Catch it EARLY
No, I’m not talking about a movie, or even a sale. I’m talking about water leaks. After recently dealing with a leaky faucet (what a pain), I figured that there must be something to help me detect the leak in the first couple hours after it starts, instead of days later. I’ve seen leak detectors that can detect as little as 1/16” of water, but that still requires placing it in the right place and hoping that the leak will puddle there first. When I opened the doors to the area below my sink, what I sensed first, before seeing any water, was the high humidity. Even without standing water, high humidity can cause mold to grow in virtually any area that it contacts.
Here are my requirements for these remote hygrometers (humidity sensors):
Use a common, easily accessible battery
Place it anywhere in your home
Low cost of sensors to enable more monitoring places
Wireless alarm through phone app
Enabled with history to show trends of rising humidity
Bingo! There are a few systems that fit this bill and more.
Govee is a brand known for its LED lighting and smart home appliances. Regarding their WiFi digital thermometer hygrometer, they have great reviews on the ease of setting up the WiFi Gateway, and adding all of the sensors to the app. The sensors can remain connected up to 230 feet away, and the gateway can connect up to 10 sensors ($170 on sale). Let’s see, I could use one: under each bathroom sink (2), kitchen sink (1), behind the washing machine(1), next to the water heater (1), next to the HVAC air handler (1), behind the refrigerator (1), under the dishwasher (1) in bedroom closets (2-3). Other people have used them for greenhouses, humidors, and as room sensors to balance their HVAC systems. I easily found places for 10+ sensors in my home, and with the discounted price, they are cheaper than buying the smaller 3-sensor pack ($115) and adding more sensors separately.
YoLink is another smart appliance manufacturer and their temperature/humidity devices have a few differences. For one, the wifi connection can be sustained up to ¼ mile, which is over 5 times the distance of Govee. The YoLink can monitor extreme temperatures, which is useful if you want to place one in your attic or in your freezer (in case of a power outage). It is also compatible with Alexa. There are 2 sensors and a hub in this pack ($70), and the hub can monitor other YoLink devices such as water leak sensors and door/window sensors. This unit runs on LoRa (Long Range wireless technology), which uses less power and transmits for longer distances than traditional bluetooth technology.
Switchbot’s hub and sensor ($48) are similar to Govee, using bluetooth to relay data from the sensor. The humidity range is from 20% -85% (no tropical rainforests allowed!). The ability of the hub to pair with other smart devices like plugs (to turn on the dehumidifier, for example!) makes it very useful.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making our lives less prone to worry in more ways than one. Can it train my dog not to splash water on the floor? Maybe not, but with sensors in other places maybe I’ll have the “bandwidth” to do it myself!