Smart home sensor looks like an Echo Dot but watches for leaky pipes

The device detects leaks and changes in temperature and humidity and alerts homeowners to potential problems.

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Phyn's new sensor is a stand-alone monitor that will alert you if it detects a leak or a change in temperature or humidity.

Image: Phyn

A new smart home device makes it easy to build a leak detection system without taking out a home equity loan to do it. Phyn's Smart Water Sensor is about $40 and small enough to fit almost anywhere. Single sensors are available now and the company is planning to release a three-pack in the next few months for about $100.

The sensor works on its own to watch for leaks. Homeowners also can connect it to the Phyn Plus, which can shut off the water if the sensor detects a leak. The 3.5-inch sensor is battery-powered. If the sensor comes in contact with water, users are notified by an alarm, an LED light and notifications via text and the Phyn app. The sensor also tracks temperature and humidity and sends alerts about changes in those conditions as well.

The device connects via Wi-Fi to a home's existing network and uses the free Phyn app for setup and monitoring. The Phyn app will even tell you when it's time to change the batteries in the sensor.

Insurance company Chubb found in an analysis of five years of claims that a water leak can cause an average of $55,000 in damages to a home.

SEE: US home water use up 21% daily during COVID-19 crisis (TechRepublic)

Ryan Kim, CEO of Phyn, said in a press release that the company wants to make it simple for homeowners to avoid water damage. 

"Our broad range of products makes it accessible for all homeowners to start taking proactive measures to secure their homes," he said.

Phyn also released two accessories: The Phyn Water Sensor Extension Node and Phyn Water Sensor Cable. The extension node is designed for narrow or small spaces such as under a washing machine or refrigerator. The cable is four feet long and three of the cables can be connected to extend the leak monitoring up to 12 feet. The system sends an alert if any part of the cable gets wet. 

The Sensor Cable can run along the perimeter of a basement or loop around a water heater or appliance. These accessories also monitor temperature and humidity. 

Cities also are using smart sensors to track leaky pipes. Olea Edge Analytics is using 21st-century technology to spot needed repairs and make sure water bills are accurate. Dave Mackie, Olea Edge Analytics' CEO, said the company combines edge computing with artificial intelligence and machine learning to help cities make more informed decisions. 

Olea puts sensors on water meters and sends data about how much water is used to the cloud for analysis. The Smart Water Management Platform monitors the meters to look for water usage that isn't showing up on monthly bills. Olea estimates that up to 40% of all high-volume commercial water meters are not tracking the total amount of water used. 

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