4 home automation technologies for the plumbing industry

What makes home automation so appealing? It isn’t just the “cool” factor. The latest advancements in smart home technology will help you keep your customers’ biggest investment safe, dry and energy efficient. Helping homeowners take advantage of home automation can also help you grow your business by giving customers innovative ways to improve their living spaces.

1. Leak prevention systems

Flooding and water leaks are a nightmare for homeowners – and that’s before you calculate damage and cleanup costs. State-of-the-art leak prevention systems are designed to automatically shut off water flow from a home’s main water valve just seconds after a leak is detected, providing your customers with reliable leak protection and invaluable peace of mind.

Most leak prevention systems are armed with water sensors, a control panel and an alarm box. Several products on the market can also integrate smart home technology, turning any smartphone or tablet into an emergency alert device. Leak prevention systems are available for whole-house and single-appliance applications.

2. Automatic water shut-off valves

Few messes are worse than one created by a leaking water heater, which can ruin a finished basement before you know there is a problem. Automatic water shut-off valves help prevent these costly catastrophes by cutting off an appliance’s water supply when a sensor placed in the leak-prone area detects a leak.

Unlike a whole house leak prevention system, an automatic shut-off valve stops the flow of water to the problem appliance only, allowing other appliances to continue running. It can also be paired with home automation technology to alert your customers of a leak via smartphone. Affordable and easy to operate, these valves are ideal for dishwashers, water heaters and HVAC systems.

3. Digital water-heater controllers

Want a cool way to manage hot water use? Digital water-heater controllers allow your customers to sync their hot water use with their lifestyle – and keep their second-biggest home energy eater in check (Water heaters account for nearly 18 percent of a home's energy use.)

Available for both electric and gas water heaters, digital controllers can be programmed based on a homeowner’s habits using a smartphone, tablet or Wi-Fi-connected home computer. Your customers might want to program the water heater to cool down during the day when everyone’s away, for example. Many controllers also have a vacation or sleep mode, preventing the water heater from heating and reheating water that isn’t being used. Some controllers will even send an alert to a mobile device when a tank is low or if there’s a leak.

4. Smart sprinkler systems

Everyone loves a lush lawn, but no one loves a huge water bill. Thanks to smart water technology, there’s an easier and more efficient way to care for a lawn – and it won’t drain customer budgets.

Installing a smart irrigation control and monitoring system gives your customers the power to choose when, and how long, their sprinklers will operate, conserving water usage and saving money. Based on data from sensors, weather forecasts and agricultural databases, these systems calculate the watering needs to deliver the right amount of moisture for lawn and plants.

Connection types include Wi-Fi, GSM cellular and hard wired. Which type is best depends on the size and configuration of your customer’s landscape. Monitoring is available through a physical screen, web interface or smartphone app.

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