Smart home devices can improve our lives in a variety of ways but most of them don’t have the ability to protect our abodes from thousands of dollars of damage. While a smart water shutoff device isn’t something you hear near as much about as smart lights, locks, cameras, etc. it’s an addition that can offer some serious peace of mind with automatic leak protection and the ability to control your home’s water main from your iPhone. And another benefit is being able to track how much water you use, even down to the fixture type. Read on for our full review of the Flo by Moen Smart Water Shutoff and Smart Water Detector.
After my wife’s family had a basement water leak that ended up causing $15,000 in damage a bit ago I started researching potential solutions that could prevent events like that. I came across the Flo by Moen Smart Water Shutoff and was eager to give it a try.
What does the Flo by Moen Smart Water Shutoff do?
iPhone control to shut off the water of your entire home from anywhere is just one part of Flo by Moen. The real magic is the combination of the great iPhone app along with Moen’s software smarts that continually monitor your water pipes.
Here’s how Moen describes how Flo works:
The Smart Water Shutoff has three sensors that actively monitor water flow, pressure, and temperature. These sensors, in combination with the Smart Water Shutoff’s algorithms, are what enable Flo by Moen to detect and protect the home from problems like leaks, burst pipes and more!
The really impressive part about all of this is that a single Flo Smart Water Shutoff device can detect even the smallest leaks — down to 1 drop an hour — at every fixture in your house.
A recent study found that homes with the Flo Smart Water Shutoff saw a 96% decrease in water damage insurance claims compared to homes without the smart device. Further, statistics show that water damage in homes is 5x more likely than theft and 6x more likely than fire damage.
In addition to the automated proactive protection and control of your water main from your iPhone with the Flo by Moen app, this Smart Water Shutoff offers detailed tracking of your water use that can even tell you how much you’re using by fixture type.
The Flo Smart Water Shutoff is available for 3/4-inch, 1-inch, and 1 1/4-inch main water lines. Unless you’ve got some good plumbing experience and the necessary tools, you’ll want to have a professional install the device.
Flo can be used with copper, PEX, CPVC, galvanized, and pretty much any other type of water main. In our case, our plumber also installed quarter-turn manual shutoffs before and after Flo to make it easy if we ever need to do any maintenance in the future.
If you don’t have one already you’ll need an available outlet to plug in Flo. Moen also offers a battery backup bundle and is sold separately too.
After you get the Flo Smart Water Shutoff installed, you’ll go through the initial set up process on the iPhone or Android app.
You start by entering what type of home you have, how many floors, what type of plumbing, etc.
Next, you’ll give more details about your appliances, set a water consumption goal, and get Flo hooked up to your Wi-Fi.
After you get Flo all set up, you’ll start to see water usage, can check water pressure and temperature but it will be in a “Learning Mode” for about a week. That means the auto-shutoff feature won’t start working until it understands your water usage habits.
The core features of the Flo Smart Water Shutoff don’t require any extra cost beyond the one-time purchase of the device, but if you’d like a detailed breakdown of your water usage with fixture detection, coverage for up to a $2,500 insurance deductible in case of any water damage, proactive monitoring and concierge from Flo experts, and a 3-year extended warranty, the FloProtect plan runs $5/month after a free one-month trial.
You can check out the full comparison between the free and paid plans here.
Here’s how the app looks once you’re up and running.
In the third screenshot above, you’ll notice Flo detected the water pressure drop as our plumber did some work.
Flo does an automatic health test every morning in addition to the 24/7 monitoring of your water lines. You’ll see if you any critical alerts at the top of the app’s homescreen.
Also shown above is the detailed water use by fixture. You can the app offers super granular data like the shower running for 6 minutes and 23 seconds.
So far, Flo has detected one instance of unusual water activity in our home. It ended up being our water softener tanks that were going through a cleaning cycle. It’s an irregular event so Flo automatically shut off our water main.
The app offers great options to continue receiving alerts for events like the one that was triggered in the future or ignore them for a certain period of time.
And if for any reason the Smart Water Shutoff isn’t responding (power outage, etc.) you can manually shut it off.
Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector
Another product in the Flo lineup is the Smart Water Detector. This can be used with the Smart Water Shutoff or on its own.
It’s super easy to install and detects if you have any leaks at a single fixture/location with a water-sensing disc on a four-foot cable. It’s great for places you’d like to keep an eye on leaks from your drains as the Smart Water Shutoff is just monitoring your water supply lines.
If you do want to use it with the Smart Water Shutoff, it can act as a trigger to shut off your water main.
You can dial in custom alert settings for the Smart Water Detector for humidity, room temp, and low battery warnings (in a nice touch, Moen includes an extra battery in the box).
Once it’s set up you’ll see the Smart Water detector(s) as another device in the Flo app.
You’ve probably noticed by now, there’s no Apple HomeKit support here. While that’s a deal-breaker for me for a lot of smart home devices like lights, locks, and cameras, I haven’t found it to be a downside with Flo by Moen. My guess is that HomeKit doesn’t support the level of detail and functionality that these devices offer. However, if you do use Alexa, Google Assitant, or IFTTT, Moen does support those platforms.
As for why the lack of HomeKit support doesn’t bother me, automated protection is what Flo does best. A smart water shutoff isn’t something you turn on and off like a smart light or need to check in on as much as you would a smart camera. The value here comes from the peace of mind that Flo is monitoring your plumbing 24/7 and can act on its own to stop a leak. When you do want to dive into your water usage habits and other details, the Flo iPhone app offers a polished experience.
After spending over a month with the Flo by Moen smart devices, I wholeheartedly recommend picking them up. I think they offer great value and the Smart Water Shutoff provides the major advertised features even if you don’t want to pay for the $5/month FloProtect extras.
The Flo Smart Water Shutoff retails from about $500 depending on the retailer and goes up depending on the size of your water main and if you want accessories like the battery backup. The Smart Water Detector sells from about $50 or in 3-packs at a discount. You can find Flo by Moen at Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s, direct from Moen, more.
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