Automating a home water main shutoff valve

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Miner

Occasional Visitor
I am absolutely jonesing to install an automated water main shutoff valve.

Product manufacturer pages here: https://www.domeha.com/z-wave-water-main-shut-off-valve

Better images and explanation here: https://www.thesmartesthouse.com/pr...us-water-main-shut-off-valve-controller-dmwv1

This will be my first jump into home automation. I've searched and haven't seen any mention of water main valves being mentioned in here. That being so, any comments on the technology involved?

Why is this my priority you ask? Every plumber will tell you some variation of this: Whenever I'll be away from my house for 24 hours I shutoff the water main. Sometimes "24 hours" is 16 hrs and sometimes it's 12 hrs. It's never measured in days.
 

distilled

Senior Member
I am absolutely jonesing to install an automated water main shutoff valve.

Product manufacturer pages here: https://www.domeha.com/z-wave-water-main-shut-off-valve

Better images and explanation here: https://www.thesmartesthouse.com/pr...us-water-main-shut-off-valve-controller-dmwv1

This will be my first jump into home automation.

Do you have Z-Wave gear already? You might consider using WiFi instead. Nothing in the world wrong with Z-Wave, but I have been really digging Tasmota, which is an open source firmware project for IoT gadgets using ESP36 or ESP8266 chips. It allows you to automate things without using the China clouds like Tuya.

Everyone is different and you may well have done your homework and made a reasoned decision to go with Z-Wave for this project, but just in case you haven't come across projects like ESPHome and Tasmota, you owe it to yourself to check them out.

Here, scroll down to the bottom where it says Valves. And remember that this is just a template repo, it is not an exhaustive list.

https://templates.blakadder.com/misc.html

Using Home Assistant on a RasPi or in a Docker container, you can essentially automate anything, without the cloud. You can access your setup remotely with a VPN, so your network stays sealed.

I spent this past weekend setting up PIR motion sensors and door/window sensors - the Wyze Sense stuff is crazy cheap (about $5/sensor) and with the Wyzesense: integration, they don't call home, so you don't have to use their camera and cloud. Heh, use Dafang firmware with their camera to take *that* out of the cloud and make it RTSP. Because why not?
 
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coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
I have been using blue tooth in my home automation. I feel like it is hard to hack from afar. I believe you need to be local to hack it. My problem is distance with a large home.
 

Miner

Occasional Visitor
No I do not have a Z-Wave controller. I posted to get the design ideas hashed out.

For my second priority I'm thinking of a few Lutron Caseta light switches. As far as I can tell a Lutron Smart Bridge cannot connect to a Z-Wave controller for the valve I linked to.
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I'm the home automation here.

Anytime I hear 'it's cold in here' , I turn up the heat. :)

Also very hard to hack too. :)
 

distilled

Senior Member
I have been using blue tooth in my home automation. I feel like it is hard to hack from afar. I believe you need to be local to hack it. My problem is distance with a large home.

Bluetooth itself has short range, but if you have Bluetooth dongles on HA and HA is internet exposed, then BT is internet exposed. I liked the idea of BT or NFC for presence detection, but range was the issue, like you said.
 

distilled

Senior Member
No I do not have a Z-Wave controller. I posted to get the design ideas hashed out.

For my second priority I'm thinking of a few Lutron Caseta light switches. As far as I can tell a Lutron Smart Bridge cannot connect to a Z-Wave controller for the valve I linked to.

Why Lutron tho? You can flash any one of dozens of smart switches with Tasmota, and that gives it cloud and bridge free smart control from Alexa, Google Home, Almond/Ada etc. Tasmota also has password protected HTTP and MQTT control, Hue and Wemo emulation and all of the little bells and whistles like multiple daily timers, all built in.

IMHO, getting and keeping your stuff out of the cloud is a security must, as is segmenting those things from the rest of your LAN.
 

distilled

Senior Member
I'm the home automation here.

Anytime I hear 'it's cold in here' , I turn up the heat. :)

Also very hard to hack too. :)

YOU may be hard to hack, but many humans aren't. Consider 2016. ;)
 

Miner

Occasional Visitor
This is the kind of feedback I wanted to get.

As for buying and then flashing some Lutron hardware, for my case when just jumping into this for the first time I'm not sure that is what I want to do. I will read up more on it before final decision.
 

distilled

Senior Member
Yup, some brilliant folks put together a set of Python scripts (called Tuya-Convert) that pretty much automate the flashing process, so that it can be easily done over the air, instead of physically probing the hardware.

My two cents, which is worth less than $0.01: Decide what you want to do, like, how many plugs, switches, RGB bulbs, valves, ceiling fans, garage door openers etc that you want, and then look around for pre-made gadgets that use the ESP8266 chip (or the Tuya / Smart Life app). Then you can check this list https://templates.blakadder.com/misc.html and see what devices have templates already built for. Blakadder's site also usually tells whether something has to be serial flashed (hardware) of if Tuya-Convert can be used to flash it OTA. Narrow down a brand that has the function and aesthetic you want, buy one on Amazon or wherever, and try to flash it. If you like what it does, buy the rest.

I *really* think these devices are so cheap because they are subsidized by our privacy. Tuya is a huge company that provides the data processing for thousands of different brands and types of smart devices, and I bet they provide it for next to nothing, knowing they will be able to build huge databases that can be sold to, say, the Chinese government. And that is without getting paranoid about having a device inside my LAN that could be repurposed into a promiscuous sniffer or a pivot point for a lateral attack by a future update. But you can take advantage of that by buying these underpriced gadgets and flashing them with free, open source firmware like Tasmota. A smart plug or dimmable RGB bulb should cost under $10, a switch maybe $15, more than $20 is crazy expensive.

Z-Wave is a whole different animal, it is more like Bluetooth, in that it is local and reasonably secure. But, look up the Philips Hue hacks. It can be done.

Have phun, mate, good luck. This stuff is SO neat ;)

BTW I am just getting into it myself with all this "at home" time, it is really pretty straightforward, and the community has a LOT of excellent people to help you out along your journey. Sorta like this forum. Do a quick search for Home Assistant and you will get an idea.
 

Miner

Occasional Visitor
Thinking forward on the option of flashing smart switches, what happens when one sells their home? You obviously do not want to leave a unique, niche home automation system for the next owner. Can the devices be flashed back to their OEM states?

I can see a home with smart switches and lighting control being a very positive influence for prospective home buyers, however if the system were unique and specialized it would be a negative. Any thoughts
 

distilled

Senior Member
Yes, you can easily flash everything back. One of my houses will be going on the market, once things clear up and the time is right, and I would not have outfitted it the way it is otherwise.

I *think* that it will be a feature rather than a hindrance to have a fully self-contained non-internet dependent smart ecosystem, and that is what you end up with. But even the over-the-air flashing scripts back up the original firmware automatically before flashing the new brain.
 

wh7qq

Senior Member
I'm with @distilled here, using bare boards with network capability. In this case, it gives you the ability to secure it within your own LAN or access it remotely with a VPN and not have to worry too much about intruders. There is no need to use invasive outside corporate support. If you go all the way, a MOSFET driver and a solenoid valve may be needed and you can use your own enclosure or find one online.

I currently control my solar water heater's AC backup with a Raspberry Pi zero W and a solid state relay and I'm working on an irrigation controller using a NodeMCU board driving a SSR with commercial AC irrigation valves. I also use a NodeMCU to control a relay to provide web control of an outdoor bug lite. All this may require a bit of programming...python or ?? but much already has been written and published on the web and can be adapted to your specific need. I'm not saving a lot of money but keeping my head active and maintaining my home security.

The boards are cheap...around or under $10 US so it's easy to use one for each application.
 

ryanpbrandon

New Around Here
I use Xiaomi's Zigbee water sensors (~$15 ea) with Home Assistant (using the Zigbee support via zigbee2mqtt).

They report back instantly if water is detected. No cloud involved at all.

I have pumps for a garden and if something overflows, it will turn off the master switch to stop the water and send me an alert with a photo from nearby camera. I can then check in and turn things back on manually if it's ok.

I would stick to Zigbee or Z-wave stuff with some sort of non-cloud solution.
 

dev_null

Regular Contributor
I use Xiaomi's Zigbee water sensors (~$15 ea) with Home Assistant (using the Zigbee support via zigbee2mqtt).

They report back instantly if water is detected. No cloud involved at all.

...

I would stick to Zigbee or Z-wave stuff with some sort of non-cloud solution.
Agree with the last statement. Having the entire system "in house" both protects privacy and allows for control even if the internet is out. Recently we had a big storm and power and internet was out and everything still worked fine (most of my key systems are on battery backups).

I use the Aqara water sensors, paired to a HUSBZB-1 running on a RasPi3B+. I'm in the process of adding a Vaticas Zigbee Smart Water Shutoff valve to my system (I already have a ball valve, but it's too close to the pressure gauge, so I need to add a second ball valve downstream).
 

distilled

Senior Member
Gotta add another shoutout to Zigbee over WiFi. Both are 2.4 GHz, but it still offloads a lot of garbage from your router. A Sonoff Zigbee bridge running Tasmota covers three levels, and it cost like $15. Properly thought out Zigbee mesh and some cheap, well-placed UPS really help. Wish I had thought about that before installing so many Tasmotized light switches, but meh, live and learn, they work fine. But in hindsight, I have to wonder what liabilities they might present when the rest of the network is upgraded to WPA3. It won't be tomorrow, but there IS a ticking clock on backward compatibility. Also I bought 10 RGB 8266 light bulbs, and 2 still work (and one of those two makes an awful high pitch squeal when it is on). Yeah, Zigbee or Zwave is the way to go.
 

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