Many homes have a smoke detector, dumb or smart, thanks to insurance advice, safety campaigns or plain common sense.
But leak detectors are a newer, and fast growing market, as homes suffer more from extreme climate changes, ageing pipework or other issues that could see water wrecking properties.
Latest to the market is Lyric, Honeywell’s smart home brand, with its answer to potentially soggy problems around the home.
Using WiFi only, there’s no need for a smart home hub or bridge, and using a range of sensors, it can detect frozen pipes, high humidity and flooding issues that may cause damage to a property or your valuables.
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Key Features Up Front
- Battery Power: The Lyric Wi-Fi Water Leak & Freeze Detector is a small white box that is powered by three AA batteries, so it can be installed anywhere around the home.
- Bluetooth: It pairs with a phone over Bluetooth through a simple process. It comes with a four-foot sensor cable with any part of the wire capable of detecting water, so it can sense water dripping down a wall or up from a flood, or near a sump or pump.
- Alarm Triggers: When the alarm is triggered, the box itself can sound an audible alert via a 100 decibel buzzer, so it doesn’t need to be within range of your WiFi. However, that makes the intelligent part somewhat redundant, so assuming you do keep it within WiFi range, and with the new smart hubs on the market, that is perfectly possible in most large homes, then it will be able to send an alert to your phone. Once the event is sorted, dry off the sensors and the Lyric will return to guard duty.
- Lyric App: The Lyric app can tell you what alert was sent, and if it is a family property can also send alerts to others to help rouse the cavalry and get help on the scene.
- Flexible Coverage: If you have a large area to cover, additional cables that link together to form up to 500 feet of sensor in length. You can buy as much as needed to cover a loft or basement, or other area prone to flooding.
- Sensor Capabilities: The sensors can monitor from 32°F – 140°F (0°C – 60°C).temperature and zero to 100% humidity.
Pros of the Wi-Fi Water Leak & Freeze Detector
- Can be Installed Anywhere: The Wi-Fi Water Leak & Freeze Detector can be installed in any location thanks to its loud alarm and promise of three years of battery life. At just over three inches square, with a functional white design, it can be located pretty much anywhere, screwed to a wall or laid flat on the floor, easily attached under pipes or other trouble spot. Sensors are at the base of the unit or on the supplied sensor, or the available longer cables ($20 for 8-feet) can expand the range.
- Smart Triggers: Note the alarm only goes off for a water leak, high humidity issues will only trigger and app or email alarm, the unit will also flash a red LED, with other alerts for low battery, loss of connectivity and so on which are also sent to the user’s device.
- Smart Location Sensing: Multiple units can be installed around the home and all recognized individually by the Lyric iOS or Android app so you will know roughly where the source of the problem is. That’s ideal for those with a utility room, basement and, say an office under a wet room or similar layout.
- Plays Well With Others: If you do want to link it to other smart home devices for a wider series of alerts, then it is compatible with SmartThings and Apple HomeKit. The app also works with the Lyric thermostat, so you can monitor both devices from the one app.
- Trends and Data: It can also be used to monitor an area for environmental changes, recording and logging your humidity and temperature, with the data saved in the app, showing 30 day trends, which might point to a longer term problem.
- Customization: You can choose from in-app alerts or have push or email notifications, with various destinations, ideal if you have a contractor or handyman ready to leap in and fix problems.
Cons of the Wi-Fi Water Leak & Freeze Detector
- Installation Isn’t Perfect: Lyric wouldn’t be a smart home brand if it didn’t have installation issues, and many people say they have trouble connecting this to 5Ghz WiFi routers, or their Lyric drops off the network after a few days and refuses to reconnect. None of this is particularly encouraging, but seems par for the course with many “smart” devices. Certainly, if you buy one from a retail outlet, make sure you keep that receipt to hand. Otherwise, once connected and running, there seems to be little to worry about.
- Reported App issues: The app itself is regularly updated, but reports of crashing and performance issues may deter some users who don’t need the hassle of technology going wrong on them. If you’re reading this from outside the US, you should note that the Lyric App is only available on the iTunes App store within the States, so you’ll have to do some technical juggling if you want the app on your device. You can still buy the Lyric, but won’t get the benefit of the smart alert features.
This isn’t a “cheap” investment (check pricing here), so it might seem a lot to pay for a relatively simple box, but given the amount of money it could save you seems well worth the investment.
With Honeywell not being a tech-focused company, we’re not surprised it suffers from connectivity and app issues, but hopefully, these can be improved by software updates as the product matures.
Otherwise, with wilder weather extremes meaning more cracked pipes, blocked drains, or just lazier neighbors in your condo block always forgetting to turn their taps off, this could be more than just a life saver.
While the water leak smart sensor market is one of the newer areas, it is filling up fast, so smart homeowners will want to check out all the options, and perhaps find one that works with the current smart home set up, or just one that has better, or more robust, smart features.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!