How to Install a FloodStop Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Valve

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A water heater automatic shutoff valve, sensor and control panel is installed on the cold water pipe to prevent flooding if the tank leaks.

Table of Contents

  1. Gas Water Heater Replacement Cost and Code Compliance
  2. Natural Gas Hot Water Heater Replacement Process
  3. How to Install a FloodStop Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Valve (you are here)
  4. Water Heater Replacement – Gas Supply & Type B Flue Vent Connections
  5. Basement Water Heater Temperature & Pressure Valve Discharge Pipe to the Outdoors

How to Install a FloodStop Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Valve

I hired a Master Plumber to replace the old water heater and asked if a leak sensor was available. The plumber said they install FloodStop automatic shutoff valves to prevent flooding if the tank leaks. The plumber charged $337 for parts, materials and labor. It’s available on Amazon.com for much less if you want to install it yourself. The FloodStop system has three components:

  1. Control Panel – monitors the leak sensor and closes the ball valve if a leak is detected.
  2. Brass motorized ball valve – installs on the cold water inlet pipe to the tank.
  3. Leak sensor that sits in the drain pan.

See the FloodStop Water Heater Installation and Operating Manual for details.

FloodStop installed on the new Bradford White 50 gallon gas water heater:

New Bradford White Natural Gas Hot Water Heater with FloodStop Auto-Shutoff Valve

New Bradford White Natural Gas Hot Water Heater with FloodStop Auto-Shutoff Valve

The control panel is simple with three buttons:

  • Open – opens the ball valve and allows the water to flow. This is the normal operating state.
    Press the Open button to set the controller state after the system is installed.
  • Close – closes the ball valve upon command. A whirring sound is heard as the motorized valve opens and closes.
  • Mute – to silence the audible alarm. When a leak is detected, the audible alarm is sounded, the ball valve automatically closes and the control panel flashes red.
FloodStop Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Controller - Valve Open State

FloodStop Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Controller – Valve Open State

I moistened the sensor to trigger a leak detection alarm. The valve closed, audible alarm sounded, control panel flashed red and the Close LED illuminated:

FloodStop Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Valve Controller - Leak Detection Alarm Valve Closed

FloodStop Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Valve Controller – Leak Detection Alarm Valve Closed

To reset the alarm:

  1. Press the Mute button.
  2. Dry off the sensor and put it back in the paper sleeve.
    The red alarm LED turned off.
  3. Press the Open button to open the valve.

The control panel is AC powered with four AA batteries for backup power. The AC transformer outputs 9 volts DC so there’s no danger of electric shock:

FloodStop FS34NPT Shutoff Valve AC Power Adapter

FloodStop FS34NPT Shutoff Valve AC Power Adapter

FloodStop demo video:

FloodStop FS34NPT Motorized Ball Valve

The FloodStop FS3/4NPT kit is designed for 3/4 inch pipes. The motorized brass ball valve mounts on the cold water inlet pipe:

FloodStop Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Valve with Pressure Gauge and Thermal Expansion Tank

FloodStop Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Valve with Pressure Gauge and Thermal Expansion Tank

The FS3/4NPT Product Code means FS=FloodStop, 3/4=pipe diameter, NPT=National Pipe Thread fittings. The valve has a threaded female inlet (top) and male outlet (bottom). The valve must be installed such that the embossed arrow points to the tank (direction of water flow):

FloodStop FS3-4NPT Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Motorized Ball Valve

FloodStop FS3-4NPT Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Motorized Ball Valve

The threaded pipe adapter options are:

  • ProPress fittings
    The plumbers used Viega ProPress fittings which requires an expensive Press Tool.

  • SharkBite connectors:
    The Do-It-Yourself homeowner could use the following SharkBite connectors:

    • U134LFA 3/4″ by 3/4″ MNPT (Male NPT)
    • U088LFA 3/4″ by 3/4″ FNPT (Female NPT)
  • Sweat fittings (solder & torch method)
    • Standard 3/4″ brass NPT solder joint adapters from the hardware store also work fine.
      Sweat the adapters on the copper pipe before installing the ball valve to avoid heat damage.

Plumber’s Tape:

Wrap the valve and pipe adapter male threads with PTFE plumber’s tape to prevent leaks.

FloodStop Leak Sensor

The XS-01 leak sensor is placed in the drain pan:

FloodStop Hot Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Sensor in Drain Pan

FloodStop Hot Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Sensor in Drain Pan

The paper sleeve is an insulator to prevent contact with the metal drain pan which would trigger the Normally Open (NO) sensor circuit. When the sensor is wet, a small electrical current is detected across the sensor grid indicating a leak. The sensor is very sensitive – one drop of water will trigger a leak detection:

FloodStop Auto-Shutoff Valve Sensor Circuit Board

FloodStop Auto-Shutoff Valve Sensor Circuit Board

The extra connector is for daisy chaining additional sensors. Plug the cable into either connector as both are the same.

If the paper sleeve gets wet and needs replacing, wrap the sensor in a paper towel and put it back in the drain pan.

FloodStop Auto-Shutoff Valve Motor Disassembly

It’s unlikely you’ll ever need to replace the motor, gears or manually turn the ball valve but it’s simple to do.

  1. Disconnect the motor power cord.
    Be careful not to pull on the cord which might damage the motor terminal solder connections.
  2. Pull off the plastic cover.
  3. Loosen the four motor mount screws with a small Philips screwdriver.
FloodStop Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Valve - Remove Motor Cover

FloodStop Water Heater Auto-Shutoff Valve – Remove Motor Cover

A defective motor or gear can be replaced. If the ball valve appears to be stuck, turn the white plastic gear with your finger. The controller cycles the valve monthly to reduce the possibility of a frozen valve caused by mineral buildup, etc.

FloodStop FS34NPT Gear Box

FloodStop FS34NPT Gear Box

The FloodStop valve is an inexpensive safety device compared to the cost and misery of a flooded basement.

Next: Water Heater Replacement – Gas Supply & Type B Flue Vent Connections.

Thanks,

Bob Jackson

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