Executive Editor, TechHiveAug 21, 2019 6:00 am PDT
Phyn manufactures our favorite smart water valve, the $699 Phyn Plus, which analyzes your home’s water consumption, alerts you to possible leaks, and automatically shuts off your main water supply in the event of an emergency to prevent water damage. The new Phyn Smart Water Assistant (Phyn SWA) does all the same work, except it can’t shut off your water supply. On the upside, it’s much less expensive (just $299), it doesn’t involve cutting pipes, and you won’t need to hire a plumber to install it.
Next to the air we breathe, water is Earth’s most precious resource. We need to take care not to waste it, but we also need to be aware when it shows up in places inside our homes where it shouldn’t be. A leaking valve will not only waste water, it can insidiously cause significant damage over time—and a pipe that freezes and then bursts can cause catastrophic damage in no time at all.
Phyn CEO Ryan Kim says the new Phyn SWA will be even better at identifying events in your water supply because it monitors both the hot and cold water lines, performing stereoscopic imaging of your entire water system. Since the earlier Phyn Plus installs on your main water supply line, it can only measure pressure fluctuations in your cold water.
Phyn SWA requires power to operate, so the company recommends installing the device under your kitchen sink, which is the location most likely to have an AC outlet (although you might need to install a power strip or other outlet multiplier, since the duplex might already have your dishwasher and garbage disposal plugged into it). Kim said it shouldn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes to install, using just a wrench.
Even though it’s connected to just two water lines (hot and cold), Kim says the Phyn SWA’s sensors will take 244 measurements each second to determine the amount of energy in your enter water supply system, based on pressure waves.
Over time, it will develop a unique fingerprint for each water valve in your home and will be able to pinpoint the source of water leaks, ranging from a failing flapper on the toilet in your master bathroom to a leaky water line connected to your washing machine in the laundry room.
Phyn SWA’s sensors can not only detect leaks in real time, they can also detect ice crystals forming in your water line and warn you long before the pipe freezes, so you can take action before the pipe bursts. The new device can also work in conjunction with the Phyn Plus to proactively shut off your water supply in the event of an uncontrolled leak. It also works with IFTTT, so you can create a routine that will trigger another brand of smart valve if you have one. The device is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
You can run diagnostic plumbing checks at any time by turning off your main water supply and running the Plumbing Check feature in the Phyn mobile app. It will identify the presence of any leak in your system, although it might not be able to pinpoint the exact source of the leak in the beginning.
Michael is TechHive's lead editor, with 30+ years of experience covering the tech industry, focusing on the smart home, home audio, and home theater. He built his own smart home in 2007 and used it as a real-world test lab for product reviews. Following a relocation to the Pacific Northwest, he is now converting his new home, an 1890 Victorian bungalow, into a modern smart home.