Our SimpleSENCE Water Leak and Freeze Detector has experienced (pun alert) a tidal wave of success. Consumers love the simplicity of set up and use; the choice of text or email alerts (or both); the Wi-Fi operation; and most importantly, the money they save on costly repairs from undetected leaks.

Still, we’ve heard from some folks, as well as a few media reviewers, asking why our device doesn’t have a water valve controller (i.e., an automatic water shutoff valve). That way, if a leak is detected, the water is immediately turned off at the main water valve and the guilty pipe will stop leaking water.

We’ve never shied away from criticism of any kind, and the fact is, the shutoff valve is a handy addition. We may add one to our own product somewhere down the line, or at least make it capable of interacting with a third-party controller. But since this comment has come up on several occasions, we want to address it head on.

The fact is, we did not equip our SimpleSENCE with a water shutoff valve for a number of very specific reasons, but the main one is this: our goal was to create a water leak and freeze detector that was simple, inexpensive, easy to use, not prone to connectivity issues, and didn’t need extra equipment. With SimpleSENCE, we have more than achieved our goal.

 To help better understand our rationale, let’s approach all of the reasons one at a time:

We’re Fully Equipped: A water leak sensor that features an automatic shutoff valve requires a smart home hub of some kind, through which the command to shut off the water is generated. Which means buying another piece of equipment. SimpleSENCE requires no extra equipment or wiring, not to mention subscription costs. That helps us retain our position as one of the best values in the water leak detector market.

We’re Well Connected: The vast majority of “smart” water leak detectors work off Z-Wave or Zigbee protocols, the two most popular smart home platforms. While both are pretty reliable, they can experience connectivity issues that can potentially interrupt service. SimpleSENCE not only uses Wi-Fi, but our unit only connects to the router about twice every 25 hours. So not only is connectivity rarely an issue, our method of connecting makes hacking virtually impossible.

Shutoff Valves Ain’t Free: Water leak detectors that come with a shutoff valve or valve controller are pretty expensive. The ones that don’t are far less costly, but you have to buy the shutoff valve separately, which can run in the hundreds of dollars.

Not Being Handy Isn’t Dandy: If you’re handy, you may be able to install the water shutoff valve yourself and sync it to the home automation system. But if you aren’t, you probably can’t. Which means enlisting the services of a plumber, electronics installer, or both. And yet again, you’re running up some potentially big bills.

It’s the Neighborly Thing to Do: When a pipe begins to leak, it rarely just starts leaking full speed. It’s usually a slow, steady drip. So, if you get an alert that you’ve got a leak and you’re not home, you can just shut it off yourself when you return; it’s highly unlikely there will be any noticeable damage, other than a small puddle to wipe up. Of course, if you’re worried about a bursting pipe, give one of your neighbors an extra key so they can get into your home and shut it off for you. After all, you’d do the same for them (right)?

 We know there are a plethora of water leak detectors on the market, and different features appeal to different consumers. But when you’re looking for a device that can perform a single function – in other words, solve a common household problem with an elegantly simple solution – SimpleSENCE has to be on your short list of candidates.