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Orbit B-Hyve Smart Flood Sensor - Review 2020


Orbit Irrigation’s B-Hyve Smart Flood Sensor ($99.99 for a pack of three) is a DIY leak detection system that comes with three tiny water sensors and a plug-in hub that connects them to your home Wi-Fi and your phone. Ideal for placement under washing machines, refrigerators, hot water heaters, and sinks, the B-Hyve does an excellent job of detecting even the smallest amount of water, and it will warn you of freezing temperatures that can lead to burst pipes. That said, it doesn’t work with other smart home devices or support voice commands like our Editors’ Choice, the $50 D-Link DCH-S161 Water Sensor.

Design and Features

The B-Hyve Smart Flood Sensor includes a plug-in hub, three water sensors, a quick setup guide, and a user manual. Additional sensors go for $34.99 each, but you can save money if you buy a five pack of sensors without a hub for $99.99. Or, you can order an eight pack with a hub for $189.99. For larger homes, a pack of 20 sensors with two hubs will cost you $469.99. 

The hub looks identical to the one used by the Orbit B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer. It measures 4.7 by 1.5 by 1.0 inches (HWD) and resembles a large thumb drive. It has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (2.4GHz) radios, and plugs into a wall outlet.

The hexagon-shaped water sensors measure 0.5 by 1.7 inches (HW) and are attached to a 6-inch tether line for easy retrieval from underneath appliances and behind cabinets. They each have a built-in temperature sensor and are powered by a single CR2032 button battery that can be accessed by prying off the top of the sensor. There are two tiny water sensor terminals and a pairing reset button on the base of each device, and the top has an LED indicator that glows white during setup and blinks red when water is detected or when a temperature threshold has been breached.

Orbit B-Hyve Smart Flood Sensor

The Flood Sensors use the same mobile app (for Anroid and iOS) as the B-Hyve 12-Station Smart WiFi Sprinkler Timer and the above-mentioned Faucet Timer. It opens to a home screen that displays all installed sensors and their locations. A green check mark next to the sensor tells you that everything is OK, and a red exclamation point indicates wet conditions or temperature readings that are outside of the threshold. Tap the sensor to see what type of alerts have been triggered and when. Here you can also check the battery level and the current temperature. Once the device senses dry conditions or the temperature level has returned to an acceptable level, the green check mark will return. Each event generates a push notification and an email. 

Back at the home screen, there are three buttons at the bottom. The Alerts button takes you to a screen where you can view current alerts, as well as a history of alerts and their resolution. The Home button takes you back to the home screen, and the Settings button takes you to a screen where you can manage your B-Hyve account, view device information such as MAC address and online status, add a new device, and configure notifications. There’s also a Help button with frequently asked questions.

You can link the Flood Sensor to an Orbit sprinkler controller to have it shut off your sprinklers, but it doesn’t interact with other devices such as smart fans, thermostats, and smart plugs. It also lacks supports for Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands, IFTTT applets, and Apple HomeKit.

B-Hyve flood sensor app screens showing flood sensor locations, device stats, and events log

Installation and Performance

The B-Hyve sensor is easy to install. Start by downloading the mobile app and creating an account. Tap New Device on the Add Device screen, select the Hub from the list, and follow the instructions to write down the hub’s MAC address found on the back of the device. Plug the hub in to a centrally located outlet, verify that the MAC address is correct, and tap Next to pair the hub with your app. Next, select your Wi-Fi SSID from the list, enter your Wi-Fi password, and tap Connect. You’ll be asked to verify your location and name the hub to complete the hub installation.

To add sensors, tap New Device at the Add Device screen, select Flood Sensor, and remove the battery tabs from each sensor. You’ll be prompted to scan the QR code located on the quick setup guide and place each sensor in an area you would like to monitor. Tap Next to connect each sensor to the hub and use the signal strength screen to confirm that each sensor has a good connection. Tap Next, locate the sensor that is blinking white, and give it a name and location. At this point you’ll be prompted to set temperature thresholds for the sensor, but you can always edit these values later on. Repeat this process for the remaining sensors to complete the installation.

The sensors worked well in testing. Once the sensing terminals came into contact with even the slightest bit of water, I immediately received both push notification and email alerts. Within seconds of removing the standing water, I received an alert telling me that the water had receded.

I set a low temperature threshold of 32 degrees Fahrenheit and placed a sensor in my freezer, and within five minutes or so I received a low temperature alert. Once the device hit room temperature again, I received an alert stating that the temperature had returned to normal. 

Orbit B-Hyve Smart Flood Sensor opened

Conclusions

The Orbit B-Hyve Flood Sensor offers an easy way to monitor areas of your home that are prone to leaks. Simply place one of these tiny devices under a sink, next to a washing machine, or behind the toilet, and you’ll receive push and email alerts when water is detected. Additionally, a built-in temperature sensor can help prevent damage due to burst pipes by alerting you when the temperature drops below a certain level. Installation was a snap and the sensors worked well in testing, but they don’t interact with other smart devices such as sirens, fans, thermostats, and cameras. For that you’ll need our Editors’ Choice, the D-Link DCH-S161 Water Sensor. It supports IFTTT applets that allow it to work with third-party smart devices, and it interacts with other D-Link devices as well as with Google voice commands.

For a more powerful water monitoring solution, the Flo by Moen Automatic Water Shutoff is your best bet and is also an Editors’ Choice winner. It detects system-wide leaks and will shut off your home’s water supply when it detects abnormally high flow rates or a rise in water pressure, and it works with Alexa and Google voice commands and IFTTT applets. However, it carries a $500 price tag and requires professional installation, making it a much more costly alternative.

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