Recommended automatic water main shut off for "vacation" home?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Icier, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. Icier

    Icier New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Payson, AZ
    First, thanks for the forum. I've found help here a half dozen times.

    The "vacation" home means we are home about 3/4 of the time, away 4 -10 days a month. I would like to install a volumetric? shutoff valve after main and before much else that would shut off water if the house used a disproportionate amount of water in a given time period. 100 gal. in 24 hours would be half again our daily consumption. Or a valve that would meter and "reset" if the flow rate was nil.

    I did a little searching, first here and then elsewhere and heard Watercop or Floodstop leak detectors mentioned, which don't really seam to fit the bill.

    Sudden flow, and pressure drop sensors don't either.

    Is anyone familiar with something that might be suitable? 500 - 1,000 fun tickets would be O.K.
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,539
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    ALL "automatic" shutoff systems can be fooled by "normal" usage causing them to shut off the flow, and conversely, some failures can mimic normal usage which would then NOT be shut off by it.
  3. Icier

    Icier New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Payson, AZ
    Thanks for reply.

    I'm sure that's true. But, I'm not risking much in the effort. Even if I only diverted the water through the imaginary automatic shut-off system while we were away (then the worst that would happen, would be a couple trees didn't get watered for a few days because of an unnecessary shut-off). In the event of undetected failure, all I have is the same flooded house I would have had anyway...

    But, if it worked and saved half a mile of wood flooring, I would have to get one of those ambidextrous personal back slappers.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,539
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It wouldn't "divert the water" it would shut if off completely. Your safest "control" is a valve that you turn off when you leave and turn back on when you return. It could be a solenoid valve that you flip a switch when leaving and returning.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,342
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    It could also be a 1/4 turn stop and waste valve you turn off/on with a curb key. Less likely to fail and probably cheaper, too.
  6. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,137
    Location:
    Maine
    Why not just shut the main off when you leave?
  7. Icier

    Icier New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Payson, AZ
    I think that's three votes for easily accessible 1/4 turn shutoff.

    Thanks for replies.

    If you want to hear the funny part, I already installed one in the pantry because I'm doing a lot of remodeling. I'll just, you know ...use it.

    BTW, This is the before and almost after of our kitchen model. You guys did the plumbing.

    remodel01.jpg remodel03.jpg
  8. JerryR

    JerryR Member

    Messages:
    242
    Location:
    Florida
    I travel between 2 homes. My biggest fear was a pipe failure with water running for days. I installed 1/4 turn ball valve to shut off water at each house.

    The routine when leaving any time we won't be there overnight goes as follows
    1- shut off water at ball valve
    2- throw water heater breaker
    3- turn off ice maker in refrigerator
    4- set air conditioner thermostat to AWAY mode
    5- set the alarm

    For the AC I have a $99 Filtrete wifi thermostat. I can monitor inside and outside temp. Fully control AC remotely from anywhere in the world via my iPhone.

    Jerry
  9. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    409
    Location:
    California
    I agree with the above answers: a $10 mechanical ball valve is all you need.
  10. Icier

    Icier New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Payson, AZ
    That pretty well sums up my concerns with the original post. I think I was also trying to keep the house as "easy" as possible in case my wife has to figure it out.
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