Have you ever wished you didn’t have to get out of bed to start your shower?
Let’s be honest, nobody is a “morning person”, and the thought of stepping out onto a cold floor to walk across a cold room to turn on a flow of cold water makes you want to hit the snooze alarm all day. Smart shower systems can not only turn the water on in your shower, but they can also control the water temperature, set the mood with LED lighting, and even send you an alert when your shower is “ready”. While you wait for the alert, the tech-savvy homeowner should already have their smart thermostat adjusting the temperature in the home, and the smart coffee maker brewing the perfect cup of espresso!
Those of us who have watched the “Jetsons” TV show as kids have seen video phone calls, smart watches, and pills with cameras in them to take pictures of our insides all become reality. In this new era of the “Smart Home”, we can use our phones, tablets, or even a smartwatch to adjust the temperature of our home, monitor water usage, and see who’s ringing the doorbell from anywhere in the world. The only thing we’re missing are the flying cars, and we’re probably not extremely far away from that goal, either.
Everything we buy for our homes these days seems to tout some form of “smart” technology. In fact, just in doing the research for this blog, I became aware of the existence of the Smart Hairbrush. Imagine owning a device that can tell you how healthy your hair is, or isn’t, just by brushing your hair and checking an app? Welcome to 2021.
What is a Smart Shower?
An emerging technology in home comfort systems called “smart showers” allow the homeowner to control and monitor all aspects of their home’s showers. Let’s look at some of the basics regarding smart showers, what good they can do for our comfort and our wallet and take a closer look at a few popular choices.
Just about every product we buy these days is touted as having some attribute that makes it “smarter” than the competing product. We can buy water that is smart. TVs are smart now, as are phones, tablets; and devices like Amazon’s Alexa, or the Google Nest that take over control of entire homes, from turning on lights, to shutting off the water mains.
Like any other technology the “smart” label gets affixed to, smart showers use digital means to control the temperature, flow rate, start and stop water flow, and even determine how long the shower lasts. I’m not sure how I feel about a computer telling me I’ve been in the shower for too long, but that’s a topic for a different blog.
Smart showers can refer to a variety of fixtures and appliances that from their most simplistic, consist of a single, water powered, LED lighted, digital shower head that tells you the water temperature for less than $50. On the other end of the cost spectrum, we have the AquaSymphony Shower System, with its 40” by 30” shower head that creates waterfall and rain effects, along with atmospheric LED lighting for close to $25,000.
What are the Benefits of a Smart Shower?
Always the Perfect Temperature.
With a smart shower installation, you’ll never have to worry about stepping into a shower that is too hot or too cold. From your smartphone, tablet, Google Nest or Amazon Alexa you’ll be able to start your shower, preheat it to the desired temperature, and even get a text or voice message alerting you that your shower is ready.
Save Energy. Save Water. Save Money.
Having a smart shower allows the homeowner to be more aware of the amount of water that is being used during shower times, as well as the amount of energy. Most smart shower systems incorporate an app that keeps track of your important shower statistics and can break down your energy costs down to the individual shower. Use the information from your smart shower app to help you and your family learn what habits are costing money in energy losses and shows you when there’s improvement. Improved energy efficiency easily translates into money well spent when you see the reduction in power bills.
Setting the Right Mood.
Showers don’t have to just be about getting clean anymore, they can be entertaining as well! Most smart shower systems allow for music playback via Bluetooth equipped controllers with self-contained speakers; and even more have programmable LED light arrays that can be adjusted to any color or level of brightness.
How Do I Connect a Smart Shower in My Home?
While many of the lower-end digital shower heads that only report temperature, or have a couple of LED lights for effect, operate on hydro-electricity (waterpower); a true smart shower system is going to require an electrical power connection. How many of us have an electrical outlet in our showers? Exactly. So, we’re going to need to involve an electrician at some point to establish a power source. Any smart shower system that exerts control over water temperature, or water flow, is going to require installation by a qualified plumbing company.
What are the Best Smart Shower Systems?
Currently, there is no shortage in the market of products that claim to be smart shower products. Many of these items are nothing more than a standard showerhead that incorporates a digital display for temperature and maybe a few colored LED lights. While some of these low-end digital shower products offer some really cool features, we’re opting to focus this blog on some of the more intelligent of the smart shower systems.
SUPER HIGH END: AquaSymphony by Grohe: $25,000
One of the tag lines from the Grohe websites states “imagine you could start each day with an excursion into paradise.” Sounds like it should be pretty luxurious, right? Luxury is certainly on tap with the AquaSymphony system, which checks in with a hefty $25,000 price tag, and offers an enormous 30” X 40” shower head. Along with the six spray patterns offered by Grohe (AquaCurtain, Waterfall, Bokoma, Rain, Pure, and Drizzle Spray), there are steam bath and chromotherapy options, along with a built-in audio system for listening to your most relaxing playlists.
NOT QUITE AS PRICEY, BUT STILL FANCY: Kohler Konnect System $3,000+
Kohler, a leader in manufacturing high-end plumbing fixtures has put together a platform of smart home products, focusing on the bathroom and kitchen. When installed in its entirety, the Kohler Konnect series allows the homeowner to use their bathroom fixtures without ever having to touch anything. You can start your shower and preset the desired temperature, run the water in the sink, and even flush the toilet all via voice commands.
Preheat your next shower to the perfect temperature with just your voice, and select whether you want rain, mist, or steam. Enjoy the programmable, built-in hand shower to reach those hard-to-get spots, and use Alexa, Siri, or Google to pipe in the music of your choice.
MIDDLE OF THE ROAD: U Smart Shower System by Moen $1,200 – $2,000
One of the most recognized manufacturers of kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures for decades, Moen has introduced their own take on the smart shower phenomenon, and it’s pretty darn cool. The basis of the system is the U by Moen digital controller and its associated valve, which requires installation by a plumber. Once installed and fired up, you can use the on-panel controls, or the U by Moen app, installed on a smartphone or tablet, which can control hot water flow, temperature, and send alerts when your shower is ready.
One downside of the U by Moen system is that there are no traditional handles or manual control valves for water flow. If the U by Moen loses power while you are in the shower, it will remain on until you manually close the shower valve. If you have the optional battery backup installed, you are able to control the shower without wi-fi or electricity.
SMART SHOWER ON A BUDGET: $40 – $99 Several Products
While providing no control over any aspect of your shower, the WaterHawk Smart Showerhead can tell you the temperature of your shower and how much water you’ve used. The digital display for this product is powered by the water flowing from your shower, so there is no need for an electrical connection, or batteries. While not a truly “smart” shower, the WaterHawk unit is a nice, easy, entry-level product for those looking to become more energy conscious and reduce their carbon footprint.
Why Install a Smart Shower from Nick’s Plumbing & AC?
Installing a smart shower system in your home will greatly improve your regular shower experience, save money on energy costs, and offer a bit of fun in the process. Speed up your morning routine, turn your dull, dreary bathroom into a spa, or just add a little music and mood lighting to your day. Let Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning work with you and your general contractor when it’s time to renovate your bathroom. Nick’s only hires experienced and licensed plumbing technicians to ensure that your new smart shower system is installed correctly. With over forty years of experience, you and your family can trust Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning with all your plumbing, AC, or heating needs.
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AquaSymphony by Grohe
Kohler Konnect System
U Smart Shower System by Moen
WaterHawk Smart Showerhead