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Clothes Washer: Keep Your Washing Machine from Flooding the Laundry Room

Updated: Jan. 15, 2020

Install an automatic washing machine shutoff valve to prevent floods

Automatic washing machine shutoff valveFamily Handyman
Install an automatic washing machine shutoff valve to prevent expensive flooding due to broken hoses, leaky valves or other malfunctions, especially when you're not home. You'll have greater peace of mind.

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Install automatic washing machine shutoff valves

Photo 1: Install the automatic washing machine shutoff valves

Screw the new motorized valves onto the manual shutoff valves. Then attach the washing machine hoses. Tighten until snug with slip-joint pliers.

Photo 2: Connect the valves

Plug the valve connectors into the wiring harness from the controller. It doesn’t matter which wire goes to which connector plug.

Photo 3: Place the floor sensor

Slide the floor sensor into the washing machine drain pan (if you have one) or lay it on the floor below the washing machine.

Flooding from washing machines happens far more often than you think. In fact, washing machine floods hold a prominent place in the “Top 10” list of homeowner’s insurance claims.

Even if you’ve already switched out your rubber hoses for “no-burst” braided hoses (you did that, right?), you’re still at risk. The machine’s water valve, drain hose and pump can fail and cause major damage. This is especially important if your washing machine is located on an upper floor, in a finished room or in a condo, where major flood damage can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

A washing machine valve shutoff kit (one choice is FloodStop No. FS3/4H-90; about $145 through our affiliation with puts all that concern to rest. When the floor-mounted sensor detects puddling, it instantly shuts off the water valve. The unit installs in less than 30 minutes with just slip-joint pliers (no soldering required). Here’s how.

Turn off the water to the washing machine and remove the fill hoses from the valves. Then install the new motorized valves (Photo 1). Then mount the controller close to the nearest electrical receptacle and connect the wires (Photo 2). Locate the flood sensor below the washing machine (Photo 3). For additional protection, buy a few more sensors and daisy-chain them onto the first sensor. Then wet them and adjust the sensitivity at the controller.

Required Tools for this automatic washing machine shutoff valve project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Pliers

Required Materials for this automatic washing machine shutoff valve project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Washing machine valve shutoff kit