House water flow meter? I had a leak that cost me!

So I found one of my front yard sprinkler valves was leaking by, replaced the cheapo valve. No idea how long its been leaking full on to the drip system. Got my water bill today, its 4x more, Dayum! Is there a reliable flow meter I can install with Hubitat driver support?

We are entering a serious drought out here on west coast and they will likely start jacking up water rates and issuing fines for abusers like I was.

2 Likes

Flume. Often can get the water company to pay for some/all of it, too, if they have any kind of water conservation/leak program.

Cloud based integration, but at least there is a hubitat integration for it.

That said, I don't currently use the Hubitat flume integration (I simply don't have any automation I want to do with the flume data), but do have it installed on my development hub and it seems to work very well.

7 Likes

How does the sensor work? I looked at the web site, stylish and all, but at first glance a little shallow. It seems like it straps onto the water meter, no plumbing involved? Can it work on a well system without a meter?

Correct. Magnetic flow detection on the meter.

Doesn't work without a meter, though.

1 Like

Another vote for Flume!

Mine was almost free after water utility rebate.

During the Texas freeze it alerted me to a frozen/broken hose bib running water full blast immediately.

Paid for itself many times over even at full price.

Also, "Alright. Who took the 100 gallon shower this morning?“

2 Likes

Will check my water meter compatibility then maybe pull the trigger on a Flume ver2.

I use the Streamlabs water monitor and it alerted me to a slow(ish) leak on one of the toilets. Turns out that a chlorine puck got lodged under the stopper and was letting a little bit through so the refill valve stayed open a bit.

Unsure if it has a hubitat integration as I have it connected through node-red (still haven't found an automation opportunity yet though).

Pretty sure you can't go wrong with either Flume or Streamlabs though. I only got it because it there was a pretty good sale on them at Best Buy.

1 Like

Flume hijacks the same signal that the utility water meter uses - magnetic pulses as a disc or piston oscillates. This makes your meter the "one version of the truth", and also gives you a reading at the point where ownership transfers from the utility to you.

Streamlabs makes a nice product (as do Phyn and Flo), but it is necessarily further downstream.

Side note - I just discovered an outlier problem that none of these would solve. I have a very slow leak shortly after my water meter. It is 150 feet from my house, so not really a fit for a Streamlabs-type solution. It seems to be below the low flow detection capabilities of the Zenner PPD (0.125 gal/min) - if it doesn't spin the meter, then Flume cannot detect it. Unless I find a catastrophe about to happen, I will just let it keep drip-irrigating the Ocotillo planted near the meter box.

1 Like

If you do buy it, you can try my Hubitat driver integration: Flume integration - #36 by tomw

Shout-out to Flume support -- they respond really quickly and are very helpful. Take a picture of your meter and send it to them. They'll tell you whether it will work or not. But you can check here first: Is the Flume device compatible with all water meters? | Flume Help Center

I'm not a Flume shill, I promise. But I can say that mine detected a very small leak -- the tiny spray coming out of a loose hose nozzle that was accidentally left on. They have an estimate of minimum leak detection, which seems within what you estimated: What is the lowest flow rate that Flume can detect? | Flume Help Center

Your right, I checked the water company website and they have a 1 time leak bill adjustment. Downloaded the form to fill out which includes this snippet:

So what the hell leak is eligible? That list eliminates them all. Crazy.

2 Likes

I guess it's plumbing (pipes) only, not any fixtures.

By the way, how would you stop water gushing out of this pipe in the middle of the Texas freeze with everything closed without shutting off water to the house?

8 Likes

Clever - I like it!

This is one of those situations, where it is useful to have a couple 1/2" and 3/4" caps, No-Korode, solder, and a torch with MAPP gas on hand.

3 Likes

How do you research
The rebate?

Call your local water company and ask them if they have any water conservation programs. Sometimes they are advertised on the water company’s website.

5 Likes

Thank you

1 Like

Thanks for the pointer to the Flume! I Love stuff like this and just ordered one. Installing tomorrow.

I don’t suppose you have a recommendation for a gas monitor do you?

Natural Gas?

Yes, natural gas service. Akin to Sense for electrical service or Flume for water service.

Download the Hubitat app