Automatic Water Shut Off Valve Maintenance Basics

A valve on a white background.

An automatic water shut off valve can be a great way of preventing a flood in your home. Although the valve can't prevent mother nature from flooding your home with rainwater, it can help prevent floods in your home due to a broken water pipe or faucet that was inadvertently left on. An automatic water shut off valve is able to detect moisture and water levels on the floor of your home. If the sensors detect abnormal amounts of water on the floor, a wireless signal is sent to a controller that then closes the main water inlet pipe into your home and prevents further water damage.

Generally speaking, these systems do a very good job at preventing water damage and can save you thousands of dollars in repairs. However, like most other things, they only work when they are properly maintained. Here are some things you can do to make sure the automatic shut off valve in your home stays in tip-top shape and works the way it should.

Check the Sensor Power Supply

One of the most important aspects of properly maintaining an automatic water shut off valve is to check the floor sensors and the power supply that provides current to them. Many floor sensors that are connected to an automatic water shut off valve use regular batteries to power them. You should inspect the batteries frequently to make sure that they are charged and replace them as needed. For units that use a sensor controller that is plugged into the wall, you should occasionally check the power cord and plug to make sure that they have not become frayed or damaged. Also, make sure that it is properly seated in the wall outlet and that the sensors are getting power.

Check Connection to Controller Unit

If the sensors on the floor are hardwired to the control unit, you should occasionally check the connections to make sure that all of the sensor wires are correctly connected to the unit. If the senses are connected to the unit via a wireless link, you should use the test button on the controller unit to ensure that the sensors are properly tuned and in sync.

Check for Leaks

At the point where the automatic shut off valve is connected to the main water pipe for your home, you should frequently inspect the area for leaks, cracks, or other damage. A leak or crack in this area may cause the automatic shut off valve to malfunction or report a false positive that will result in the water being shut off. Sometimes, leaks can be caused by loose fittings that can be repaired by using Teflon tape or plumber's putty.

Perform System Check

Refer to the operating instructions that come with your automatic water shut off valve and perform a test on the system at least twice a year. In most cases, you simply need to press a few buttons on the control unit and wait for the results to be displayed. Checking the unit occasionally will help you to avoid a malfunctioning unit and a flood in your home.