I frequently review Eve products for HomeKit because I’ve grown to appreciate their support for Thread and being very privacy-focused. One of their products I am just getting around to using is the Eve Aqua with Thread support.
HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
The Eve Aqua product has been around for several years, but an updated 2020 version brought support for Thread, so it’s a great time to invest in automating your outdoor watering. In my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the summers can get dry, hot, and humid, so plants need extra watering.
Even if you don’t have a permanent sprinkler setup, I’ve found this product to be highly beneficial when you’re heading on vacation, with no one available to check on your plants. As hot as the summers get here, a week without rain or being watered can take plants from thriving to dying.
Setting up Eve Aqua in HomeKit
One of the parts of HomeKit I love is how easy new products are to add to your Home. Because Apple has standardized with the QR code, it’s a process that’s easily repeatable for each new product you want to add.
Eve Aqua is powered by two AA batteries. Eve has said that the batteries should last an entire watering season. During the unboxing, you’ll see the batteries in the box along with some accessories to help connect Eve Aqua to your outdoor faucet. Next, you’ll slide the bottom part of the unit out to install the batteries and then slide it back in.
Once you get it powered up, you’ll want to scan the HomeKit code. Because Eve Aqua is meant to stay outside, I would advise keeping a copy of the code in Apple Notes, Homepass, or Controller for HomeKit. I immediately had a firmware update to apply using the Eve iPhone app. The firmware update was to enable Thread support that was unlocked after the HomePod mini was released.
Installing Eve Aqua
Eve Aqua will fit a standard 3/4-inch faucet, but there is an adaptor for a smaller hose as well. If you run into issues with water leaking out the top, you’ll want to use the additional sealing ring included in the box. After it’s connected to your faucet, you can join it to your house. Then, turn your water on from the tap, and you’re ready to get started.
Using Aqua in the Home app
One of the easiest ways to use the product is to tap on the icon inside the Home app. The device will open the spigot and start watering. The icon will change to a “running” state to indicate that water is flowing. When you’re done, you can tap on the icon to stop the watering.
The real fun is when you can set up some automations. Unlike many HomeKit accessories, you’ll need to use the Eve app to set up the automations. I’m not sure why you can’t create a basic schedule in the Home app, but the Aqua wasn’t available to me to create an automation based on the time of day.
In the Eve app, find Eve Aqua in your device list and look for a schedule section. For example, you can create a schedule to start every morning at 6:00 a.m. and run for a preset amount of time.
If you want to take it a step further, you can integrate the Shortcuts app into this schedule to check for the weather before running the program. Go back to the schedule section of the Eve app, tap on the gear under that section for Eve Aqua, and look for Schedule Suspension. Tap on “Install Siri Shortcut.” Once it’s installed, you can say, “Hey Siri, check for watering,” and once the forecast has been checked, your watering can proceed. You can run this directly from the Shortcuts app as well.
This product isn’t for everyone. You need to have an outdoor sprinkler system, even if it’s just a hose and a traditional sprinkler. If you plan to be out of town for a week or so during the summer, you can set up a makeshift sprinkler system to keep your plants and grass watered base on a schedule or run it on demand. I am pleased with Eve Aqua’s features and appreciate Eve’s commitment to HomeKit and Thread technology.
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