Flood proofing home--FloLogic or alternative?

jeanie_bethSeptember 2, 2008

I am just now recovering from a flood of my home caused from a NEW broken toilet supply line while away from home. $30,000 damage from that little 1/2" line--ruined my floors and walls.

My insurance adjuster said it is best to replace all supply lines every 3-4 years--even steel braided ones--especially the washing machine line. He said that is the #1 line to break in a home--especially rubber ones.

I have replaced all supply lines in home with FloodSafe steel supply lines.

I am still paranoid of line breakage, thus I have been looking at a "FloLogic" water valve from www.flologic.com

They are about $1095--which is $95 more than my deductible.

However, a friend of mine suggests that the general idea of a "FloLogic" system can be implemented for about $100 or less.

He suggests buying a 1" electric sprinkler control valve from any major hardware store and placing it on the main water line just past my side of the city water meter in a meter box housing.

He then says an underground electric line to control the valve can easily be buried to come into house and mount a On/OFF switch at exit door of house. This way I can turn off ALL water into house when exiting.

I know this "poorgirl's" version of a "FloLogic" system will not have the flow sensing capabilites of a true "FloLogic" system, but at least I can rest assured all water into home is easily turned on/off by me upon entering/exiting home.

My only concern is my ice maker on fridge--while OFF in daytime while I am at work, he says it should function most of the time properly as there will still be a little bit of pressured water in line in OFF mode.

My question, do any of you know of a cheaper alternative to FloLogic system or an improvement to my friend's "poorgirl's version"?

Once you have gone thru a flood and all the hassle of it, you become paranoid of a repeat.

Insurance adjustor says more & more supply lines are being maf'd in China now and thus "ain't what they used to be.."--that's why he suggests replacement every 3-4 years regardless of rubber or steel braid.

Thank for any ideas on this...

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problem with the sprinkler valve is that it REQUIRES action from you each and EVERY time. and what about when you go to sleep at night? you going to cut off the water every night before bed? if you do, then have to get up to use the bathroom or get a glass of water you have to go turn it back on.

i have no experience with teh flologic, but how can it tell there is a leak versus you are just using a large volume of water? i think it only works for long term large leaks if it just goes by flow. if a hose gets a small leak, it can still cause a lot of damage and never trip the system. if it has sensors that you place near your washer/dishwasher/wh/toilets/sinks, then that is a lot of wiring to retro into a home.

i was working in topeka KS once in the top floor mechanical room. there was a large pipe, maybe 8" that had lock out tags on teh valves and a big section removed. we were in a side room when the lobby security guard came up and informed us of a problem. seems that the valve was not shut and someone switched another valve to flow that way. the pipe was blowign out an 8" full bore stream wide open. the floor sensors did not pick up the leak until water had already poured down teh elevator shaft and stairwells and started to run across teh lobby floors! i have not trusted any type of sensors since then! oh, an dhte guard was gonna blame us, but one of the maintenance guys was up there with us and verified we did not even go in that area of teh room.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 11:13PM
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I have a system called watercop. It basically a system of wireless water sensors and an electronic valve on the main. I got it after some water damage (DD left a glass propped in the frig water dispenser and left for school). The system is about $400. I also like that you can have a wired switch with it. I have a switch at the top of the basement stairs, so everyone knows how to turn the water off in case of an emergency.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 1:21PM
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It's always a mystery why people say they have no experience with something and then proceed to offer opinions and misinformation.

5 minutes on the FloLogic home page is all one needs to determine their systems WILL detect any and all leaks, even "a hose with a small leak". It's not very mysterious. And, contrary to the post, there are no sensors or wires "running all over the house" with a FloLogic system.

FloLogic does comes with a heavy price tag of ~$1100. Some might argue that's cheap when compared to water damage. No argument there though there are cheaper, less sophisticated alternatives.

Units are available to attach directly to a washing machine (a source of many home water leaks) for ~$100. And, as chris8796 noted, the WaterCop will also shut off the main water supply when one of its wireless sensors detects water.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 8:27PM
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The advantage (assuming it works right) of the flowlogic is that it detects what's not a normal flow, as opposed to the sensing type which detect actual water.

I suspect the best sort incorporates both, as a sensor type that detects the presence of water will also deal with backing up drains etc, as well as a burst pipe.

The sprinkler idea of your friend is impractical, silly and would not be up with code. You may as well just turn off your water main when you go out (not an entirely silly idea but make sure your hot water system can cope with that, a bigger issue than your ice maker which I would think will just not make ice)

Most burglar alarm systems can have a low temperature (in case furnace fails) sensor incorporated to prevent freezing of pipes, as well as water sensors in key areas. The flow logic has some advantages I guess but the security system can be set up to call you, a neighbour or a monitoring station if it receives an alert.

I am kind of fussy and do a lot of preventative maintenance, and can see the logic of replacing those flexible hoses. You also want to make sure they don't just start a slow leak around the seals rather than bursting - turning off the water to the washing machine and dishwasher can be wise, as those solenoid valves can be prone to failure. Make sure the cutoff valves for toilets, taps etc are the ball-valve types as they are less likely to leak than the other type.

Lastly and most importantly, make sure your water pressure is not too high and ideally has a pressure regulating valve installed, which might have been the source of your original woes.

A handy person could probably incorporate an off-the-shelf electric shutoff valve with sensors, and still come out cheaper than the flowlogic.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 3:38AM
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Wow, I guess I have missed out on all the fun.

I've never had a supply line break. Seems like if there was an epidemic of broken supply lines, some manufacturers would be going out of business $30k at a time.

I second the idea that the first place to go is to make sure that the pressure is being regulated properly to the home.

Second, the flow-logic isn't much more sophisticated than the "poor girl's model" other than it has a 30 second delay after it senses water use before turning the water off - allowing for intermittent water use. You still have to indicate if you are home or not - and failing to do so will make it useless.

I could see where a water cutoff would be helpful, particularly in a vacation home or such. Seems like a connection to the alarm panel to shut off the valve when the alarm was in the "away" mode would work well.

As a "plan B" a few water sensors wired to the alarm could also alert you of a flood in the event that the alarm wasn't in the "Away" mode or the valve malfunctioned. Most alarms have contacts that are always monitored and can send a "Freeze Alert" or "Flood Alert" to the monitoring company. Of course significant damage would have occurred by the time it was detected, you were notified, and it was shut off.

BTW: I have been the maintenance supervisor for several hundred apartment units and never had the problem of broken flex lines. I can't imagine replacing all the flex lines as often as you suggested (I can't see doing it at all) except possibly on washing machines where there's significant movement.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 8:57AM
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I think catastrophic failure of supply lines is fairly rare too. I've seen a couple refrigerator water lines get hairline cracks and leak. But the vast majority of major water flooding I've seen come from human negligence, usually turn the water on and walked away. The worst equipment failure I've seen was a pressure problem. The PRV failed and the high pressure broke some plastic components in the water softner and unleashed 125 psi, 3/4" copper in a finished basement while the occupants were away. For some reason, flologic recommends installing after the water softner so it still would have flooded. You'd also have to account for ice makers and humidifers when "away". I would also imagine people who can afford $1K+ for a flow sensor would be big water users. Its easy to imagine a need for 5+ gpm, so a 4 gpm leak wouldn't trip the detector. I also don't like the idea of checking in with the plumbing when I go or return from somewhere.

Irrigation valves are not like an on/off ball valve, they have to be setup for a given flow rate. That is why irrigation valves have minimum flow rates when the valve is open, instead of zero.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 3:07PM
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Ron Natalie

The more likely ones to go are the washer hoses (my sisters house got that one bad).

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 5:53AM
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Pardon my late comment relative to the last comment. FloLogic works off continuous flow duration, not gpm detection. IOW, even with a pinhole leak, there is flow, and it shuts off after that flow is detected continuously for either 1) 30 mins in 'Home' mode, or 2) 30 secs in 'Away' mode, both of which are defaults and user configurable. I have researched these devices extensively due to a water damage while I was out of country, and the repair cost is about $130k. WaterCop is fine, but not as comprehensive as FloLogic because WaterCop is only as good as you know where the leak might happen next. E.g., if there's a leak within the walls, no way will WaterCop help you until you start seeing stains showing up on the sheetrock.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 3:03PM
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I'm not finding it for ~1100. When I put it in their cart to see the price, it was more like ~1500... Where are you looking?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 4:36PM
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kirkhall, looks like the 1100 price might be in 2009, and now it is 1500. i see it for 1400 (sale) at www.wssus.com. I'm looking to buy one soon for my home as well.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 1:23PM
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Or just shut off the main valve for the house when leaving, especially for extended periods of time.

Be sure to shut off any water heaters also.

If an electric heater comes on with an element no in water it burns out pretty much instantly.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 2:28PM
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rather than the irrigation valve kludge.

It's called "Floodstop," and I have one fitted. The site depicts using multiple valves at problem areas, but I went with a single valve, right after the main shutoff.

You can daisy chain the sensors (assuming you can run wires to those spots, there are some wireless options out there also) so you protect several areas at once - laundry, mechanical room etc. They're relatively cheap, and the valve is a full-flow ball valve...in its open state, it doesn't impede water flow at all.

The control box also has outputs so you can connect it to your security alarm, so it can call out and alert you. (Assuming you've set it up that way.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Floodstop

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 1:58AM
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