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Thread: Remote sensor shutoff valve for water heater

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  1. #1

    Default Remote sensor shutoff valve for water heater

    On The New This Old House I saw an episode that put a 2 inch pan underneath the water heater, installed a remote sensor that detects water in the pan and at a certain depth triggers a new shutoff valve in the plumbing to turn off the water into the water heater.

    I liked the fix which would essentially keep the water heater from flooding the basement.

    Has anyone on this forum ever implemented such a scheme like this before?

    How much would this cost - parts, labor?

    -- Tom

  2. #2
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Blog Entries

    Talking special devices

    This old house is like a comedy show, in my opinion...

    if I need a good laugh, I will tune in....

    old Bob cracks me up

    but seriously
    A pan and a drain is usually good enough for
    the average home.....
    if the drain goes somewhere reliable.

    I have run across something like you are talking about...

    wether it stands the test of time or not is the question

    just because it works today when its brand new,
    does not mean it will work in
    12 years when your water heater finally fails...

    and it appears to be a real pain , or at least
    medium pain in the ass to install....

    I cant find any specs on their web site yet to
    really see if this is a noe shot deal or it can
    be resued over and over...

    also I cant find a price either.

    Last edited by master plumber mark; 07-10-2005 at 07:02 AM.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default valve

    The valve would have to be a normally closed valve, which means it would always be energized except when there is water in the pan. This means that the valve would probably burn out at least once and maybe more before the heater ever leaked, and during a power failure you would not have any hot water, (or any water at all if the valve were in the feed to the house).

  4. #4
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    Havenát seen what particular device you are looking at, but it should be a pilot-actuated type, juice it once to open, again to close. If not, then as hj pointed out, continous activation of a coil or solenoid is likely to be prone to failure. Ask the manufacturer for details on this.

    A sprinkler valve is one example of this type of valve. However, because they are AC voltage, they do have to apply power to the solenoid to keep it open. SInce they are only on for a few minutes per day, it is not a problem.
    Continous duty would imply a DC, double throw actuator.

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    New England


    Take a look at the www.taco-hvac.com site. They have a device that is all mechanical. If I remember, it shuts the gas off as well, (assuming it is a gas water heater of course!). It relies on a disk. If the disk gets wet, it releases the valve. Fairly inexpensive, and, if I remember, comes with a significant warranty against damage.

    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
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    Talking Wags Valve $$??

    I cant find a price on the wags valve....

    just wondering what it costs...

    it appears to be a one time shot......shuts off the water and has
    some sort of circuit tieing into the thermocoupling on the gas valve..

    once the fiber has given way,
    the spring closes and shuts down the unit

    it appears to be a throw away part...
    and I would probably try to pipe the t+p valve to
    a drain instead of into that pan

    It all depends on what it costs


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