Sensate faucet, you can monitor your water usage by checking the app or via voice command. The app will also alert you if the faucet detects a leak.
If you want to be able to use your voice to set a precise temperature of the water, consider the U by Moen Smart Faucet.
While the cost for smart faucets is pretty high right now (about $800), competition is increasing and costs will most certainly go down in the coming years.
If you want a hands-free faucet, you may be better off getting a motion sensor faucet until the smart faucets improve. Motion sensor faucets have a physical handle, but you can also control the faucet with a wave of your hand near the motion sensor.
No matter what faucet option you choose, make sure you have a professional plumber to install it.
Smart Frozen Pipe and Leak Detectors
Perhaps a more practical smart plumbing upgrade is the smart leak detector. Nobody wants to come home to a flooded basement, kitchen, or bathroom. A smart leak detector, which only costs about $50, will alert you to any plumbing leaks in the home before they have the chance to damage your home.
Many smart leak detectors, such as the Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector, also include temperature sensors to notify you when pipes are beginning to freeze. This will give you precious time to warm up the pipes before they can freeze and burst. Real-time notifications can come to you in the form of smartphone notifications, emails, and texts. Even better, no wires are required and you can install it yourself. The CR123A battery lasts about 2 years.
While the Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector does not connect to Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri, it can work with the Flo by Moen Smart Water Shutoff system. This will automatically shut off your home’s water if a severe leak is detected, but it’s a lot more expensive.
Another option is the Phyn Plus Smart water Assistant + Shutoff, which costs about the same as if you got the Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector and Shutoff system. Unlike the Flo by Moen Smart Water Shutoff system, Phyn works with Google Home and Amazon Alexa and doesn’t require a subscription.
The Phyn system is easy to install and will send you real-time alerts if your pipes are beginning to leak or freeze. It also monitor’s your water pressure and water usage. You can sign into the Phyn app to track your water usage over time.
Keep in mind that the Phyn system needs an unswitched power outlet under the sink. It doesn’t run on batteries like Flo by Moen. If you don’t have an outlet under your sink, you will need to have an electrician install one. This could also be a problem in the event of a power outage, which would render the Phyn system useless.
If you don’t have a leak detection system in place, we highly recommend speaking with your plumber about installing one. It not only helps the environment and reduces your water bill, it also significantly reduces the chance of a water-filled home or apartment.
The U by Moen Smart Shower can warm up the water to your perfect temperature before you enter the shower to improve comfort and save water. It will also prevent any shifts in temperature while you’re showering, for instance if someone flushes the toilet.
Additionally, you can set a timer for your shower to turn off after a set amount of time. While this doesn’t prevent anyone from just turning the shower back on, it does serve as a good reminder of how long you’ve been in the shower.
When the shower is ready according to your preferences, you get an alert on your phone. You can time your shower start and end time perfectly to keep your morning routine in check.
The U by Moen Smart Shower can be controlled by voice, phone, or digital controller. It’s a very cool and handy system, but definitely a luxury purchase. In addition to the expensive digital shower controller, showerhead, and other plumbing components, you will need to hire a professional plumber to install all of it for you.
Another option is the Kohler DTV+™ Smart Digital Showering System, which has many of the same features as the U by Moen Smart Shower, but includes additional settings for steam, light, and even music. This is showering at its finest.
What is a smart toilet you ask? Well, if you’ve ever been to Japan, you might come back home feeling like your toilet is pretty dumb.
High-tech toilets that you often see in Japan have features such as:
- Seat warmers
- Automatic lid
- Automatic flush
- Spray and temperature adjustment (for toilets with bidets)
- Air dryers
- Remote control
- Foot warmer
Here are some smart toilet options to get your search started:
- Numi intelligent toilet with Kohler Konnect
- WoodBridge luxury smart toilet
- Ove Saga smart toilet
- Dyconn Aqua smart toilet
- Bio Bidet Ultimate Smart Toilet Seat
In addition to saving you water and energy, these smart toilets make your bathroom experience more enjoyable. Considering we spend nearly two hours on the toilet every week, it seems like a worthwhile investment.
Should you make your plumbing smart?
While some of these products are more of a novelty, the leak detectors and sensors are a “smart” investment. They may not be the coolest or most luxurious, but they’ll protect your home and belongings from a catastrophic plumbing event.
Other smart plumbing upgrades, such as faucets and showerheads, show promise but they’re still in the early stages. As these smart plumbing devices get better and cheaper, more and more consumers will opt for them.
If you want to save water without shelling out thousands of dollars on a smart plumbing device, learn how to green your plumbing with things like greywater systems and manual leak detection.
Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom is a huge endeavor and the fixture selection is a good starting point, especially for a novice who has never been a part of a home improvement project. The most important consideration is to take your time and do your research. Make sure that you find the best designers and technicians for assistance. And remember that Brubaker Inc. can help you with plumbing for remodeling projects. We offer fixture installation and plumbing expansion for projects of any size.
As always, we are available 24/7 for your plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical needs. Schedule service online or call us at 717.299.5641.