Since its introduction just a few months ago, our SimpleSENCE Water Leak and Freeze Detector has been extremely well received. Its simple operation, easy set up, and high level of accuracy are just a few of the reasons for this success.

One question that does come up is, “Why did you create a WiFi-based water leak detector?” Let’s face it, there are a boatload of “connected” products on the market. In particular, there are connected water leak detectors that operate on Z-Wave and ZigBee smart home platforms. They are often part of an entire smart home ecosystem and besides detecting water leaks and freeze conditions, they can be connected to a water shutoff valve that will turn off the water if a leak is detected.

We have absolutely nothing against these fully featured, “smart” water leak detectors. There are a number of good ones at various price points, and for some consumers they are a sound investment. In developing a WiFi water leak and freeze detector, we elected to take a slightly different approach. While a fully connected detector provides certain benefits, a WiFi-based version offers its own advantages:

WiFi requires no additional equipment. SimpleSENCE works off your home’s existing router (and if you have internet service, you already have a router). Smart devices, including water detectors, require a home automation hub of some sort (think SmartThings, for example). This means extra cost, along with extra equipment that can create extra sources of potential technical problems.


It offers a simple solution to a common problem. Some people like the functionality of a fully equipped smart home, which allows them to control lighting, heat, television, security and more. For them, adding a smart water leak detector to an existing ecosystem that already features a smart hub makes perfect sense. Conversely, there are many homeowners who aren’t interested in a complete smart home. They just want a simple solution to a single problem: water leaks. For them, a product like SimpleSENCE answers the call.

Setup is incredibly easy. When you set up a WiFi device like SimpleSENCE (and many other WiFi devices as well), you turn on the device, download the app, and you’re generally led through a straightforward, easy-to-follow set-up process. Incorporating a device into a Z-Wave or ZigBee ecosystem can be a bit of a crapshoot. It can end up being simple or hard, depending on the brand of home autoamtion hub you’re using and a variety of other factors.  

Interoperability is never an issue. All Z-Wave products will talk to one another. But Zigbee is broken up into several protocols, including Home Automation, Smart Energy Profile, SEP energy management, digital health, home hospital care, and more. This can create an issue, as Zigbee devices of different protocols can't always talk to each other. With WiFi, each device connects to the router individually – there are no obstacles related to device communication.

WiFi reduces worries about hacking. When you are utilizing an ecosystem connected device, the base station is a known entity. Meaning, the platforms are deployed at such scale, if a hacker has a technique to gain access to an Alexa, for example, they can gain access to all Alexas using the same technique. Gaining access to the central unit provides easier access to the other connected devices (APIs are more well known, etc.). Additionally, the base stations are typically connected to the home network via WiFi (or ethernet), but no difference, these devices are connecting to the outside world in the same manner.

Conversely, an autonomous WiFi device is much more randomly distributed and the ability to hack one WiFi connected product does not provide any synergy in hacking another product. Thus, the incentive to hack an ecosystem vs. individual devices is greater.