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Automatic Sensors Stop Washing Machine Floods

Updated: Jun. 30, 2017

Avoid expensive laundry room disasters!

FH06APR_AUTOSE_01-2Family Handyman
Washing machine floods due to a bad valve or a ruptured water hose are frequent enough that an automatic sensor is a good investment. Here's how to install one.

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An hour or less

Stop washing machine floods

Washing machine with sensor-controlled shutoff

The sensor on the floor cuts off the water if it gets wet.

Control unit

The control unit is connected to the sensor, the shutoff and the power supply.

Shutoff valves

The valves block water flow instantly at a signal from the control unit.


The sensor is attached to the floor near the water hoses—the area that will most likely get wet first.

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.

Required Tools for this Project

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

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Cordless drill
  • Wrench set

Required Materials for this Project

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

  • Automatic sensor and shutoff
  • Screw-in anchors (for attaching control unit to wall)
  • Steel-sheathed water supply hoses