Making your house into a smart home means that you'll want to upgrade every aspect of it, not just the visible parts. LeakSmart is a smart water valve that can detect irregularities in your home's water flow and notify your smartphone, hopefully preventing costly repairs.
The popular home improvement chain Lowe's debuted the LeakSmart at CES 2014, and Tom's Guide had a chance to see the device in person. The smart home gadget has two components: a Wi-Fi-enabled valve, and a square sensor. Both devices directly to a home's main water pipe. The device will cost about $100, and will be available around the middle of 2014.
Be warned that the LeakSmart valve does require a bit of DIY know-how. You'll have to shut the water off in your house, cut a pipe apart, solder on the smart valve and attach the sensor to the reconstructed pipe. If you doubt your ability as a handyman, it's probably safer to leave this one to a plumber.
Once the valve is in place, what it does is pretty straightforward. The device syncs with the Iris smart home management app (an ecosystem which Lowe's has fostered over the last few years) and sends you notifications if it detects irregular flow in the water pipes. It also allows you to start and shut down the water flow remotely.
The LeakSmart could save homeowners a lot of grief if detects unusual water flow. If a pipe springs a leak somewhere, it could easily prevent a few hundred dollars' worth of damage; if a pipe bursts, it could save a few thousand.
The device also has applications for real estate agents and people who own vacation homes, as they can shut off water flow remotely. Forgetting to turn the water off is no longer a cause to turn the car around and double the length of your trip.
Even though there's nothing glamorous about it and it takes some dedication to install, the LeakSmart fills a unique niche in smart home tech.