Eve Aqua automates outdoor watering with HomeKit integration

Cupertino, August 19, 2021

I regularly review Eve products for HomeKit because I've come to appreciate their support for Thread and their privacy orientation. One of their products that I'm just now starting to use is the Eve Aqua with Thread support.

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything related to 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 good time to invest in automating your outdoor watering. In my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, summers can be dry, hot and humid, so plants need extra watering.

Even if you don't have a permanent sprinkler system, I have found this product to be very useful when you go on vacation, and no one is available to check on your plants. No matter how hot the summers are here, a week without rain or water can take plants from blooming to dying.

Setting up Eve Aqua in HomeKit

One of the parts of HomeKit that I love is how easy it is to add new products to your Home. Because Apple has standardized the QR code, it's a process that's easy to repeat for any 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 unpacking, you will see the batteries in the box along with some accessories to connect the Eve Aqua to your outdoor faucet. Next, you slide the bottom part of the unit out to insert the batteries and then slide it back in.

Once you have it turned on, you'll want to scan the HomeKit code. Since Eve Aqua is meant to stay outside, I would recommend keeping a copy of the code in Apple Notes, Homepass or Controller for HomeKit. I had to immediately apply a firmware update using the Eve iPhone app. The firmware update was to enable Thread support that was unlocked after the HomePod mini was released.

Eve Aqua install

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Eve Aqua fits a standard 3/4 inch faucet, but there is also an adapter for a smaller hose. If you have problems with water leaking from the top, you can use the extra sealing ring that comes in the box. After it is connected to your faucet, you can connect it to your home. After that, turn on the water from the faucet, and you're good to go.

Using Aqua in the Home app

One of the easiest ways to use the product is to tap the icon in the Home app. The device will open the spigot and begin watering. The icon will change to a "running" state to indicate that water is flowing. When finished, you can tap the icon to stop watering.

Automations

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The real fun is when you can set some automations. Unlike many HomeKit accessories, you have 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 the Eve Aqua in your device list and look for a schedule section. For example, you can create a schedule to start at 6:00 every morning and run for a preset time.

If you want to go a step further, you can integrate the Shortcuts app into this schedule to check for weather before running the program. Go back to the schedule section of the Eve app, tap the cog under that section for Eve Aqua, and look for Schedule Suspension. Tap "Install Siri shortcut." Once it's installed, you can say, "Hey Siri, check for watering," and once the forecast is checked, your watering can proceed. You can also do this directly from the shortcuts app.

Wrap-up

This product is not for everyone. You need to have an outdoor sprinkler system, even if it's just a hose and a traditional sprinkler. If you plan on going out of town for a week or so during the summer, you can set up a makeshift sprinkler system to water your plants and grass on a schedule or run it on demand. I'm happy with Eve Aqua's features and appreciate Eve's commitment to HomeKit and Thread technology.

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