The Smart Water Shutoff used to display the temperature reading from within the valve body itself. The reason this was changed has to do with the reason why the temperature is being monitored in the first place. The temperature reading serves one purpose: to provide an early warning for potential freezing pipes. When the on-board sensor was being used, the temperature reading wasn't very indicative of the plumbing system's potential freezing conditions as the location of the installation could be in a well insulated area (i.e. the basement) and provide a false sense of security as near freezing temperatures in any other location of the home could go undetected.
Switching to an area temperature reading solves this issue. It provides the Flo by Moen app the ability to more accurately deliver the warning alert of near freezing temperatures for the whole home and not just the small run of pipe where the shutoff is installed. Additionally, when the on-board sensor was used in hot climates, where the valve is installed outdoors, many homeowners were seeing readings near or past 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summertime. This was creating some concern and confusion as our customers were under the assumption that all the water in the system was boiling hot, when it was just the result of the sun beating down on the valve. We had a period where folks were refusing to open their taps until they could speak with us to find out why their water was so hot.
I hope that answers the question as to why the switch was made. We're aware that many devices in the home are tied to area temperature, and that they can all provide this information in their own way, but the Flo system also needed to switch to area temperatures to better perform its duty as well.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions at email@example.com or 844-MEETFLO.