When I started thinking about a renovation I vowed to add smart technology now, that I’d thank myself for later. One of the devices I thought could be a huge lifesaver was a smart remote-operated water shutoff valve. My search led me to Phyn Plus.
Phyn has provided me with a Phyn Plus device to install in my home for this sponsored article/video, but they’ve not told me what I have to or can’t say about it. I’ll tell you what the device can do, how it gets installed and if I think it’s a good idea for your home.
What is Phyn Plus?
Phyn Plus is a remote water shutoff value and water monitor that can keep tabs on water use across your whole home with a single device, it can let you control all your water from anywhere using a smartphone, and it will shut down water flow to the home if it detects a leak or a rupture.
Phyn Plus app
The Phyn app lets you shut off your water from anywhere, giving you the knowledge that if there’s a leak when you’re away from home, you’ll know right away. Text or push notifications from the free Phyn app alert you at the first sign of a possible issue. The app can also save you time by connecting you to an on-call plumber in minutes.
If you’re the type of person who likes to travel and have the water off for peace of mind, you don’t need to stress about forgetting to do it before you leave; you can shut your water off at any time you need or want to. And you can turn it back on and repressure your plumbing before you even get home if you’re that kind of person.
Phyn Plus App is proactive: will send text or alerts
Phyn Plus is about more than just avoiding home emergencies. The device is a smart water monitor too. With the Phyn app you can track and view your water use daily or monthly and see how your home compares to others. More on that in a minute…
You can also be notified before freeze conditions set in, giving you time to take action and avoid damage from frozen pipes.
No monthly fees
It’s also worth pointing out that there are no monthly fees for Phyn Plus or the app.
How does Phyn Plus work?
So how does Phyn Plus know you’re running the bathtub and not dealing with a burst pipe?
To simplify, Phyn Plus measures tiny changes in pressure 240 times every second to understand the unique flow of each water fixture in your home. This allows Phyn understand the subtle differences between a bathtub filling up and a burst pipe.
Inside there’s an ultrasonic flow sensor with no moving parts. Phyn says it’s the only connected water monitor to offer this type of sensor, and that makes it more accurate and more durable over time.
Other water monitors require you to place multiple sensors around the home where you think leaks are likely to occur. One Phyn Plus in a single location on your main water line is all you need to monitor your entire home’s water system for leaks—that’s one of the reasons I chose Phyn Plus for my home: it’s compact and simple.
Installing Phyn Plus & Who can use Phyn Plus?
While I’m okay with a lot of DIY, I turned to a pro for this one. During our renovation I had our plumber handle Phyn Plus’ installation because it goes on the main water line and I was just not confident enough to slice into that. At our home, the plumber was able to get Phyn Plus installed while he was doing some other work on the house. It took him about an hour and cost about $100 to complete the work.
Phyn Plus requirements
Your main water supply line needs to be 1 1/4″ or smaller, you need AC power near your line to connect Phyn Plus and you also need Wi-Fi. In case you’re wondering, Phyn Plus is made for single family homes and townhomes that are plumbed individually.
Using Phyn Plus: my in-home experience
The day after I connected Phyn Plus, I got a text alert telling me a plumbing check detected unusual water activity. The details on the alert told me to hunt for leaks by looking for dripping taps, running toilets, and placing paper towel under plumbing joints and behind toilets to see if anything might be leaking.
Phyn Plus will run checks on your home regularly, or you can run one any time.
Worth noting also is that Phyn Plus takes time to learn your house and water usage in detail, and it needs about 1000 ‘water events’ to be able to enable its Auto Shutoff feature, which will automatically turn the home’s water off if you don’t respond to a flow alert after a set time. I’m still working my way through this process, so will have to report back…
Monitoring water usage with Phyn Plus
Next I opted to check on our water usage.
Over time, Phyn learns and gives you insights into your water usage down to each type of fixture: taps, showers, washing machines, or faucets and initially you need to help it learn what’s what. The Plus can only let you know which type of fixture was used and how much water was used at the fixture type. It knows a toilet has flushed, but not which toilet. (Phyn’s smart water assistant you can train it to learn each individual fixture because it connects to both the hot and cold line, but not the Plus.)
Phyn Plus will display your water usage by fixture (it takes about 3 minutes to populate into the system), and I noticed it had the outdoor tap showing as used.
I double checked with my husband and since we didn’t use it, it seemed like this was another machine… we did do laundry mid-day so I was able to go into the app and reassign that event to the washing machine.
Next I noticed it showing the toilet was flushed like 5 times in the space of two hours, which I didn’t think was right either. The app lets you mark the usages you think are correct… but I guess it’s hard to know if you’re reviewing it a day or two later. My advice, spend a few days updating your usage so it learns your home and patterns. To that end, I decided to flush the toilet a few times and then run the faucets and the shower, and mark those as correct to help establish a baseline.
Overall, the app looks like it’s tracking pretty accurately, and—bonus!—it says we’re using about 40% less water than an average household our size.
What happens if the power goes out?
You might be wondering, as someone on my Instagram feed did, what happens if the power goes out. Phyn Plus does have a manual shut off valve you can use to turn water off, but there appears to be no battery backup. I guess chances are pretty slim you’ll experience a major water incident at the moment your Wi-Fi is out, but just so you know…
Voice control: Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Juggling too much stuff while you’re heading out the door? Ask Alexa or Google to shut the water off for you. Phyn Plus is designed to work with both Google and Alexa digital assistants for voice control over your device. Just link them theough the Phyn app and you can say:
“ Ask Phyn Deviceto turn off my water”
“Ask Phyn Device how much water I used today,” or “Ask Phyn Device my water status”.
Cost of Phyn Plus
Phyn Plus may seem pricey at about $699USD or $949CAD, but if you consider the cost of damage a major water leak can bring, or even the cost of your insurance deductible, Phyn Plus is a great insurance policy of its own.
Overall review: Phyn Plus
Overall this device is one I hope I never need. It’s not flashy, it doesn’t have cool lights and it doesn’t really talk to you, but a Phyn Plus is a peace of mind thing and I’m really glad I have it installed.
Phyn Plus is available from a variety of home improvement and big box stores and from Amazon.