Washing Machine Shut Off Valve (How to Prevent Flooding)

Ever had a washing machine flood? It’s a terrible inconvenience, yet it’s avoidable by using an automatic washing machine shut off valve. It’s the most effective washing machine flood protection on the market today.

These valves are widely available, yet I wonder how many people are aware of them. They are also becoming smarter.

With more manufacturers creating products that allow connectivity to our smart devices, we can instantly know when something is wrong.

Let’s take a look at how these shutoff valves can prevent laundry floods.

What causes a washing machine to flood?

While there is no way to know an exact answer for every single washing machine, we can go over the most common causes.

  • A leak from a hole or split in one of the water supply or drainage hoses sometimes causing hose bursts
  • A block in the drainage outlet, either in the hose or in the drain somewhere
  • Worn washers that form the seal in the connections that attach either end of the hoses from the mains supply line
  • Badly rusted or corroded components in your washing machine
metal braided hoses

On the machine itself

Any appliance that has water around it, will form some sort of corrosion or rust somewhere inside the machine, over time. Parts that aren’t stainless steel and made from a cheaper metal, can rust quite easily when exposed to water and air. When this happens, leaks can occur quite easily.

Many manufacturers are making more parts out of plastic to avoid this problem, but this too can have certain drawbacks.

Hoses

Hoses on washing machines go brittle or simply split over time. All the years of having faucet water running through it can cause damage from the inside. Luckily it’s easy enough to inspect a washing machine hose to see if it’s leaking or developing stress points, where a leak is about to occur. If so, don’t hesitate to replace your hoses.

Drainage

Drainage hoses are also at risk for clogging. All the old soap buildup and other deposits keep collecting inside the hose. This coupled with other bits of debris from washing over time, can make for a blocked up hose over time.

All the ends on all the hoses are at more risk of leaking. Some pressed on ends are pretty tough, but some aren’t. So it’s just an area to pay closer attention to when inspecting hoses.

Seals

The washers that fit inside the connector ends of a hose, can also cause leaks. Once you have disconnected the hoses from the faucets, check inside the fittings and look at the rubbers that form the seal. If they look bad, replace them. They only cost pennies.

I have a whole kit I bought in a hardware store. It has o-rings and all kinds of washers. They are great to have ready for different problems around the house, even for faucet washers. I’ve used washers etc. for all kinds of appliances in the past from it. In addition, I’ve even replaced seals on my water blaster, etc.

How often should you check your washing machine’s drainage?

While there isn’t a specific time-frequency to check your hose and drainage, I would recommend you inspect it once a year. I honestly don’t think that a drain hose could clog within a year, seeing as it takes years for a serious build-up to occur.

Simply remove the hose and run water through it. If it seems unobstructed, you should be fine.

Check that the drain is not blocked. If the hose or the drain seems a little slow to drain through, try pouring some boiling water from a kettle down it. If it still doesn’t run well, take a long wire and run it down the hose.

Afterward, use some drain cleaner to get the drain running well again.

What is an automatic washing machine shut off valve?

A washing machine shut off valve is a state of the art technology device that consists of two main components:

  1. The valve – this can physically turn the water off and on. It does the same job that a faucet does.
  2. The electronics and sensors – to control the valve.

The valve connects inline between your hot and cold water supply connections and washing machine. An alarm is activated when a leak is detected. You can control it using most common devices such as a smartphone or tablet.

Installing this device can stop any flooding related to your washing machine from producing any kind of leak. The moment water is detected by the leak sensor on the ground, it will shut off the supply, avoiding any further water damage.

How to prevent laundry floods using a shut off valve

woman holding flooding door

As mentioned before, the automatic shut off valve consists of two major components. A valve is connected up inline, between the supply line and the washing machine water inlet. Control of the valve is the electronics component’s job. 

The valve can be shut off or turned on, by you, or when the sensor detects a leak. 

A sensor is connected to the electronics unit and is normally positioned flush on the floor. When the sensor detects water, it automatically shuts off the supply for you. This lowers the risk of water damage by a great deal.

You will also be alerted from your mobile device or computer that water was detected, and your water flow was turned off.

If the features are supported in your water shut off valves, having it turn the power off to your washing machine when water is detected, is another step in increased safety. 

A smart plug would have to be powering the washing machine, in order for the automatic shut off valve, to shut the power off to it.

You can learn more about smart plugs and their uses here, in our other article.

This would be the best way to prevent laundry floods, without question.

Is it difficult to install?

The most difficult part of the installation process is connecting up the water to and from the shut-off valves. If you are able to handle a wrench, then you should be fine, if you follow the installation instructions diligently enough. 

You could call a plumber to do it for you, which would be an extremely easy job for a professional. It shouldn’t cost much in labor either, seeing as it would be about a 15-minute job at most, for a plumber. 

This will be true if everything is straightforward. By this I mean, if your plumbing is easily accessible and that you don’t have any other problems you didn’t know about, that has to be repaired first.

Once the water is connected and your washing machine is also connected, it’s simply a matter of plugging in the rest. Plug in the power and position the sensor correctly, as instructed by the manual.

After that, simply connect it system up to your WiFi and away you go. No more potential flooding from your washing machine.

You could even have the valves close or open, using a voice assistant. That’s of course, only available if the washing machine shut off valve supports your type of assistant.

If you would like to read more about voice assistants, here is more information in one of my other posts.

You can see an example of a washer machine cut off valve being installed here:

How to Install an Automatic Washing Machine Shutoff Valve | This Old House

What damages can occur from a small flood?

room flood

This depends a lot on your home’s construction style in the area of the flood. Do you have brick walls? Or a concrete floor? Is there any insulation inside your wall? There are quite a few factors.

Most commonly, wooden floors and drywall are the highest at risk, by being damaged by water. It takes a reasonable amount of effort to replace sections like these in your home.

Long-lasting effects of water damage could be difficult to detect. It can also cause problems like allergies or asthma. So if you come across any signs of a previously water damaged area in your home, get it checked out by a professional. 

Having an automatic shut off valve would reduce the number of structures or other surrounding items that would get wet. At the very worst, a small area of your floor could get wet. This isn’t nearly as difficult, to get the area back into a dry state again. 

Conclusion

And that’s how you implement washing machine flood protection.

I’m sure that the value of an automatic washing machine shut off valve speaks for itself. It has become quite a necessary device for residential applications and preventing damage.

Reducing the risk of costly water damage is wise, and leans toward prevention, rather than cure.

They definitely don’t make them like they used to, so it’s highly recommended to take precautions.

However, if your laundry equipment is old or new, you still have water flowing through lots of joins and connections which potentially can leak. 

Wouldn’t you want your water shut off at the source if leaking occurs?