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Smart Home

Buoy taps into pipes to sense water problems and save money

The Buoy knows everything using water at home and if there's a problem.

A peek at what's inside the Buoy water sensor's box.

Buoy Labs

The app shows if there's a leak, and even lets you call a plumber.

Buoy Labs

Your home's water supply is serious business. Most people though take it for granted, until there's a problem. The $799 Buoy device, out now, is designed to arm you with hard data about what's using water where, when and how much. In fact it's one of the few products of its kind to offer separate water usage info split out by appliance and plumbing fixture.  

It also sniffs out potential leaks in real time. Buoy sends mobile alerts to keep you in the loop too. Buoy can even shut down your water line remotely in case a catastrophic failure occurs.

How Buoy works  

Dreamed up by startup company Buoy Labs, the Buoy sits between your home and its incoming water line. Besides an emergency shutoff valve, the device has onboard Wi-Fi to talk to the internet through your home network. What's really advanced though is the Buoy's electronic brain. Its creators claim it uses machine learning to intelligently pick out distinct water use signatures.

It should be able to know the difference between say your fridge's ice maker, the dishwasher and laundry machines. The same goes for particular showers, faucets, even sprinklers and hoses outside. Think of it as the water-based version of Neurio Home Intelligence, which lives inside your main electrical panel to monitor all power consumption inside the house. 


There are other products billed to do similar tasks. The Aquia Puck never got off the ground. Another one, called Fluid, does seem to exist. It can't shut off your water, but it tracks individual usage within your home. It also uses ultrasonic sensors so you don't need to call a plumber for the install. And with any hardware product hawked by an untested startup, the rule caveat emptor always applies. 

The Buoy is available now for $799. Keep in mind that it taps directly into your home's piping. That means unless you're a qualified plumber, this is not a DIY installation, so factor that into the cost.

Where to Buy

Buoy Labs Buoy

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