Box/Valve to prevent washing machine hose break and flooding?

A long time ago i saw reference to these things. Some sort of box that connected to the water supplies. Washing machine electical plug was plugged into it. In the case that the washine machine hoses broke, this box would stop the flow and prevent flooding.
I have my laundry room on the 2nd floor. I absolutely love it, but of course it makes me afraid of what will happen if my washing machine hoses break. Big flood from the top of my house all the way down. But i have a few questions.
1. Should i be worried? I'm still not sure if this is something that only happens to people that haven't replaced the hoses in 30 years or if it's really a problem. How often should washing machine hoses be replaced then?
2. If it is a valid conscern. Where can one get these things? Specifically, where can a Canadian. My search skills seem to have failed me today since i cannot find good references to these online. And is it worth paying for these? I seem to recall them costing a couple hundred bucks. But i guess the answer to that is how much do i value everything that would get water damaged should a hose break.
Any thoughs appreciated.
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I've read about this type of valve--forgot the specifics on how they work. Less expensive and as a minimum, install a single lever shutoff valve that turns off both the hot and cold water supplies upstream of the hoses. Open it when you wash and shut it when not using the machine. Pretty fool proof. MLD

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Or a ball valve on each hose bib, hot and cold.

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kevins_news2 wrote:

Here's one kind which uses a water sensor placed on the floor. Can be applied to hot watewr heaters and toilets too:
http://www.safehomeproducts.com/SHP/SM/Stop_Water_Leak.asp#Flood_Stop_Washer
But, I have heard of the kind which you plug the washing machine into.
The way I understand how those things work is that they use a pair of normally closed electrically operated water valves and a "black box" which supplies power to open those valves only when the washing machine is drawing electrical current from the outlet on the box, i.e. while it's "running".
But, if that's all they do, could they protect against a hose which decided to let go during the course of a normal wash? Seems like a lot of water could squirt out of the hose during the time it took the machine to complete it's timed cycles.
My inquiring mind wants to know....
Jeff
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OK, here's the one which operates on machine current flow:
http://www.accentshopping.com/store/plumbing/valves/washingmachineshutoffvalve/A2CM1.asp
But, I'm still wondering what happens if a hose finally gives up and blows from the shock created when one of the machine's solenoid valves slams shuts at the end of a fill or rinse cycle.
Comments guys?
Jeff
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Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

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http://www.accentshopping.com/store/plumbing/valves/washingmachineshutoffvalve/A2CM1.asp
I see the real purpose of these valves to be protection while you're away.
Normally, people are home while doing laundry, and would detect the break in a reasonably short amount of time. You'd have a big puddle to clean up, but no major damage.
Now, suppose you went away for a two week vacation, and five minutes after you left, a washer hose burst...
And, just to make things interesting - some friends of mine have one of those single-handled shutoff valves on their washer - and were very good about always remembering to keep it closed when not using the washer.
One day they came home to find a flood in their laundry room - the valve *itself* had failed. The valve looked like this one:
http://www.plumbingsupply.com/images/washvalv.jpg
Note the two large screws at the top of the valve - one of those screws blew out, causing the flood.
--
Seth Goodman

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Seth Goodman wrote:

Fail-safe mechanisms always fail by failing to fail-safe.
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It still wouldn't be an absolute guarantee against floods.
Say during a normal fill the hose bursts or the washer develops a leak. The washer may never fill up to the proper level so it keeps filling, and filling and filling, etc. Since the machine is drawing power that safety device wouldn't come into play and water would still be flowing.
I think the other device with the sensor would be a more sure fire safety.
I did read previously somewhere about hoses or connectors which if they sensed uncontrolled water flow they would stop it mechanically. Maybe a combination of all 3 systems would be sure to prevent floods?
Dan O. - Appliance411.com http://ng.Appliance411.com/?ref411=clothes+washer
=~~~~~~
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I think the operative word here is "shock" created by the valve closing. If you have a properly designed/installed plumbing system, there are air "traps" in your pipes. Their purpose is to absorb shocks such as you describe; air compresses under increased pressure where water does not. The momentum and pressure buildup is absorbed by these air traps rather than bursting pipes and hoses, so that, to your hoses, it's no different than if hte water were turned off by hand. You can add your own air traps if none are present near the machine by simply adding about a 2 ft length of the same diameter (or larger if preferred) vertical pipe near the connection to the hoses.
| Air trap | ---------- |-------------- Water supply
It must, of course, go up, not down, so that it has air in it all the time when the water enters the pipes. One for each water supply. As long as those remain full of air and don't leak (as in all plumbing), then you're fine. If you have them but they aren't working, then you may need to bleed those water lines dry so that air can get back into the traps. A good test for how bad the "shock" is, is to use a water hose and quick-action nozzle (not the twist type). Momentarily attach one to the faucet and start the water running, the let go of the handle and let the nozzle turn the water off quickly: The hose shouldn't jump when the water "slams" off. In a good system, thjere will be little motion in the hose. If the traps aren't right, the hose will give a fairly strong "jump" when you shut the water off quickly. If it jumps harshly, yuou can probably dupicate that jump just by shutting off another faucet i the house quickly by hand - lack of air traps is pretty easy to notice and often will even be accompanied by a thump or a bang somewhere along the pipeline. Each faucet in the house -should- have one of those air traps - they're usually hidden inside a wall and not necessarily close to the faucets, so normally one doesn't even know they are there.
Pop
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Pop Rivet wrote:

http://www.accentshopping.com/store/plumbing/valves/washingmachineshutoffvalve/A2CM1.asp
Damn good post, and I wonder what percentage of US homes built in the last 50 years have those air traps.
Are they required by code anywhere? If not, I'd bet they're mostly installed at every faucet in architect designed homes for "cost no option" buyers with rigid monitoring of the as built finished work.
About 30 years ago I was getting "shocks" when the solenoid valves in our clothes washer slammed shut. I installed a couple of "shock absorbers" which had spring loaded pistons in them, with the backside of the pistons open to atmosphere. They were sold for that purpose and advertised as being resistant to becoming water logged, and could be mounted at any angle.
Those worked as advertised, but I always wondered how long it would take before the piston seals would give out and water would start leaking out their back ends. In my case they were out in the open, so I could spot a leak if one occurred, but I'm not sure I'd have the guts to seal them up in a wall.
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Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

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... == Thanks <blush> NOT!

plumber by any means but a fair amount of home repair. I know the codes for my nephews required them when he built his house, located within three feet of every stand pipe, which IS required by code. Inside the last 50 years, we've lived in Coronado, CA and Chicago IL, and they were required by code there. Actually, the first time I came across them I thought they were simply capped pipes that used to go somewhere but got rerouted; they were the same ID as the supply pipes. They were required in Chgo (northwest side), but don't know whether it was a national or an urban code. I re-plumbed an apt bldg. (6 units) and later our own home. Our house was old (abt 100 yrs) and had them plus code required them whether it was a repair or new construction. That house even had pieces of actual lead pipe in it, and the old gas pipes in the ceilings for gas lighting. They had to be 1.5x the secondary supply ID and 24" min length if I recall right (and I might not). I suspect it's not a national code because it's not required where we live now - I checked - did a bunch of plumbing again - but only because we have well water, which includes a large water tank which by design contains a large amount of trapped air. A plumber friend, however, suggested that I'd get a lot of backward movement in the pipes if I relied solely on the well tank. On the other hand, I've heard that they ARE required, and I think it makes sense, because a water heater causes pipes and water to expand/contract in such a manner as to burst copper joints and especially plastic pipe, which is OK to use in this area. There has to be somewhere for the water to go if the hot water expands a bunch of pipes, fill with water, and then the pipes contract as they cool. At an eighth inch per ten feet, that's a lot of water that needs some place to go. With no air traps it's going to try to expand the pipes, and that of course can lead to ... whoosh! Another nephew also learned the hard way to use them. The pipes wil,l hammer like crazy anytime anyone turns off a faucet with anything more than a gentle motion. I had him put a 50' water hose on his outside faucet and it actually almost stopped the hammering. After that he believed. Without a stand pipe however, you can hear his toilet gurgling all the way out into his driveway! Would you believe he's, uhhh, cheap? <G> He puts up with the toilet noisebut did add some air "traps".
Pop

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The only problem is that over time (a variable) the air will be absorbed into the water nullifying the shock absorber effect. To be long term, the best solution is to have something that separates the air from the liquid--a diaphragm or bladder such as found in most accumulators. MLD

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kevins_news2 wrote:

I should have read the copy more thoroughly. That load current sensing type also uses a floor mounted moisture sensor for "belt and suspenders" safety. As they say in the copy:
"The IntelliFlows automatic operation and floor mounted leak sensor protect against catastrophic water damage should a washing machine inlet hose burst while the machine is in use."
I guess that floor sensor also helps out if the leak comes from the machine's innards, and not from a leaking or burst hose.
Case closed...
Jeff
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On Fri, 23 Apr 2004 14:48:06 -0400, Jeff Wisnia

Thanks for all the information. The only reason i mentioned the current flow version was because that was the only one i was aware off. The floor leak sensor idea sounds like a better idea overall.
Now to attempt to find a local (canadian) source.
Thanks again.
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I've read about a mechanical shut off valve that can be used on any pipe. Normally flow is restricted to a given amount by the appliance or faucet being used, whereas with a broken pipe it gushes out at a faster rate. When the safe rate is exceeded it closes the valve and requires a manual reset. No power needed. I've heard this type of valve is required on some gas lines. I'll look for more information.
Bob
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If I may add my $.02: in the interest of keeping life simple, I've always recommended, for some 32 years now, that the washer supply faucet(s) always be turned off when not using the washer. Really not a big deal, especially if you have them installed where they're easily reached.
Thanks to a Mr. Murphy, washer hoses always seem to burst when you're away on vacation.'Worst one I remember was in a nice split-level in Lancaster County, PA. Sure enough, the homeowners were gone for two weeks. Neighbor noticed water coming out from under the garage door! Water co. came and turned off the supply at the curb.
We were called out when they got home. Burst hot fill hose. What a mess!
It takes only about 21 days to instill a habit, and turning off the water's a really good one to work on! And I try to replace our own hoses about every 5 years. It's also a good idea to add a screen at the inlets, at least on the cold side. Makes screen cleaning very easy when it's needed.
We've been washing every day for 30 years now, and never had a problem (probably because we seldom go on vacation <grin>).
Actually, the way they're starting to build washers, the hoses will soon long outlast the machines - but that's another subject entirely!
God bless,
Dave Harnish Dave's Repair Service New Albany, PA www.DavesRepair.com snipped-for-privacy@sosbbs.com 570-363-2404
I'm a 32-year pro appliance technician, and love sharing what I've learned - in a FREE Monthly Appliance Tips Newsletter. (Back issues now posted here too!) www.DavesRepair.com
John 3:3

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Dave Harnish wrote:

<snipped>
Deja vu all over again....
Our next door neighbors moved to a smaller home in the next state when their kids grew up (Do your own kids ever really "grow up"?) and were all out of the nest. They put the house on the market with a realtor and left it unoccupied.
They demonstrated their ignorance of what could happen by not turning off the water and/or having a low temperature alarm as part of their already centrally monitored fire/burglary security system. I was tempted to use the term stupidity in that sentence, but they were nice neighbors for 18 years, and after all, the husband is a doctor and everyone knows doctors (think they) know everything. <G>
I looked out the window in January of last year and saw three thick dirty brown ice floes running down one of their garage doors:
http://home.comcast.net/~jwisnia18/jeff/freeze.jpg
The oil heating system had failed and it was my sad job to call my ex-neighbors and give them the bad news.
There was a huge amount of water damage to the house, and fifteen months later it's still unoccupied and being worked on every day. To their credit, they've kept up the property nicely and by maintaining the landscaping contractors they's been using when they lived there. Rumor has it that their homeowners insurance company gave them a rough time because of a clause limiting "abandonment" without proper monitoring, but I'm afraid to ask about that.
Jeff
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Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

"My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying."
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Hi,
One style can be seen below....
http://www.repairclinic.com/referral.asp?R 3&N6459 Floodstop - The new Floodstop automatic water shut-off system. Installs in five minutes. No special tools needed. Prevents water damage caused by broken washing machine water fill hoses or overfilling of washing machine due to defective water level switch.
The same should be available in Canada :)
SS hoses are a good idea for the washer as well.
jeff. Appliance Repair Aid http://www.applianceaid.com /
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kevins_news2 wrote:

it.. it was only a trickle.. but if we were on vacation well the house would have been flooded... new water heater, no problem.. when on vacation we turned the water supply and gas supply off for the water heater.... when we got home there was no water mess in the middle of july at 10 PM, but we also turned off the a/c and the house was hot as hell....for about 4 hrs....
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jim wrote:

No drain on the floor? Tony
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