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  • Water flow detection.

    I know this has been asked before, but none of the threads really gave a solution I felt like was something I was willing to do.

    I would like to detect water flow. Mainly when, for instance, a shower/bath is running. I have 2 bathrooms that I have access to the plumbing via an ajacent wall. I would prefer to not actually add anything inline in the pipes if at all possible.

    I'm also not opposed to something like an Arduino to do it, but obviously the simpler the better. I will add that this isn't really meant for "humidity" reasons as I personally don't always take hot showers (Especially in the winter). It is more for detecting when to auto turn on/off lights.


    Sorry again if is it felt that this is a duplicate post, but most of the other solutions offered before were inline and I don't really care about how much water is flowing, but just that water is flowing at all.
    MeiAutomtion Home

  • #2
    There are commercial ultrasonic flow meters, but they are expensive. There's a crude DIY version shown here http://www.instructables.com/id/Low-...play/?ALLSTEPS. It may work for what you need.

    Cheers
    Al
    HS 3.0.0.548: 1990 Devices 1172 Events
    Z-Wave 3.0.1.262: 126 Nodes on one Z-Net

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    • #3
      Originally posted by sirmeili View Post
      I know this has been asked before, but none of the threads really gave a solution I felt like was something I was willing to do.

      I would like to detect water flow. Mainly when, for instance, a shower/bath is running. I have 2 bathrooms that I have access to the plumbing via an ajacent wall. I would prefer to not actually add anything inline in the pipes if at all possible.

      I'm also not opposed to something like an Arduino to do it, but obviously the simpler the better. I will add that this isn't really meant for "humidity" reasons as I personally don't always take hot showers (Especially in the winter). It is more for detecting when to auto turn on/off lights.

      Sorry again if is it felt that this is a duplicate post, but most of the other solutions offered before were inline and I don't really care about how much water is flowing, but just that water is flowing at all.
      OK, have to ask..
      What is the use case for water flow and lights on/off
      Perhaps there's another primary control element you can use to trigger the lights (motion?)

      Like Al said, ultrasonic is very pricey and not very good at low flows.

      Z

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      • #4
        Originally posted by vasrc View Post
        OK, have to ask..
        What is the use case for water flow and lights on/off
        Perhaps there's another primary control element you can use to trigger the lights (motion?)

        Like Al said, ultrasonic is very pricey and not very good at low flows.

        Z
        Presence detection with High WAF. If I add a motion sensor in the shower, I don't think the wife will be ok with that. I am looking for ways to add to detecting if someone is in there. I currently have:

        Door Sensor
        Lights

        I can tell when the door is closed, but with my family, just because the door is closed and the lights are on does NOT mean that someone is in there. I have considered adding a central motion detector in the bathroom, but due to the shower curtain, it will not detect motion while someone is in the shower. That means I would likely need 2 for proper coverage/detection.

        Another added benefit is we can tell how long someone is using the shower (and wasting water). While I really don't care about how much is flowing, I do care how long it has been running and how often.
        MeiAutomtion Home

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        • #5
          Maybe I do need to reconsider motion and go with a Wasp In A Box approach with the motion, but my issue is that z-wave and intseon motion sensor don't trigger on all motion, just the initial and then send back only when there is no motion. So it would be possible for someone to walk in, trigger motion, then leave and close the door (leaving the lights on) and it would appear that there is someone in the bathroom. And yes, this has happened in my house on more than one occassion.. LOL

          I would go with an alarm system, but the cost for that is pretty high relatively at the moment. I think with that kind of motion sensor (triggers on all motion, not just initial) would work just fine though for a WIAB style approach.
          MeiAutomtion Home

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          • #6
            Originally posted by sirmeili View Post
            Maybe I do need to reconsider motion and go with a Wasp In A Box approach with the motion, but my issue is that z-wave and intseon motion sensor don't trigger on all motion, just the initial and then send back only when there is no motion. So it would be possible for someone to walk in, trigger motion, then leave and close the door (leaving the lights on) and it would appear that there is someone in the bathroom. And yes, this has happened in my house on more than one occassion.. LOL

            I would go with an alarm system, but the cost for that is pretty high relatively at the moment. I think with that kind of motion sensor (triggers on all motion, not just initial) would work just fine though for a WIAB style approach.
            So it's the shower light you're concerned about? Motion inside a shower is going to be tough with all of the humidity.

            Since it's the process trigger you seem to be trying to find it, perhaps just have the shower light switch start the process and then use any motion to reset a timer that turns off the light? That's how I do it, but I also monitor humidity to control the exhaust fan.

            Z

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            • #7
              Originally posted by sirmeili View Post
              Maybe I do need to reconsider motion and go with a Wasp In A Box approach with the motion, but my issue is that z-wave and intseon motion sensor don't trigger on all motion, just the initial and then send back only when there is no motion. So it would be possible for someone to walk in, trigger motion, then leave and close the door (leaving the lights on) and it would appear that there is someone in the bathroom. And yes, this has happened in my house on more than one occassion.. LOL
              The motion detector would still report no motion after the door is closed. You could look at there being no motion for X minutes before turning the light/fan off. That is how we handle it in our bathrooms. We use binary (instant) PIR, but a Z-Wave or other sensor with a minimum (1-2 minute) timeout would work. The motion sensors work for us with a 10 minute delay after no motion. They turn the lights on instantly, then turn them off 10 minutes after we leave the room - if we forget. The fan runs for 10 minutes after the lights are tuned off, or for 15 minutes after the last motion - whichever occurs first. Because our motion sensors are binary, we turn the lights on at first motion (if it is dark) then turn the fan on after 5 motion triggers within 2 minutes. This way the fan only runs when the room is occupied and will not run if someone just steps in to get something out of the medicine cabinet.

              For water flow, unless you take totally cold showers a OneWire temperature sensor on the hot water pipe supplying the shower could be monitored for temperature rising and above a threshold to indicate the shower is running and monitor if the temperature is falling and below a threshold to indicate the shower is no longer running. There might be a couple minutes lag in the detection of change (especially when the shower is not running), but it would still be adequate when used in conjunction with a PIR in the bathroom. I would imagine no one would leave the bathroom so quickly after a shower or that it would hurt for the lights/fan to run a couple of minutes after someone leaves.
              Randy Prade
              Aurora, CO
              Prades.net

              PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

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              • #8
                Ok, I think you all may have convinvced me. I'm thinking of getting the AeoTec Multisensor 6 for the bathroom. I checked the manual and it has a 10 second timeout on motion. That's low enough that I think I could do Wasp in a Box with it with a fair amount of accuracy. Bonus is I get the humidity as well (Though I've not had the best of luck with their older sensors).

                AT $50, I think it could be a good solution, plus they offer the in wall/ceiling mount so it barely sticks out. I'll probably put it in the ceiling, but I am slightly worried that it might affect the temperature readings here in the hot Florida summers, but since Temp is only a bonus for my use case, I don't think this will be an issue.

                Does anyone use this sensor? I'm thinking of using battery mode because I'll be mounting it "in" the ceiling, but not sure about putting an outlet with a USB plug running full time in the attic would be ok (or to code). From what I read you can get it to do automatic reporting of Humidity in addition to motion, so I don't think I really need to have it A/C powered. Thoughts?
                MeiAutomtion Home

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                • #9
                  I have a hawkeye (the outdoor version) in my shower and it has never had an issue. I have it trigger a counter. If that hits 4-5 times (can't remember what) I assume someone is in the shower and not just turning the water on/off / washing the tub / etc.

                  Then, I couple that with the door logic. If the door is closed, someone is in there. Once the door is opened for longer than 30 seconds (I think) I allow the shower fan on (wife doesn't like the fan on when showering due to the "cold" air.

                  The fan (for now) runs for 30 minutes. I have a few sensors for humidity that I want to try to mess with at some point. The one is designed for IoT applications, so off one CR2323 (I think) button cell battery it can report humidity to 0.01% RLH and temp to 0.01degF, once every 5 seconds for 2 years. The other I think I need to make a box for it to hang off the wall plug (constant power needed). The first is a totally custom setup. The second one is wifi and probably easier to integrate faster.

                  Anyway, I think that one sensor does 90% of what I needed. I also had a pressure mat around the toilet to tell the difference of being there or in the shower...however the batteries ran out of the DS10 I had hooked to it and I just removed it for the sake of lack of time to hook it back in.

                  --Dan
                  Tasker, to a person who does Homeautomation...is like walking up to a Crack Treatment facility with a truck full of 3lb bags of crack. Then for each person that walks in and out smack them in the face with an open bag.

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                  • #10
                    I posted some pictures of the X10 motion sensor in our shower a few years ago. It's worked flawlessly and there was no negative WAF impact. (Having the lights go off while she's in the shower, on the other hand. . .)

                    http://board.homeseer.com/showpost.p...41&postcount=8
                    Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
                    HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

                    HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

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                    • #11
                      you could always use a flow switch but it would require some pluming.
                      i picked up an old water meter with pulse output off ebay a few years ago to install so i could monitor for leaks or pipe breaks if we weren't home but i have not got around to installing it yet but i hope to have it in before winter

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                      • #12
                        does anyone know if the piezo method would work for a small leak, my guess is yes.

                        looks much cheaper and easier than cutting the inlet pipe and installing a 2nd water meter.
                        HS3 Pro on Windows 8 64bit
                        53 Z-wave nodes(46 devices, 7 remotes), 15 DS10a's, 10 ms16a's, 9 Oregon Sensors, W800, RFXCOMtrx433, Way2Call, 3 HSTouch Clients, 2xRussound CAS44, Global Cache GC100-12,10 Rollertrol blinds(+ zwave) ,3 Squeezebox Radios and 1 Squeezebox Boom,DMX Arduino via ethernet,Rain8Net,3x Echo Dot's


                        Check out my electronics blog here:
                        https://www.facebook.com/RaptorsIrrationalInventions

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                        • #13
                          So, I got the sensor in. I have it just temporarily mounted above the mirror right now (i will have to play with positioning before I drill a hole in the ceiling). This is what I came up with for my WIAB (Wasp In A Box) logic.

                          WIAB - Set as Occupied
                          This determines if I think the bathroom is "occupied". The Motion sensor is set a 10 second timeout, so 11 seconds of motion with the door closed should mean someone (or something) is in there.
                          Code:
                          IF	Guest Bathroom Motion Motion has been Motion for exactly 11s	
                          AND IF	Guest Bathroom Doors Door Sensor has been Closed for at least 10s
                          AND IF	Guest Bathroom Virtual Occupancy has a value equal to Unoccupied	
                           
                          OR IF	Guest Bathroom Doors Door Sensor has been Closed for exactly 11s	
                          AND IF	Guest Bathroom Motion Motion has been Motion for at least 10s
                          AND IF	Guest Bathroom Virtual Occupancy has a value equal to Unoccupied	
                           
                          OR IF	Guest Bathroom Motion Motion changes and becomes Motion
                          AND IF	Guest Bathroom Doors Door Sensor has a value equal to Closed
                          AND IF	Guest Bathroom Virtual Occupancy has a value equal to Unoccupied
                           
                          OR IF	Guest Bathroom Motion Motion has been Motion for at least 15s	
                          AND IF	Guest Bathroom Virtual Occupancy has a value equal to Unoccupied
                          
                          Then	Execute the command: &hs.SetDeviceValueByRef(1916,1,true)
                                               and only allow one instance of the script to run at a time.
                          WIAB - Set as unoccupied
                          This one determines if the bathroom is now unoccupied. I figured if there is no motion with the door open for a minute, no one must be in there. Note this is the main guest bathroom (not attached to a bedroom), so no one really uses it with the door open. This logic would not work in my master bathroom..LOL
                          Code:
                          IF	Guest Bathroom Doors Door Sensor has been Open for at least 1m, 0s
                          AND IF	Guest Bathroom Motion Motion has been No Motion for at least 1m, 0s
                          AND IF	Guest Bathroom Virtual Occupancy has a value equal to Occupied	
                          
                          Then	Execute the command: &hs.SetDeviceValueByRef(1916,0,true)
                                               and only allow one instance of the script to run at a time.
                          WIAB - Turn Off Lights based on Occupancy
                          This is what I'm doing to turn off the lights. I might add something to check if any of the lights are actually on, but for now I will just turn the ISY scene off no matter what. The only benefit of tracking the light status is I can change the top trigger to "for at least" instead of "exactly", which I normally prefer, but only if I have a condition to limit the trigger. This bathroom has 3 sets of lights (Vanity, General, Shower).
                          Code:
                          IF	Guest Bathroom Virtual Occupancy has been Unoccupied for exactly 10m, 0s
                          
                          Then	
                          Set Device	Guest Bathroom ISY Scene Turn On Bathroom to Off
                          If anyone sees anything missing or a blaring issue or just has a suggestion, please speak up. This is my first attempt at "Wasp In A Box" type logic for Occupancy. Granted, I have very few rooms that I can do this with just a motion sensor.

                          I'm really liking this sensor (Aeotec Multisensor 6), but I thought that it would update the values when they changed and not only when polled (or at least when motion was detected). I was wrong about that. So for now I have the wakeup time set to 4 minutes and it is reporting every 4 minutes. When I move it into the ceiling, I will likely run USB power and then set the updates to once a minute. I will also adjust the reporting thresholds then as well to cut down on traffic.
                          MeiAutomtion Home

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                          • #14
                            On a vacation house in the Arizona Sun I seem to have alot of sprinkler valves going bad and leaking. I would also like a way to detect water running from outside. I have no problem installing another meter and I liked the Fortrezz Meter thats already z-wave. I already have a Homeseer Shutoff valve on the main supply.

                            http://www.fortrezz.com/flow-meter/

                            Problem is it looks like its only SmartThings. Does anyone know if this will work with homeseer anyways? Anyone know of anything slimier? I could make a crude version myself but trying to get something that will calculate and such on the software side would be my problem. Trying to make an even that says like if water flowed more then x gallons in last hour or 24hours or something.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by integlikewhoa View Post
                              On a vacation house in the Arizona Sun I seem to have alot of sprinkler valves going bad and leaking. I would also like a way to detect water running from outside. I have no problem installing another meter and I liked the Fortrezz Meter thats already z-wave. I already have a Homeseer Shutoff valve on the main supply.

                              http://www.fortrezz.com/flow-meter/

                              Problem is it looks like its only SmartThings. Does anyone know if this will work with homeseer anyways? Anyone know of anything slimier? I could make a crude version myself but trying to get something that will calculate and such on the software side would be my problem. Trying to make an even that says like if water flowed more then x gallons in last hour or 24hours or something.
                              It should with HS3 too. Contact their support (they are pretty responsive) if you want to confirm. Alternately you could use a Fortrezz Mimolite or Mimo to connect to water meter that has a pulse output such as these: http://www.jerman.com/dljcmeters.html. I use the latter approach and it works well. I have one on my main water line and one on the line for the sprinklers.

                              Cheers
                              Al
                              HS 3.0.0.548: 1990 Devices 1172 Events
                              Z-Wave 3.0.1.262: 126 Nodes on one Z-Net

                              Comment

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