Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

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Small Law Survivor
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Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by Small Law Survivor » Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:57 pm

I'd never heard of these before, but my insurance company (PURE) sent me a promo for several. They cost between $1,500 and $2,000 (for the hardware). Here's their description:
These devices attach directly to your water main line and monitor the flow of water into your home. They will alert you and shut off water in instances where water flow has exceeded a specific, pre-determined length of time that you set and get to control. Automatically cutting water flow is critical to protecting your home from catastrophic water damage, and they have been proven to be extremely accurate in detecting micro-leaks that can lead to home erosion or mold infestation over long periods of time.
Honestly, I'm a sucker for gadgets like this. This is a new thing for me (didn't go for them when I was younger), but now I do.

Is this a complete waste of money? Thanks in advance.
Last edited by Small Law Survivor on Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:00 pm

It depends. If you have a pipe burst and damage, then you needed it...

It will provide you with a discount on your insurance, although it will take a very long time to earn it back.

We had a pipe burst on an unoccupied property. Damage total is approaching $40,000. All covered but a $1,000 deductible, but quite annoying. That said, my research on these devices shows them not ready for prime time and too costly.
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Small Law Survivor
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve

Post by Small Law Survivor » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:12 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:00 pm
It depends. If you have a pipe burst and damage, then you needed it...
Hmmm.... reminds me of that old Mark Twain saying, "buy stocks when they go down, sell them when they go up. If they don't go up, don't buy them."
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TBillT
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve

Post by TBillT » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:15 pm

Not a bad idea pending more research.

We had a crazy thing happen last summer, when we went on vacation, I manually turned the house water off.
For some reason this caused a flood in my kitchen, apparently there is a valve in dishwashers which requires pressure to keep it closed. In the lack of water pressure there can be slow leak into the dishwasher....where the water is came from , I do not know. Backflow from 2nd floor or slow leak thru the water main valve. Also a concern might be hot water heater if on when water off. I replaced the [deleted -- mod oldcomputerguy] dishwasher valve for $300 bucks (valve is $15 so $285 labor). But nothing is as simple as it sounds when it comes to water. The guy said the high repair costs was due to extreme insurance they pay for water jobs in case there is a leak.
Last edited by TBillT on Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mgensler
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by mgensler » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:17 pm

I don't have any direct experience with these. However, water damage is costly. According to PURE, the total water damage claims exceed the cost of any other claims including automobile accidents. We always turn off our water main before we leave for vacation.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by bertilak » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:18 pm

My water softener has both a shutoff and a bypass. I think that is common.

I find the shutoff very handy. I recently had some trouble with a valve in my shower and it made repair much simpler. Otherwise I would have to go out to the street and dig up the main valve. That has an access cover but it gets buried in debris as it is in a slight depression. When the cover is removed the area is filled with mud and scorpions. (The mud is from rain, not a leak.)
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by flossy21 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:26 pm

I've been looking at this one. Smart Phone control so you can turn on and off while you are away.

https://www.moen.com/products/Flo_by_Mo ... em/900-001

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by dbr » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:30 pm

I have also experienced a burst pipe but in a rental and the landlord was the one stuck with the damage except a few minor items of ours. Assuming it really works (assumed to be yes) it may not be dumb. I don't have an actuarial calculation of the "correct" insurance cost that such a device should be worth against probability of damage. It might matter a lot what climate a person is in.

In the claim at detecting microleaks one would have to assume the threshold is set to zero and no water is used in the house for the duration.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by sschoe2 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:32 pm

I have a smart meter that will alert me if it detects a continuous usage or a sudden increase is the average usage.

JimMolony
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by JimMolony » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:40 pm

Can you provide the name or brand of the shut off valve? I'm a former plumber and would like to do some research. This seems like a crazy amount of money for a shut off valve. The labor should be in the $200-450 range - not a very difficult job. Hard for me to believe the valve would be that costly.

Thanks.

Conch55
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by Conch55 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:43 pm

Do these smart valves replace the typical manual valve where water enters the house? If so, what constitutes a shutdown? I guess I am asking how long water flows before the smarts kick in.

Ollie123
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by Ollie123 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:53 pm

I am (perhaps mistakenly) assuming it only shuts off if it detects continual flow for extremely long periods of time. Otherwise it is likely to be annoying (took too long a shower? WATER OFF! Trying to wash a lot of dishes? WATER OFF!). In that case, it probably depends how often the home is unoccupied.

If someone is there 24/7 ready to go shut it off manually, I'm not sure I see much advantage outside the odd circumstance where there is a large leak into a crawl space or someplace else you wouldn't see. If you are single and travel for work 3 out of 4 weeks...it could very well be worth it.

At nearly 2k though, I would probably hold off. This doesn't exactly sound like an impossibly difficult thing to engineer and I'm guessing its a fairly new product with an associated markup. I'd expect a significant drop in price in a few years.

Please don't sue me if you hold off a year and happen to get a leak in the interim.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve

Post by 3-20Characters » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:00 pm

TBillT wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:15 pm
Not a bad idea pending more research.

We had a crazy thing happen last summer, when we went on vacation, I manually turned the house water off.
For some reason this caused a flood in my kitchen, apparently there is a valve in dishwashers which requires pressure to keep it closed. In the lack of water pressure there can be slow leak into the dishwasher....where the water is came from , I do not know. Backflow from 2nd floor or slow leak thru the water main valve. Also a concern might be hot water heater if on when water off. I replaced the damn dishwasher valve for $300 bucks (valve is $15 so $285 labor). But nothing is as simple as it sounds when it comes to water. The guy said the high repair costs was due to extreme insurance they pay for water jobs in case there is a leak.
Would love informed comments on this. I turn off
main valve if I’m away more than a few days. Been away for 10 days without water heater or dishwasher problems. It defies common sense that shutting off main valve could cause a leak but I’m not an expert and open to being enlightened.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:04 pm

It seems to me there is a range of likely leak rates it can't deal with because they would match regular use (eg - lawn water is high use, long duration).

So I guess it is important to be aware of what level of protection you are getting for the price.
TBillT wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:15 pm
Not a bad idea pending more research.

We had a crazy thing happen last summer, when we went on vacation, I manually turned the house water off.
For some reason this caused a flood in my kitchen, apparently there is a valve in dishwashers which requires pressure to keep it closed. In the lack of water pressure there can be slow leak into the dishwasher....where the water is came from , I do not know. Backflow from 2nd floor or slow leak thru the water main valve. Also a concern might be hot water heater if on when water off. I replaced the damn dishwasher valve for $300 bucks (valve is $15 so $285 labor). But nothing is as simple as it sounds when it comes to water. The guy said the high repair costs was due to extreme insurance they pay for water jobs in case there is a leak.
Electric valves usually use a small solenoid to actuate a very small valve, which then allows the fluid into a piston which actuates the main valve. This is called a pilot-actuated valve. This kind of arrangement is common not just in household appliances, but even in industrial machinery.

If pressure is lost, it should stay in or return to its neutral position, but I suppose as pressure declines, it will at some point transition through a semi-open position. If it stays there long enough, you could get a lot of water pass through the valve. In typical 3/4" pipe, roughly 40 feet of pipe holds 1 gallon of water.

Water would indeed drain into the dishwasher from the second floor pipes. One way to prevent this is after shutting off the water, open a low-elevation faucet in the house. This is also a normal recommendation when shutting off water for freezing concerns.

I'm not positive, but I would have thought dishwasher ejector pumps should be controlled by a float switch and operate even if there is no cycle running, in part to protect against this scenario. However, if the power was off, that would not happen.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by brianH » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:23 pm

Conch55 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:43 pm
Do these smart valves replace the typical manual valve where water enters the house? If so, what constitutes a shutdown? I guess I am asking how long water flows before the smarts kick in.
Yes, they typically replace (or are directly after) the main shutoff in the house.

There are a number of different options that work differently. The simplest devices are just a remote (wireless) controlled valve and a few wireless leak sensors. Any detected leaks from pooling water around the sensor signals to the valve to turn off.

More sophisticated models have flow and pressure sensors built into the electronic shutoff valve and they use proprietary algorithms/logic to try and determine what are 'unusual' water usage conditions. They may link to your smartphone to allow you to override what it thinks is a leak or to use your location (out of the house?) to help determine irregular water use due to a leak. These types have the obvious advantage of being able to detect issues anywhere (like a slow drip of a pipe in a wall), but the tradeoff is probable false-alarms and potentially a slower response time (e.g. if it suddenly sees 2-3 gallons of usage at night, was that a toilet flush, or do you now have a huge puddle near your burst washing machine hose?)

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by mpnret » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:46 pm

For those with a well a much better and actually cheaper solution is to cut power to the well pump if a leak is detected. Many ways to do this I use a Samsung Smart Things Hub with a water sensors and a smart switch to turn off pump. You can control everything from a smart phone, get alerts, etc.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve

Post by 3-20Characters » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:48 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:04 pm
Water would indeed drain into the dishwasher from the second floor pipes.
So in a one level condo this wouldn’t be an issue?

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:56 pm

mpnret wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:46 pm
For those with a well a much better and actually cheaper solution is to cut power to the well pump if a leak is detected. Many ways to do this I use a Samsung Smart Things Hub with a water sensors and a smart switch to turn off pump. You can control everything from a smart phone, get alerts, etc.
I thought of doing that, but my 80 gallon well tank could do a lot of damage. I’d have to have the sensor somewhere after the lines going to irrigation and pool, since otherwise I can see expect many false alarms. I like the idea of placing sensors, but we just had a lot of plumbing redone, and I’m worried about a leak inside the walls.

My insurer is insisting that, unless I get a leak detection system, they won’t insure my house (or I will have to sign away my rights to file for water damage).
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by TimeRunner » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:05 pm

What happens if it gets corroded, gunks up, sticks open or shut, or otherwise malfunctions? Your water may be cut off or it may not detect a leak or stop one. So now you're looking at a bypass setup and a way to remove it to send it back to the manufacturer for service (assuming they are still in business and do that work). Seals decay, actuators stick, models obsolete, stuff happens.
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve

Post by Artful Dodger » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:33 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:00 pm
It depends. If you have a pipe burst and damage, then you needed it...

It will provide you with a discount on your insurance, although it will take a very long time to earn it back.

We had a pipe burst on an unoccupied property. Damage total is approaching $40,000. All covered but a $1,000 deductible, but quite annoying. That said, my research on these devices shows them not ready for prime time and too costly.
Similar situation. Fitting came loose in our home - $20k of damage. QUITE ANNOYING. IF I knew your gadget would work, I'd get it.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by dachshunddad » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:43 pm

I have first hand experience on this. I have seen floods in previous buildings so I had Phyn water monitor installed. Cost about $1200ish total w/ install. It connects to the main line before enters the house. It learns the usage over a couple weeks and test for slow leaks with pressure once a day.

It is basically an insurance policy in my opinion. But it does seem impressive. It uses ultrasound pattern of waves to learn your house (sink, tub, etc)

Bath was running and I turned on hose-- phone alert bc unusual activity. If I didn't respond it would shut it off.

Long shower after workout-- unusual activity noted. It knew it was my shower but was longer than usual.

I can say that it would detect a problem very well and likely before major damage. This seems worth it to me. But I can see how it would be a personal decision for cost/benefit. Overall, I am impressed with its ability to know my house and anything unusual .
Hope this helps.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by mpnret » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:50 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:56 pm
mpnret wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:46 pm
For those with a well a much better and actually cheaper solution is to cut power to the well pump if a leak is detected. Many ways to do this I use a Samsung Smart Things Hub with a water sensors and a smart switch to turn off pump. You can control everything from a smart phone, get alerts, etc.
I thought of doing that, but my 80 gallon well tank could do a lot of damage. I’d have to have the sensor somewhere after the lines going to irrigation and pool, since otherwise I can see expect many false alarms. I like the idea of placing sensors, but we just had a lot of plumbing redone, and I’m worried about a leak inside the walls.

My insurer is insisting that, unless I get a leak detection system, they won’t insure my house (or I will have to sign away my rights to file for water damage).
With a 80 gallon well tank your sort of damned if you do damned if you don't. My well tank holds about 2.5 gallons. So no big deal if it dumps on my unfinished basement floor. It is mounted on a board on the basement wall along with a Grundfos constant pressue control system which also controls the variable speed pump at the bottom of the well. System is more popular in the rest of the world than US. Basically it is designed to give you high volume constant pressure from a well system unlike the 40/60 pressure switch on most wells. I saw it while doing some work in high end homes with wells that had high demand water systems like big lawns with sprinkler systems, etc and I had to have it. I found a slightly smaller version.
As far as your 80 gallon well tank goes where would you put the automatic shutoff valve. It would have to be after the well tank, pressure switch and line in from the well. If so a failure in that area will not only dump out your 80 gallon well tank but your pump will keep running full bore filling up whatever. Better have a much bigger pump than your well pump to drain that area or maybe some sort of smart switch to shut off the well pump. You could probably figure out something to work in conjuction with your shut off valve. That way you would be covered on both ends.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by graeme » Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:06 pm

A few years ago I looked into water leak alarms to be placed under sinks and near water heaters. There are some sold on Amazon for around $10 like smoke detectors that sound an alarm when water is detected and run on a 9V battery. There are also approx $300 electric shut off valves used in businesses that turn off water when a switch similar to a light switch is turned off. When installing those electric shut off values in a home, it would be good to install a bypass valve to override it if the power went out.

So, given those parts is shouldn't be too difficult to hook any number of water alarms to a central relay which in turn would switch off the main water value. In new homes, I have no idea why that's not a standard thing.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by rotorhead » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:15 pm

Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve
Unread post by 3-20Characters » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:00 pm

TBillT wrote: ↑Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:15 pm
Not a bad idea pending more research.

We had a crazy thing happen last summer, when we went on vacation, I manually turned the house water off.
For some reason this caused a flood in my kitchen, apparently there is a valve in dishwashers which requires pressure to keep it closed. In the lack of water pressure there can be slow leak into the dishwasher....where the water is came from , I do not know. Backflow from 2nd floor or slow leak thru the water main valve. Also a concern might be hot water heater if on when water off. I replaced the damn dishwasher valve for $300 bucks (valve is $15 so $285 labor). But nothing is as simple as it sounds when it comes to water. The guy said the high repair costs was due to extreme insurance they pay for water jobs in case there is a leak.
Would love informed comments on this. I turn off
main valve if I’m away more than a few days. Been away for 10 days without water heater or dishwasher problems.
It defies common sense that shutting off main valve could cause a leak but I’m not an expert and open to being enlightened.
This is what we do as well. We have a shut off valve where the water supply enters our house; and if we plan to be gone overnight, I simply walk around there and turn the water off as part of our departure ritual. We are 2-story house; so I then open the tap at our bathtub on ground floor (lowest point) to drain the lines. Have had trips away for up to three weeks and never had a problem. That's not to say we won't one day; but shutting off the water main where it enters the house is a pretty simple solution.

If your home doesn't have such a valve; I should think it less costly to do this than the device you have posted about.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by stats99 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:25 pm

I have Flo by Moen valve.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by renue74 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:42 pm

dachshunddad wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:43 pm
I have first hand experience on this. I have seen floods in previous buildings so I had Phyn water monitor installed. Cost about $1200ish total w/ install. It connects to the main line before enters the house. It learns the usage over a couple weeks and test for slow leaks with pressure once a day.

It is basically an insurance policy in my opinion. But it does seem impressive. It uses ultrasound pattern of waves to learn your house (sink, tub, etc)

Bath was running and I turned on hose-- phone alert bc unusual activity. If I didn't respond it would shut it off.

Long shower after workout-- unusual activity noted. It knew it was my shower but was longer than usual.

I can say that it would detect a problem very well and likely before major damage. This seems worth it to me. But I can see how it would be a personal decision for cost/benefit. Overall, I am impressed with its ability to know my house and anything unusual .
Hope this helps.
+1. The Phyn product is pretty sharp. I have some plumbing experience with Uponor PEX products and they have a partnership.

The Phyn unit uses “water hammer” detection to track usage of each water fixture....and can identify fixtures. Water hammer is when you turn on and off a faucet, it creates a amplified wave and the Phyn unit can identify the different types.

Cool stuff...but I haven’t pulled the trigger on purchasing. It’s still pretty new tech.

Looks super easy to install...but I like DIY stuff like that.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by 3feetpete » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:28 pm

My current house has a system called Water Cop that shuts off the water in the house if any of the sensors detect a leak on the floor. The sensors are located neat every possible water source, are battery operated and send a radio signal to the shutoff valve. Sinks, toilets, laundry, ice maker, water heater etc. all have sensors near them. A previous owner was forced by his insurance company to install it after the ice maker flooded the kitchen multiple times. It's sensitive enough that I've activated it a couple of times just by splashing water onto a sensor. It's simple enough to reset so not a big problem.

I haven't had any floods but I can see where it would be worthwhile. I know people who have had major damage in their homes. Ice makers and water heaters seem to be common culprits. I also know someone whose teenage daughter let the bathtub overflow twice.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:29 am

I believe every home has a water shut-off valve. This is an automated/monitored shut-off valve. There are much less expensive options than $1500-$2000. If you need to have a plumber install them, then I could see it costing more, but not that much.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:39 am

3-20Characters wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:48 pm
iamlucky13 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:04 pm
Water would indeed drain into the dishwasher from the second floor pipes.
So in a one level condo this wouldn’t be an issue?
I'd say it would be a lower risk of being an issue. Thinking about it a little more, the second floors isn't the only elevated water in a typical house. In my own house, most of the height of my water heater is above the level of the lowest nozzle on the dishwasher.

It still seems unusual to me that his valve leaked like it did.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by CurlyDave » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:47 am

I think you need to be careful with one of these gadgets.

In most places if you ever do a substantial remodel, building codes will require a fire sprinkler system. An automatic water shutoff valve will defeat the fire sprinkler.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:10 am

CurlyDave wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:47 am
I think you need to be careful with one of these gadgets.

In most places if you ever do a substantial remodel, building codes will require a fire sprinkler system. An automatic water shutoff valve will defeat the fire sprinkler.
Not in any place I have ever lived. Are you in California?
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by CurlyDave » Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:19 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:10 am
CurlyDave wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:47 am
I think you need to be careful with one of these gadgets.

In most places if you ever do a substantial remodel, building codes will require a fire sprinkler system. An automatic water shutoff valve will defeat the fire sprinkler.
Not in any place I have ever lived. Are you in California?
Oregon now, but CA when I had to install the sprinklers, back in 2009.

That was the biggest rip-off I had seen in years.

When I looked into the statistics of the situation, if one just looks at lives saved, smoke detectors alone produce 99% of the benefit smoke detectors and sprinklers together produce. And smoke detectors cost about 5% of what sprinklers cost. But sprinklers do save some structures, so the insurance lobby tries to get them required everywhere. Essentially it reduces company pay out while pushing costs onto the homeowner.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by polyphasic9 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:56 am

I have a FloLogic, and it works fine. I'd point out that it has two modes: home, and away. In home mode, water can flow for quite a long time before the valve shuts off and the alarm sounds. In away mode, the timing is much more stringent. The number of "allowable" minutes can be adjusted for each mode -- I found that I have to be quite liberal with home mode to deal with showering, clothes washing, dishwashing, etc, which all cause water to flow.

It has successfully triggered a couple of times when a toilet flapper didn't seat correctly.

The control panel can be used to open/close the valve as you need, and the system automatically cycles itself by closing and immediately reopening the valve once a week.

My insurer required me to get one of these after we incurred a significant claim caused by a water heater leak. The FloLogic system + installation was not inexpensive; perhaps $2500 if memory serves.

Note that you can get 80% of the same benefit by purchasing a water valve key at Lowes and using it to shut the water off at the curb whenever you're leaving for more than a few hours.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by AnonJohn » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:24 am

For the record, yes, the average homeowner needs a water shut off valve.

As for an automatic shut off valve, I defer to the other comments in this thread ...

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:37 am

Things to note, although they may not apply to many people.

Some homes have systems that require a flow of water, and removing that flow of water (i.e. shutting off the water valve when leaving for vacation) may cause problems, or in some cases cause a disastrous.

Our cottage has an old hot water boiler, with baseboard heating in the house. This boiler requires a connection to the water system, via a one-way valve, so that the system can receive water if there is a need. If I turn off the water for the winter (unoccupied cottage), but run the furnace (to prevent pipes freezing, walls cracking), and the system has a water loss, it could crack the boiler and require a new system costing between $7 and $10,000.

Some people have water softeners. Our runs overnight, starting at 2AM. Turning off the water supply would also require that we unplug the water softener, then upon our return remember to turn it back on, reset it, and then turn on the water supply.

Some people have sump pump backup systems that run on water, i.e. in a power failure, the system using the water supply to power the backup sump pump. Turning off the water would turn off this backup.

Things to keep in mind.
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HomeStretch
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by HomeStretch » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:46 am

polyphasic9 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:56 am
It has successfully triggered a couple of times when a toilet flapper didn't seat correctly.
When the device triggered the shutoff, did the device communicate where the leak was or did you need to locate it yourself?

Do you have an irrigation system or pool? If so, are those water lines covered or not covered by the shutoff device?

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by Hockey10 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:25 am

We had a leak on the 1st floor that ran for about 5-10 minutes and caused $14,000 of damage. The culprit was the plastic nut that connects the water supply line to a toilet. :mad: :shock:

I have thought about getting one of the automatic shut off valves, but have not done so yet. In the meantime, I have a battery powered water alarm under every toilet, sink, and every other water source in the house. We also shut off the water main whenever we are away from home overnight.

https://smile.amazon.com/Zircon-Leak-Al ... 138&sr=8-4

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Sheepdog
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by Sheepdog » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:04 am

I have a shut off valve inside the home with easy access. Once a water line within the crawl space was leaking. We could hear it running as it hit the flooring beneath, but could not easily shut it off. When the copper piping was replaced in the crawl space (the copper pipe was corroding and was leaking in several places as was found on inspection), Until then, I did not realize that copper pipe could corrode. I had a shut off valve conveniently located within a kitchen sink cabinet. It is there for an emergency and whenever we are away from the house for some time, such as a vacation, the valve is shut off when we leave. Better off than have a house flooded while gone.
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queso
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by queso » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:15 am

Hockey10 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:25 am
We had a leak on the 1st floor that ran for about 5-10 minutes and caused $14,000 of damage. The culprit was the plastic nut that connects the water supply line to a toilet. :mad: :shock:

I have thought about getting one of the automatic shut off valves, but have not done so yet. In the meantime, I have a battery powered water alarm under every toilet, sink, and every other water source in the house. We also shut off the water main whenever we are away from home overnight.

https://smile.amazon.com/Zircon-Leak-Al ... 138&sr=8-4
That's been my approach. We had a bunch of the Zircons everywhere, but came back from vacation to a massive cacophony of beeping coming from all the Zircons I had in the basement that were now floating on top of the carpet in my finished basement (burst pipe). I forget the damage...10-20k maybe? Anyway, switched out the Zircons for a Wally system that alerts you via text/email/app alerts and put about 25 sensors everywhere I could think of that might leak. Problem solved...now I'll know even if traveling that there is a problem. Wait.. Now the parent company that makes Wally went under and it was acquired by Sears (lol.. from frying pan into fire?). They recently announced that there would be no more support for the system so when it stops working I guess I'll throw out $1-2k worth of leak detection equipment and poke around for something else. I never got the auto water shutoff because the company was already circling the drain when they released it, but I'd have similar concerns with any of these other products. Home security and camera systems are the same way...on an express train to obsolescence. Sometimes that is due to massive innovation and the new products are that much better, but usually it's just the usual "let's drive revenue by making stuff that stops working for no good reason in x number of years so we can get customers to buy the next thing" (a la smartphones). Sorry.. /rant

TL;DR - I have sensors, but never got an automatic shutoff valve. I turn my water off when we're away overnight and would call a retired neighbor with a key to go in and turn off my water if I got alerted by my system and wasn't home. Hopefully that would catch it before too much damage occurred.

rich126
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by rich126 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:24 am

I'm guessing you are talking about something lke https://www.amazon.com/Automatic-Shut-O ... B071YHRXG4
Somewhere in the $200-$400 range and then another $1500 for installation?

Seems pretty lofty price for installation but I've never known anyone with one.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by polyphasic9 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:42 pm

HomeStretch wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:46 am
polyphasic9 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:56 am
It has successfully triggered a couple of times when a toilet flapper didn't seat correctly.
When the device triggered the shutoff, did the device communicate where the leak was or did you need to locate it yourself?

Do you have an irrigation system or pool? If so, are those water lines covered or not covered by the shutoff device?
Alas, the alarm panel just sounds an alarm. Because it only has a single sensor for water flow into the house, I just have to check around a bit to determine what's consuming water.

I do have an irrigation system, but the water sensor is in the line after it, so irrigation can continue to run even if the system has closed the valve.

I also have a few cheap battery-powered water sensors that I've placed next to the refrigerator, washing machine, and under the sinks. I have a strong desire to not experience another costly event!

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by HomeStretch » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:53 pm

polyphasic9 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:42 pm
HomeStretch wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:46 am
polyphasic9 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:56 am
It has successfully triggered a couple of times when a toilet flapper didn't seat correctly.
When the device triggered the shutoff, did the device communicate where the leak was or did you need to locate it yourself?

Do you have an irrigation system or pool? If so, are those water lines covered or not covered by the shutoff device?
Alas, the alarm panel just sounds an alarm. Because it only has a single sensor for water flow into the house, I just have to check around a bit to determine what's consuming water.

I do have an irrigation system, but the water sensor is in the line after it, so irrigation can continue to run even if the system has closed the valve.

I also have a few cheap battery-powered water sensors that I've placed next to the refrigerator, washing machine, and under the sinks. I have a strong desire to not experience another costly event!
Agree it’s an event best avoided! Thanks for the information as I have been considering such devices.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by 3feetpete » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:56 pm

CurlyDave wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:47 am
I think you need to be careful with one of these gadgets.

In most places if you ever do a substantial remodel, building codes will require a fire sprinkler system. An automatic water shutoff valve will defeat the fire sprinkler.
I have a sprinkler system and an automatic shutoff valve. The shutoff valve is after the branch line that feeds the sprinkler system.

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by LilyFleur » Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:20 pm

queso wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:15 am
Hockey10 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:25 am
We had a leak on the 1st floor that ran for about 5-10 minutes and caused $14,000 of damage. The culprit was the plastic nut that connects the water supply line to a toilet. :mad: :shock:

I have thought about getting one of the automatic shut off valves, but have not done so yet. In the meantime, I have a battery powered water alarm under every toilet, sink, and every other water source in the house. We also shut off the water main whenever we are away from home overnight.

https://smile.amazon.com/Zircon-Leak-Al ... 138&sr=8-4
That's been my approach. We had a bunch of the Zircons everywhere, but came back from vacation to a massive cacophony of beeping coming from all the Zircons I had in the basement that were now floating on top of the carpet in my finished basement (burst pipe). I forget the damage...10-20k maybe? Anyway, switched out the Zircons for a Wally system that alerts you via text/email/app alerts and put about 25 sensors everywhere I could think of that might leak. Problem solved...now I'll know even if traveling that there is a problem. Wait.. Now the parent company that makes Wally went under and it was acquired by Sears (lol.. from frying pan into fire?). They recently announced that there would be no more support for the system so when it stops working I guess I'll throw out $1-2k worth of leak detection equipment and poke around for something else. I never got the auto water shutoff because the company was already circling the drain when they released it, but I'd have similar concerns with any of these other products. Home security and camera systems are the same way...on an express train to obsolescence. Sometimes that is due to massive innovation and the new products are that much better, but usually it's just the usual "let's drive revenue by making stuff that stops working for no good reason in x number of years so we can get customers to buy the next thing" (a la smartphones). Sorry.. /rant

TL;DR - I have sensors, but never got an automatic shutoff valve. I turn my water off when we're away overnight and would call a retired neighbor with a key to go in and turn off my water if I got alerted by my system and wasn't home. Hopefully that would catch it before too much damage occurred.
Since getting Zircons, I haven't had any water problems (and I have had several instances of water damage in my ground-floor condo). My upstairs neighbor would hear the alarms, and he has my number. I almost feel like I am tempting fate by even writing this!

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queso
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by queso » Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:24 pm

LilyFleur wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:20 pm
queso wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:15 am
Hockey10 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:25 am
We had a leak on the 1st floor that ran for about 5-10 minutes and caused $14,000 of damage. The culprit was the plastic nut that connects the water supply line to a toilet. :mad: :shock:

I have thought about getting one of the automatic shut off valves, but have not done so yet. In the meantime, I have a battery powered water alarm under every toilet, sink, and every other water source in the house. We also shut off the water main whenever we are away from home overnight.

https://smile.amazon.com/Zircon-Leak-Al ... 138&sr=8-4
That's been my approach. We had a bunch of the Zircons everywhere, but came back from vacation to a massive cacophony of beeping coming from all the Zircons I had in the basement that were now floating on top of the carpet in my finished basement (burst pipe). I forget the damage...10-20k maybe? Anyway, switched out the Zircons for a Wally system that alerts you via text/email/app alerts and put about 25 sensors everywhere I could think of that might leak. Problem solved...now I'll know even if traveling that there is a problem. Wait.. Now the parent company that makes Wally went under and it was acquired by Sears (lol.. from frying pan into fire?). They recently announced that there would be no more support for the system so when it stops working I guess I'll throw out $1-2k worth of leak detection equipment and poke around for something else. I never got the auto water shutoff because the company was already circling the drain when they released it, but I'd have similar concerns with any of these other products. Home security and camera systems are the same way...on an express train to obsolescence. Sometimes that is due to massive innovation and the new products are that much better, but usually it's just the usual "let's drive revenue by making stuff that stops working for no good reason in x number of years so we can get customers to buy the next thing" (a la smartphones). Sorry.. /rant

TL;DR - I have sensors, but never got an automatic shutoff valve. I turn my water off when we're away overnight and would call a retired neighbor with a key to go in and turn off my water if I got alerted by my system and wasn't home. Hopefully that would catch it before too much damage occurred.
Since getting Zircons, I haven't had any water problems (and I have had several instances of water damage in my ground-floor condo). My upstairs neighbor would hear the alarms, and he has my number. I almost feel like I am tempting fate by even writing this!
The neighbor is a game changer and makes it work better for you than it did for me. I caught a number of leaks/spills/overflows with the Zircons before my out of town incident so they definitely work great, are cheap and relatively future proof.....as long as someone is around to hear them. :)

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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by LilyFleur » Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:43 pm

queso wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:24 pm
LilyFleur wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:20 pm
queso wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:15 am
Hockey10 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:25 am
We had a leak on the 1st floor that ran for about 5-10 minutes and caused $14,000 of damage. The culprit was the plastic nut that connects the water supply line to a toilet. :mad: :shock:

I have thought about getting one of the automatic shut off valves, but have not done so yet. In the meantime, I have a battery powered water alarm under every toilet, sink, and every other water source in the house. We also shut off the water main whenever we are away from home overnight.

https://smile.amazon.com/Zircon-Leak-Al ... 138&sr=8-4
That's been my approach. We had a bunch of the Zircons everywhere, but came back from vacation to a massive cacophony of beeping coming from all the Zircons I had in the basement that were now floating on top of the carpet in my finished basement (burst pipe). I forget the damage...10-20k maybe? Anyway, switched out the Zircons for a Wally system that alerts you via text/email/app alerts and put about 25 sensors everywhere I could think of that might leak. Problem solved...now I'll know even if traveling that there is a problem. Wait.. Now the parent company that makes Wally went under and it was acquired by Sears (lol.. from frying pan into fire?). They recently announced that there would be no more support for the system so when it stops working I guess I'll throw out $1-2k worth of leak detection equipment and poke around for something else. I never got the auto water shutoff because the company was already circling the drain when they released it, but I'd have similar concerns with any of these other products. Home security and camera systems are the same way...on an express train to obsolescence. Sometimes that is due to massive innovation and the new products are that much better, but usually it's just the usual "let's drive revenue by making stuff that stops working for no good reason in x number of years so we can get customers to buy the next thing" (a la smartphones). Sorry.. /rant

TL;DR - I have sensors, but never got an automatic shutoff valve. I turn my water off when we're away overnight and would call a retired neighbor with a key to go in and turn off my water if I got alerted by my system and wasn't home. Hopefully that would catch it before too much damage occurred.
Since getting Zircons, I haven't had any water problems (and I have had several instances of water damage in my ground-floor condo). My upstairs neighbor would hear the alarms, and he has my number. I almost feel like I am tempting fate by even writing this!
The neighbor is a game changer and makes it work better for you than it did for me. I caught a number of leaks/spills/overflows with the Zircons before my out of town incident so they definitely work great, are cheap and relatively future proof.....as long as someone is around to hear them. :)
Hahaha, even living in a small condo has a silver lining. I listen to him walk around most every day (he has wood floors and the joists creak). When his dogs drop their bones, I heard a "thunk" above me. So I guess if my alarms ever go off, and he calls me, I have earned it!!

1rl9DS5gl2
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by 1rl9DS5gl2 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:32 pm

JimMolony wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:40 pm
This seems like a crazy amount of money for a shut off valve. The labor should be in the $200-450 range - not a very difficult job. Hard for me to believe the valve would be that costly.

Thanks.
+1

Saving$
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by Saving$ » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:43 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:10 am
CurlyDave wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:47 am
I think you need to be careful with one of these gadgets.

In most places if you ever do a substantial remodel, building codes will require a fire sprinkler system. An automatic water shutoff valve will defeat the fire sprinkler.
Not in any place I have ever lived. Are you in California?
In no place I have ever heard of is the fire sprinkler water supplied by the same line as the domestic water...usually a separate meter with backflow, etc.

Saving$
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by Saving$ » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:59 pm

Suggest a z-wave shutoff valve for $100
https://www.smarthome.com/dome-dmwv1-z- ... boost.html

With sufficient z-wave water sensors for your home configuration for $35 each. Most places I know of would be covered with 7 or so (one in each bathroom, one at kitchen, one at water heater, one at indoor cooling coils/pan, one in crawl/basement)
https://www.smarthome.com/dome-dmws1-z- ... boost.html

For about $350 + zwave hub (Hubitat for $80?) = $430 you can address this with a decent system and have the start of a zwave mesh network as well as controller.

Aeotoc also makes a more expensive sensor with a cord that can be plugged in to power (no battery required)

UALflyer
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Re: Does the Average Homeowner Need a Water Shut Off Valve?

Post by UALflyer » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:43 am

Saving$ wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:59 pm
Suggest a z-wave shutoff valve for $100
https://www.smarthome.com/dome-dmwv1-z- ... boost.html
There have been a lot of complaints about this design, which installs over your existing shutoff valve. Quite a few of them don't have sufficient torque to close your valve.

I don't know anything about this particular one, but a number of Amazon reviewers complain of this exact issue: https://www.amazon.com/Dome-Automation- ... merReviews

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