by Patti Dees

With recent global attention on clean water issues, smart plumbing is stepping up to match innovations currently seen in electrical and HVAC systems. Smart technology in general focuses on efficiency and waste reduction. But smart plumbing technology has the potential to do more.

Smart Plumbing Goals

Plumbing upgrades have focused on managing water use and waste, protecting occupant health, and energy conservation. Smart plumbing technology improves on these benefits and more. But how? It’s just pipes and faucets, right?

As with all smart technology, data is king. Equipment monitoring and building management systems can track the state of systems with the data shared through smart devices. Analysis gives maintenance staff and technicians information to ensure the building’s systems run as smoothly as possible. Smart plumbing is no different; data is still key. 

Indoor Plumbing

While not technically smart devices, touchless faucets, and low-flow toilets continue to be popular. By connecting local sensors to a wireless network, these products make the swing into smart tech. The data collected can be used to monitor water use, schedule preventive maintenance tasks, or allow voice commands to adjust water temperature and pressure.

A significant concern for many consumers is potential water damage. With smart plumbing technology, leak detection sensors can shoot notifications to phones or workstations. Couple that with automation, and valves can be shut off to limit potential damage while technicians make their way to the location to investigate.

The potential applications for smart plumbing in community and personal health recommendations include features stemming from scientific research. Human waste data analysis is already used by health officials to get an idea of what illnesses may be active in an area. On the individual level, sensors could be used to detect early signs of diabetes or other disorders. Stool analysis may eventually provide a personalized diet based on an individual’s gut microbiome. With smart plumbing to collect the data, these features may not be so far-fetched.


Smart PLB TechnologyOutdoor Plumbing 

For irrigation, smart plumbing may also draw on external information. Local sensors can detect soil conditions such as moisture levels and nutrient availability. However, by incorporating weather forecasts or notification of municipal restrictions, AI analysis can further minimize water consumption.

Greywater systems that reuse water from showers, building humidifiers, or laundry facilities for irrigation are only safe if specific conditions are met. Smart plumbing technology makes monitoring the quality of the water in the system much simpler.

Are You Ready for Smart Plumbing?

Before rushing to replace plumbing, there are a few items to consider. Tying sensors to a centralized management system is a significant investment. For a smart plumbing system to function fully, stakeholders need to first invest in developing a thoughtful design and plan.

IoT and smart technology are common features in new appliances and building systems like HVAC and lighting. Until smart plumbing technology gains more notice, some features will be seen as luxury features, and demand luxury prices. This can lead many consumers to miss out on ways to control water consumption.

As with all smart technology, network security is necessary. Some devices include data safety features. Whether or not additional steps should be taken to protect the data depends on the rest of the design plan. For instance, if local sensors are to be connected to an established building management system with robust security, nothing more may be needed.

Smart plumbing technology extends many of the benefits seen in HVAC and lighting to a building system that is often overlooked. From leak detection to improved water management, Therma professionals can help design and install smart plumbing to meet your needs.


Patti draws on her background as a chemical engineer to share information with readers on technology, manufacturing, and construction.



Smart Buildings Technology – Why it’s time to pay more attention to smart plumbing

CNET – Smart showers, smart toilets and smart sinks: Should you put your plumbing online? – CNET

Contractor – Plumbing Technology Trends for 2024 | Contractor

Contractor – 6 Plumbing Technologies That Will be in High Demand | Contractor

Plumbing & Mechanical – Experts remain confident for 2024 plumbing industry forecast