For many homeowners, the smart home comes together piecemeal: a few smart outlets here, a smart appliance there, and eventually a smart thermostat -- all of which can be controlled with a few taps of a smartphone. But while many elements of the smart home are focused on electrical and HVAC systems, there’s one device that can bring your household plumbing into the mix: the smart water meter.
There are several different models of smart water meters, and unless you live in a water municipality that is on the cutting edge of technology, you’ll probably need to buy your own if you want to harness this technology. But over time, these smart water meters can pay for themselves in terms of water conservation -- and in the event of a leak, they could even pay for themselves in a matter of days.
State of the Art
Household water management technology has come a long way in a short time. For much of the 20th Century, the only way to tell if you had a plumbing leak was the hard way: the unmistakable smell of festering mold -- or worse, leaking sewage.
More recently, water sensors made it possible to catch plumbing leaks before they caused too much damage. These portable, battery-operated sensors produce high-pitched beeps when they detected moisture, and placing them around sinks, toilets, water heaters and other plumbing areas can be an effective means of stopping water damage before it gets out of control.
But water sensors may not detect leaks until well after water gets where it ought not to be. The latest technological innovation in leak prevention -- smart water meters -- can detect new leaks within minutes, sending alerts directly to a homeowner’s smartphone. Most models can even allow the main water supply to be shut down with the tap of a button, even from thousands of miles away, preventing catastrophic damage in the time it takes for a plumber to arrive and make repairs.
Stop Leaks, Prevent Disasters and Save Water
Smart water meters are installed directly to your main water line, which means installation is beyond the experience level of the average amateur plumber. To be on the safe side, you should factor professional installation by a licensed plumber into the overall cost.
You’ll also need a reliable wireless Internet connection in your home, because that’s how smart water meters alert you to emergencies and keep you in control of your household plumbing.
Once installed, a smart water meter can conduct pressure tests on a daily schedule or on demand. These tests are capable of detecting even tiny leaks, allowing you to find and fix the problem long before mold growth or structural damage become concerns.
Perhaps most importantly, smart water meters can be programmed to shut off your home’s entire water system as soon as a catastrophic water leak is detected, giving you peace of mind while you’re away from home. Something like a burst pipe can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage if it occurs while your home is unoccupied, but with this layer of protection, your home will be spared the deluge and you can make arrangements for emergency repairs and cleanup even before you return home.
The most sophisticated smart water meters can even help you track your water consumption and break it down among the individual fixtures and appliances in your home. Like smart electric meters, which detect unique electrical “signatures” from each appliance and device in a home, smart water meters can similarly tell your toilet from your washing machine by detecting unique hydraulic pulses. If you’re trying to conserve water, the data generated through this process can help you make smarter decisions about where to prioritize your water reduction.
Does this sound like a smart upgrade for your home? If so, start shopping around today to find the best smart water meter for your budget and needs, and don’t forget to call your local Benjamin Franklin when you’re ready for professional installation.