the IT city, the I.T. Baby


Help stop leaks/mold/water damage with Flo

Flo wifi water monitor and shutoffIf you’ve ever owned a home chances are you’ve had some sort of water issue that’s caused you a significant amount of grief. Leaking pipes that go undetected for months/years/etc can ruin a structural support (found this out last month,) burst pipes in winter can fill a crawlspace with a layer of ice two feet deep (found that out two years ago, water in the walls can create mold and a breathing hazard for you and kiddos, and a toilet that has a slow leak can kill your family and everyone you love.

OK, that last one probably isn’t true, however imagine a system that knows when something’s not right and can let you know that your water is on at an unusual time.

But Flo’s more than just a sensor. Knowing you’ve got a burst pipe on a cruise ship isn’t particularly useful. Knowing you’ve got a burst pipe, Flo has shut off the water because you told it to or it knew the water should not be running because you’re not home, is. Flo’s app can even set up a plumber to get out to you to fix the leak before you’re even back home.

Flo appReally, besides my Pocketables and theITbaby millions I have dealt with solving more old plumbing issues in the course of one of my five jobs than I’d care to elaborate on. Mold cleanup, ice rinks, $700 water bills (which were waived, but still…) and more painting and smell removal than you’d expect.

Let’s not forget fake/weird water bills. Knowing what you’re using with a meter that you don’t have to lift a heavy iron cover, clean off months of slug trails, etc, is useful for when the water company suddenly triples your bill. You’ll know it’s either a misread, or there’s a break between the water cutoff and your house.

The average cost of an insurance claim from water damage is $8,800 according to data on their site. From a slightly burst hot water pipe in a basement that filled a crawlspace with white mold that had to be treated and everything thrown out, I’d say that’s a little low.

A full on running toilet can go through 3000 gallons of water a day. At $0.004 a gallon (average price according to googs,) that’s $12 a day in leaked out water. Now that’s full on running most likely, but still. LA water is evidently $0.0112 a gallon so 3000 gallon leak scenario comes out at $33.60.

Not only can Flo do all this, it monitors temperature, pressure, and flow rate. Remember, it’s not just pressure that gets you a shower, if there’s pressure but no flow rate you can still get a trickle. Additionally, if pressure is way too high you’re going to be replacing your fridge solenoids, and faucet washers at some point.

So Flo costs a lot. There are things that make it a worthwhile investment though. There are insurance discounts with some providers of up to 10%. Early adopters can get the device with installation for $399, late adopters will be forking over $699 initially. Price includes installation it appears, and probably will drop without it as plumbers are spendy. Prices generally drop on these things after release, so there you go.

They’ve got an interesting calculator on the Flo website that can tell you what you’d potentially be saving. You’ll need to check with your insurance to see if they’ve got a discount and how much.

They’re expected to release this Q1 2018, you can get in on the heels of the early adopter program for $399 now (just started, 1000 units available.) We’ll hopefully be testing this out shortly and I’ll have a review rather than just a “wow, this is neat” piece.

Meet Flo

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.