Comparing the bluebot water smart home flow meter

When it comes to smart home water management, there are only a few options currently available in the market. Many are in line turbine flow meters, while others are actually just ‘counters’ that track the rotation of the municipality meter on the street.

plumbing needed for turbine meters

In line turbine flow meters are mechanical meters that have a turbine set that requires installation in the path of the water stream. The rate of spin is proportional to the velocity of the flow, allowing them to generally have high accuracy and are great for those with a primary interest of detecting pinhole leaks. The downsides to turbine meters include their difficulty of installation, hidden fees, the ability to seize from hard water and buildup, and their inaccuracy of reading due to pressure changes in a plumbing system.

 

While the home turbine flow meters available on the market today do suggest a DIY installation is possible, most do not recommend it. The installation requires special tools, water shutoffs, pipe cutting, some plumbing and electrical knowledge. Turbine flow meters are also not universally compatible, meaning you will need to confirm your pipe size & type and confirm the in-line flow meter you are purchasing is the right unit for your application. These flow meters are also pipe size and type dependent when it comes to price – the bigger your pipe, the more the unit will cost off the shelf. These meters are currently ranging from $539 – $839 and have additional installation fees for plumbers and electricians ($200 – $1000), plus they have monthly subscription fees ($5 – $15/mo) to access all your data. For those who are concerned about precise leak detection and have the budget and time available to install properly, a turbine flow meter is certainly one to consider.

 

Outside of flow meters, another option for smart home water management is a meter sensor/counter. These sensors install on/around your existing municipality street meter and record the revolutions made by your street meter as your property uses water. While these can be quick and easy to install, they are generally not the best long-term solutions. They are generally battery powered, and while they advertise 6-12 months of battery life, real users report significantly less battery life (as little as 2 weeks on properties that use a lot of water), and they are quickly becoming obsolete as most cities begin to focus on water infrastructure and update their water meters to digital meters, which are not compatible with this type of water monitor. These products also limit your ability to create custom alerts, require a significant amount of personal information during sign up, and have paywalls in place to access the most useful features. The biggest concern with this type of water monitoring is that it relies on an accurate water meter on your street, which is not always the case.

These alternatives to smart home water monitoring/management are precisely why we developed bluebot. Our combined 55+ years in ultrasonic flow technology provided us the opportunity to create a water management solution that was universal, easy to use, and designed for the customer’s real needs.

 

Bluebot is the only universal product on the market, working on Copper types L & M, PVC, PEX & Galvanized pipes from ¾” -2” (outer diameter). As with most IoT products, connection may take a handful of minutes, but installation takes only seconds and is as simple as using a hair clip.

The non-invasive installation removes the worry of additional hidden fees, professional installation, pipe cutting, water shutoffs, and electrical work. Simply locate your water line (guided in-app), connect to power & Wi-Fi, and clamp it on. One price fits all.

 

Unlike the other products available on the market, bluebot provides users unparalleled access to their data. Capturing over 42,000 data points per day, and relaying them to the app in less than a second in most cases, you can rest easy knowing you are seeing everything as it’s happening in your home. The other products on the market claim real time data, but they only refresh the data every 15 minutes, sometimes only hourly! If you’ve ever had a leak in your home, you know that a lot of damage can occur in just 15 minutes, not to mention an hour.

Bluebot also provides full flexibility and customization for alerting. While the other products on the market include pre-defined leak detection parameters, and may shut your water off for you when you don’t want them to – for example, when you’re taking a shower and are unable to override the leak detection & automated shutoff alert when it’s sent to your phone. With bluebot, you can choose to have your alerts sent via SMS or by push notification, and you can configure nearly unlimited alerting parameters for each and every bluebot meter you have. This has proven especially useful for irrigation management and reducing your monthly water bill.

Unlike the competition, bluebot is also industry leading when it comes to multiple meters. Quickly and easily monitor multiple water lines, such as irrigation, main line, guest house, vacation properties, or individual units in a multi-family complex. From within the bluebot water app, you can customize the name of each bluebot to indicate it’s placement, color code the graph display, and set alerts that pertain to each meter’s application. You can also easily share meters with family, friends, helpers, guests, or tenants to increase the awareness for usage and help manage costs – all without any hidden fees, subscriptions, or paywalls.

Thanks to our incredible engineering team, our effortless installation is not a tradeoff for accuracy. The bluebot smart home water meter accuracy, repeatability, and flow capability specifications are included below:

 

Accuracy:

+\- 1.0% to 2.0% of flow reading (application, pipe size and type dependent)

Each unit calibrated on a NIST traceable calibration water flow loop standard, 4-point flow calibration.

 

Repeatability:

+/- 0.2%

Low-Flow Capability:

0.2gpm to 0.5gpm (application, pipe size and type dependent)

 

High Flow Capability:

Unlimited

 

Pipe Sizes:

0.75″, 1.0”,1.25″, 1.5″, 2.0”

 

Pipe Types:

Copper Type L, Copper Type M, PEX, PVC, Galvanized

 

Power:

110VAC, 10’ USB-C power cable (included)

 

App Compatibility:

iOS14 , web app & Android coming soon

 

Device Footprint:

4.0”

 

IP67 outdoor use / water resistant

Best of all, bluebot is still in its early phases of commercial launch, meaning we’re only just getting started. After 3+ years of product development and refinement, a successful alpha and beta campaign, we launched at the end of 2020 to the consumer market. Our team is incredibly passionate about our customers, this product, and continually improving the ways in which we can make our users life easier through effective water management. We are working hard to provide new, innovative features in the app, expanding our iOS app to web portal and android (both coming soon!), and refining installation to become even easier in real world applications.

 

If you have any questions or just want to say hello, reach out at hello@bluebot.com, we’d love to hear from you!

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