I don’t like surprises, especially the kind that costs money for me.
Our sump pump failed one winter when it was burning, but I didn’t know about it until several inches of water wasted electronics, books and furniture in our basement. I could have avoided this loss with a simple smart water-leak sensor, which would have alerted me to the problem sooner. If you’re the type of person who loses sleep over a catastrophic disaster, you can alleviate your anxiety with a fairly inexpensive smart-home sensor that can detect small problems before they become too expensive.
Smart-home sensors can be deployed discreetly around your home, requiring no skill to use, and know that if you are hit hard, you will have ample time to act before your repair budget is leaked.
Some smart-home sensors can be set up on their own, while others work best when combined with another smart-home hub like Apple HomeKit or Smartthings or Wink, which allows different smart-home devices to work together. When triggered, everyone can send notifications to your smartphone and many work with smart speakers like Amazon Echo or Google Nest Hub, allowing you to check their status by simply asking or receiving voice notifications through the speaker.
In cooperation with Its cutter, A product review company owned by The New York Times, here are some of the smart-home devices we think are useful for most people.
Water is great when it comes out of a faucet like demand, but when it slowly leaks under your sink or around your old washing machine, floorboards are rotated, or a house is flooded, it becomes an expensive hazard. Wirecutter recommends IHome Control Dual Leak Sensor: It works on Wi-Fi (no smart-home hub required), has a long battery life and includes two sensors, allowing it to detect leaks in two separate spots. It can fit underneath and around any possible leakage items, including fish tanks, dishwashers, hot water heaters and, yes, sump pumps.
Fibaro It also offers photo detectors designed for people who already have smart-home platforms around Z-Wave Hubs or Apple HomeKit. Fibro sensors are great if you use one of these systems, and they can also be used to detect temperature changes.
Freeze the sensor
Freezing water next to free water is one of the major causes of damage to the house. We’re talking about frozen water pipes that later back up, expand and burst by making expensive fountains in your basement. Like leakage sensors, fridge sensors are small devices that continuously monitor the temperature of an object or region in contact. This will send you a notification or a text message when you put it on your incoming water line that you will need to towel a lot if you do not do anything quickly.
If you already have one Security measures You can get a compatible refrigerator sensor to work with, such as ring alarms, simplify or abode. If you don’t, you have a few options. Both Honeywell Home Wi-Fi water leak and refrigerator detector And Roast smart leak detectors Connect to your Wi-Fi network and smartphone without a hub. Some sensors include probes or contacts that need to interact with the object they are monitoring, while others detect the air temperature around it and alert you when it comes in high enough to risk a problem.
For a step on pipe protection, look for water flow measuring devices, e.g. Finn Smart Water Assistant, Which can be integrated with the water shut-off valve. When it detects an ice molecule or a leaky pipe, your home’s water supply is automatically cut off before any serious damage occurs. For observation only, the fin costs three times more than other sensors. This is a big investment, but it is one that provides leak detection for your entire home.
Smart smoke alarm
Most homes already have smoke alarms, often multiple and these are essential safety features for anyone. But there is one major drawback to them: only effective if you are home listening to the siren. A smart smoke alarm does this but lets you call the fire department and a trusted neighbor to ensure quick response and protection to nearby residents while you’re away.
Our favorite Google Nest ProtectionWhich is sensitive to both smoke and carbon monoxide. The Roast the smart battery Lets you turn on regular smoke alarms that use on 9V battery smarts. Alexa speakers for the owners Alexa Guard The feature available in most echoes acts as a smart smoke alarm, listening to the sound of your regular smoke alarm and sending you an alert if you hear it. (All of these devices send notifications to your smartphone in the event of a smoke)
In addition to helping you control the climate of your home, temperature sensors can alert you to changes in temperature-critical locations, such as wine cabinets, humidors, cry rooms or pet enclosures.
Let’s say your anaconda cage heater is out in January. Any temperature sensor can alert you to this problem, giving you a chance to fix it before your snake gets caught cold.
Most temperature sensors are small, about the size of a matchbook, and can be hidden from view. If you connect someone to a smart speaker like Amazon Echo, you can set up a custom declaration like “Snake Pepper,” to alert you to problems. Some of the above-mentioned fixed sensors serve as ordinary temperature sensors, but we like it The degree of Eve Sensor for Apple HomeKit users. In addition to being a smart sensor, it has a display that lets you view the temperature without having to open an app on your iPhone.
Contact the sensor
Used in doors or windows to determine if something is open or closed, communication sensors are usually part of a security system that an entrant alerts you to when you enter your home. But they can also be used in many other practical ways to protect your belongings: A contact sensor in the refrigerator can let you know that the door is open so you can close it before your food is wasted. One of the garage doors works the same way, letting you close it before you’re too far from home (and one) Smart garage-door controller Lets you turn it off).
If you have an alcohol cabinet or other valuable storage space, you can set up a contact sensor to let you know when snooping hands go where you don’t want them. If you have kids and are worried about accessing parts of their home, contact hand sensors can alert you quickly when small hands open a gate. One of our favorite is the basic Wi-Fi sensor Monoprice Stitch: It’s a bit huge, but it doesn’t require a smart-home hub. It also works with Alexa routines, which means you can program your smart speaker to announce something like “the beer fridge was opened.” People using Apple’s HomeKit system should keep an eye on them Fibro Door / Window Sensor.
Many of the sensors included here combine multiple sensing capabilities, such as speed and temperature, into one device, so you can save some money by getting something that does double duty. Censoring around the home may seem like an unnecessary expense for extreme caution – but you’re betting a bid compared to the cost of big plumbing repairs or fire.
Sign up for Wirecutter Weekly Newsletter And get our latest recommendations every Sunday.
A version of this article exists Wirecutter.com.