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WallyHome review: Sniffs out leaks all over your home

Susie Ochs | Sept. 2, 2014
A friend of mine just had to fix thousands of dollars in water damage after finding out her refrigerator had been leaking for a year. As a relatively new homeowner, this is my nightmare scenario--the problems I can't see and remain blissfully ignorant of until they become giant expensive problems that I can't miss.

Inside the app, you can monitor more than one property, in case you have a vacation home you'd like to monitor. (You'd just need one hub in each house.) The sensors send their data to the cloud, where it's analyzed, and the app shows graphs of the temperature and humidity readouts for each sensor. If your sensors detect conditions outside a specific range, you'll get a notification.

Plain text alerts

WallyHome's notifications are designed to be actionable: When I simulated a leak, for example, I got a text telling me water was detected, and asking me to text back a code if I could investigate. When I texted the code, the other people in my trusted circle were notified that I would be checking out the problem. When I cleaned up the water, my circle got another text that it had been cleaned up. (Those notifications can come via push and email too.)

Sensors in your attic can lead to notifications that you need better ventilation, or that you should consider adding more insulation. It's all the stuff I would want to know as a new, mostly clueless homeowner. And if I owned a home I was renting to someone else, WallyHome's data and notifications would be priceless.

Machine learning even lets WallyHome predict the growth of mold. As CEO Jeremy Jaech explained, while there are tons of different kinds of molds, most are predictable if you know enough about the temperature, moisutre and humidity, and the surface, over a long enough period of time. WallyHome doesn't know about the surface, so it assumes the worst there, and uses its data and algorithms to fill in the rest. The system can keep track of how long conditions remain favorable for mold growth, and give you a nudge when you're in the danger zone.

Everything seems fine at my house, thank heaven, so aside from my simulated leak, the only WallyHome notification I got was when the signal was lost from the sensor hidden under my bathroom toilet. The bathroom actually sticks out from the side of the house a little, and the toilet is in the far end, so maybe it's just far enough away from the wires to make a difference. The notification advised me to rotate the sensor or move it slightly, or even stand it up on its end, and when none of those would keep the sensor online, it was easy to reassign that sensor to a new spot in the house.

Bottom line

Water damage, freezing, and mold add up to billions of dollars of insurance claims each year, and having an early warning system can save not just money but heartache. WallyHome's useful notifications come without any monthly monitoring fees, and the system is easy to set up. It would be nice to not have to keep the hub tethered to a router by Ethernet, but the convenience of not having to charge or change the sensors' batteries makes up for it.

 

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