Water does more damage to homes every year than fire. And the washing machine is one common source of water catastrophes. When supply hoses rupture or valves inside the machine go bad, water flows freely until someone shuts it off. Several devices are available online or at plumbing supply stores that shut off the water automatically. The one shown here (called FloodStop) takes less than 10 minutes to install. Here's how it works: When the sensor detects water on the floor, it sends a signal to the control unit, which sounds a screeching alarm and automatically closes the valves.
Shutoff systems for water heaters and other appliances are also available. To install the valves, you have to unscrew the supply hoses, so this is a good time to replace your old rubber hoses with safer, steel-sheathed hoses.