If your home’s pipes spring a leak, the cost can run in the thousands of dollars. On top of that, you may not notice that there’s a problem at all, leading to more serious damage down the line. Flo Technologies is addressing this with an internet of things device called Flo that can detect water leaks and monitor your home water system.
The average house loses more than 10,000 gallons of water every year due to leaks, and 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This means a trillion gallons — or enough water for 11 million homes — is wasted in the U.S. each year. And a third of U.S. homeowners have suffered losses from water damage.
Culver City, California-based Flo Technologies has begun shipping Flo in the U.S. so that homeowners can proactively detect leaks. The product costs $500 and will send you notifications via a mobile app if your water pressure is dropping due to a leak — it can detect leaks as small as one drop per minute. The device is also integrated with Amazon Alexa voice recognition technology, enabling you to ask Alexa for updates on water usage during the day.
“I vividly remember opening the door to my family’s home after a vacation. I saw water raining down from the ceiling,” said Flo Technologies CEO Gabriel Halimi, in a statement. “At FloTechnologies, our purpose is to prevent loss, one drip at a time, and we believe that with Flo we can help proactively prevent families from going through the same physical and financial stress that my family experienced.”
The price isn’t cheap, but the average cost of a water damage claim is $8,500. Overall, $9 billion in claims are paid out per year, which raises insurance rates.
Most detection systems use point moisture sensors or basic water-metering technology limited to flow to detect leaks after the fact. Flo measures all your water system’s vital characteristics in real time, including water pressure, temperature, and flow rates to detect vulnerabilities and prevent damage.
Unlike individual point moisture sensors that have to be placed in perceived trouble areas, a single Flo device works throughout the home.
The company’s Microleak technology proactively checks for the smallest vulnerabilities anywhere in the home water system. If something critical like a burst pipe happens, Flo can shut off water flow in the home and send an alert. It also lets you check current water usage, compare historical patterns, and set conservation goals.
“The key to providing the best solution for leaks in homes is having technology that proactively monitors the entire home and shuts off water in the event of a catastrophe. Flo does this by monitoring all three key characteristics of a water system – pressure, temperature, and flow. That combination enables us to detect early indicators of plumbing issues,” said Halimi, in an email. “The key difference with Flo is proactively monitoring pressure. It lets us identify micro-leaks and designate that a home is truly leak-free. A drop of water every couple of seconds adds up to over 1,000 gallons annually, and is what contributes to the one trillion gallons of water wasted each year due to leaks in the U.S. Any system without pressure is an incomplete solution if we’re trying to prevent damage and waste. At Flo, we aim to prevent that loss, one drip at a time.”
Flo can connect users to their local plumbing professionals or help recommend a plumber through a national partnership with American Leak Detection. Some insurance companies are offering discounts on premiums, making Flo self-funding for homeowners over time.
Rivals include Phyn Plus, which is backed by Belkin, as well as Buoy, Steamlabs, and Guardian by Elexa. Flo Technologies was founded in 2015 and has raised more than $11 million from Crosslink Capital, USAA, Plug and Play, MetaProp NYC, and Anthemis Group.
Halimi started Flo with his father, Henry Halimi, a fluid mechanical engineer. The company has fewer than 50 employees.