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2010-05-25 02:46:53.601882+00 by Dan Lyke 7 comments

Yep, Dan's been reading back issues of Fine Homebuilding again: The Watts IntelliFlow washing machine shutoff valves. Because you're supposed to turn off the washing machine water when you aren't running the machine, and nobody does, so this little beastie senses current being drawn by the washer and turns on the water then. Also apparently does leak detection.

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#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-25 12:47:46.104764+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Or every once in a while, you check/replace your hoses. Buy good hoses when you do. If you use this, you have now added complexity and many more failure points to a very simple system that doesn't need it.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-25 14:34:36.263005+00 by: Nancy

Or, couldn't you just turn the water off and on? I know I don't, but the faucets are very accessible and so with some training (!) I easily could get in the habit. Are there any negative consequences if you forget to turn the water on and you run the washing machine? (Other than not having water...)

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-25 15:02:49.022632+00 by: Dan Lyke

Meuon, yeah, that's roughly the approach I've taken.

Nancy, I don't think so. I know our dishwasher will just wait 'til you turn the water on.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-25 15:21:00.114233+00 by: ebradway

There's an almost identical circuit in your washer. So all this does is move the valve to the faucet head instead of the back of the washer. The only point of failure it eliminates would be in the hose. Stainless steel hoses are available for a lot less. Your PVC plumbing will go first...

A house-wide leak detector/automatic cutoff would be a better investment.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-25 19:47:28.802731+00 by: meuon [edit history]

"house-wide leak detector/automatic cutoff" - Excellent idea. :)

By the way, that's a side effect/benefit of some prepaid water meters such as Teqnovo/efteq which UtiliFlex is interfacing with.

You set a daily limit, and once reached the meter cuts off. Some variations have a "life support" or "trickle" mode.. so that the person can (slowly) fill up a glass of water. Set a sane daily limit, and if you had a real leak, it'd save you from a lot of water damage and water costs.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-25 19:59:17.804578+00 by: Dan Lyke

Meuon, down at Maker Faire someone had a prototype device that hung on the end of your faucet, measured your daily water to a quota, and slowed down the flow as it got close to the quota.

Unfortunately, my first question was "so how are you reading the flow?" and they said "uh... that's the part we haven't implemented yet." Sigh. Anyone got a line on an easy to interface with flow meter? I'd love to put such a thing on my irrigation lines to detect valve failure...

(Speaking of Eric's point: Yeah, that they've got a stepdown transformer and drive the valve with the lower voltage suggests that they may just be using irrigation valves. I don't wanna cast any stones, but if I had to choose between the chance of valve failure in my washing machine or the chance of valve failure given the behavior of what I've seen from the allegedly premium irrigation valves we're running... well...)

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-25 22:28:11.056659+00 by: meuon

I have seen a secret to very accurately measuring low and high water flow, without a moving part in contact with anything and almost clog/crud/buildup proof and once seen, you realize it is simple, elegant, and effective use of some basic principles. Execution (how it is done) is important. I'll see if I can dig up some good meters. ;)