To me connected water shut-off valves are one of the most important devices you can install in your smart home. The ability to shut off water if a leak is detected is priceless! Today I am going to talk about the FortrezZ Z-Wave Water Valve and its integration into my smart home with both Wink and SmartThings. Before we get into that though let’s talk a little more generally about what is available in the connected water shut-off space.
You have two choices when it comes to connected water shut-off devices, a replacement valve like the FortrezZ or LeakSmart to a device that utilizes your existing valve and connects it like the Dome or Guardian. Both types have their pros and cons but all things aside I generally recommend a connected valve replacement. Obviously before selecting what is right for you, you need to consider your installation (pipe diameter, valve type, pipe material and access) and keep in mind that whatever you do to turn off your water is useless without high quality properly installed leak sensors like the Honeywell Lyric or LeakSmart Sensor.
Now on to the FortrezZ Valve specifically, as mentioned this is a device that replaces your existing valve, so it will require some plumbing to get installed, I think it goes without saying that if you are not comfortable with performing this type of work either higher a professional or consider a different option that utilizes your existing valve. FortrezZ has options to cover a whole slew of different pipe diamerters for residential applications so be smart and find out your pipe diameter before purchasing. Being adventures and a little bit handy I had no problem attempting this installation myself and for the most part installation went very well as soldering is something I am relatively comfortable with. While I had my pipe cut I took the time to add two manual valves one on each side of the FortrezZ Valve, this way if I need to service the FortrezZ Valve in the future I can easy easily shut water off and not have to partially drain my system. If you are considering putting a connected valve in I would recommend doing the same.
Being Z-Wave the FortrezZ Valve easily paired into my home automation systems, both Wink and SmartThings, although it should be noted that in Wink the FortrezZ Valve will needs to be paired as generic Z-Wave device and will show up under lights and power. SmartThings on the other hand has native support with no third-party device handler needed.
One of the things I most like about the FortrezZ Valve is the sensor that is hardwired directly to it. This allows me to have that sensor cover my mechanical room and relocate the LeakSmart Sensor I had there elsewhere, again connected water shut-off devices are only as good as the sensors in use. Using Webcore with SmartThings I can easily setup actions and notifications based off of water being detected at any of my leak sensors. I even went as far as to create a piston in Webcore to perform a weakly valve check where the FortrezZ Valve is turned off and then on weekly. This is also set to send me an alert if either the open and close command fails. Again, this is another best practice that I would highly recommend, it serves two functions, one it tests your communication to the valve and also it keeps the valve moving and free of any obstructions. Typically, when you need to shut off a valve it is stuck because it has been in one position since it was installed. Even if you do not plat to put in a connected valve I would recommend routinely exercising your valves so that in the event you need to shut them off they are not stuck.
Now the downside to the FortrezZ Valve is that it is expensive, you can get the Guardian with 3 sensors for roughly the same price. Well FortezZ says that is because of the high-quality components that it uses and the integrity of its valve. While I can not really argue with that I also think that the price needs to come down. As I started with in my opinion water shut-off devices are one of the most important devices that you can install and to get more of these out into consumers hands the price must be lower.
Any of you using devices for water shut-off? What are you using and what do you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.