Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Water Sensor Review
By: Meg Kociemba– 11/03/15
A water sensor is probably not the first Z-Wave device you’ll think of setting up when expanding your network, but it’s certainly one you won’t regret installing when it comes to protecting your home from water damage.
The Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Water Sensor device itself is simple: the probe head consists of two prongs and is roughly the size of a USB plug and has a yard of cord that attaches it to battery housing and sensor unit, allowing you to keep the power source safely above the rising tide. And if you are looking at more than three feet of water, damage to the sensor is likely a low priority.
Setup couldn’t be simpler. Pull the battery insulator, and pair with your Z-Wave network, and you are in business. We connected the water sensor to our SmartThings hub. Pairing was nearly instant, but SmartThings recognized the device as door sensor, so rather than showing wet/dry on the app’ dashboard, it was showing open/closed.
To confirm I paired the correct device, I dropped the probe in a glass of water and it immediately changed status from open to closed. Thankfully, SmartThings has a web portal you can login to access advanced settings and change the device type to a Z-Wave water sensor with just a few clicks.
For my first test, I took the sensor to my New England basement, an environment with propensity for flooding at the first sign of gray skies. Twice in the last year, I’ve had sump system failures due to a frozen pipe burst and a contractor inadvertently knocking the pump out of position. The water sensor comes with a waterproof 3M adhesive strip for the probe, and another for the sensor and battery unit, to keep it high and dry. Alternately, the sensor/battery unit can be mounted with screws. I decided to mount the unit with a pair of cable ties, which made it very easy to tuck away the excess cable and was a non-permanent solution should I decide to move it. I configured SmartThings to alert me if the water rises too high in the sump pit, indicating a sump failure.
The Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Water Sensor would also work well in reverse, alerting you if the water level goes too low. For example, you could to use it in a fish tank to alert you of a low water level, or a pet water bowl to alert you when it is dry, that is, as long as you trust your pet not to remove the sensor and attempt to digest your cleaver use case. I wanted to test out the dry capabilities of the sensor and decided to use a houseplant. The probe prongs can be inserted gently into the soil of an indoor plant. Bear in mind, this sensor can detect the presence and absence of water as a 3%, which may not be suitable for all plants. It took this woefully inexperienced reviewer about 20 minutes to throw together code to for a SmartApp that allows you to send a SMS and get an alert when you plant is dry.
Floods can be extremely costly, even with just an inch of water and can eventually lead to mold in your home And the easiest way to mitigate the cost of water damage is to know about it quickly, so you can take action. Including a water sensor or two in your Z-Wave plans should be a given.
Protect your most valuable investment from water damage – Pick a few of these up for your Z-Wave system! Buy an Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Water Sensor now from Amazon.com