Solenoid valve to close water main by switch

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Old 12-03-09, 02:11 PM
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Smile Solenoid valve to close water main by switch

Greetings:
I want to put a solenoid valve on my water main in the basement and wire it to a 12 vdc battery and a run the wires to a switch on 1st floor by the door.
When I go out I turn the switch on [closes the valve] - when I return I turn the switch off. The solenoid valve has to be reasonably priced and normally open state.
I cannot afford the $700 to $1000 tab on FloControl or Watercop - so I thought I could rig this myself and get the same functionality.

4 times a day x 365 days x 50 years = 73,000 cycles. If I could get a solenoid valve rated for at least 73,000 cycles I am good to go.

Any thoughts ? Suggestions?

Thanks!!
 
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Old 12-03-09, 02:21 PM
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Rather than a solenoid valve that requires power when activated I would suggest a motorized ball valve. This will only require power when actually opening or closing.

How much are you willing to spend? A 3/4 inch or 1 inch normally open solenoid valve will set you back at least $150 to $200. Also, using the electricity to close the valve means that if you lose power (or your battery goes dead) the valve opens and defeats whatever you wish to accomplish by closing the valve in the first place.

And why the 12 volt battery?
 
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Old 12-03-09, 02:31 PM
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furd,

I think my home is either 1" or 1.25" - I will find that out tonight.

I didn't know about the motorized ball valve.

I thought of 12v - may be safer won't electrocute wife when she is taking shower ;-)

Thanks for guiding me mate
 
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Old 12-03-09, 03:03 PM
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a motorized ball valve would work as furd said. If you want to use a solenoid valve get one this is normally closed and energizes to open. Same reason furd suggested the motorized ball valve, however u do it, u wanna make sure if the power fails then the valve will remain closed.

A more fool proof method would be a regular ball valve that you turn off by hand when u leave and then turn back on when u get home... Are you trying to avoid the stairs every time?
 
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Old 12-03-09, 03:56 PM
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I spent less than five minutes with Google and came up with the following.

electric ball valve

normally closed solenoid valve

The ball valve is the most expensive at about $280 but it has the advantage of not requiring power in either the open or closed position. The solenoid valve is a bit cheaper depending on whether or not you get the model that has a minimum opening pressure (which shouldn't make any difference in this application) at about $205 to $270.

I don't know where you got the price of $700 and up for the Water Cop. Here is just the valve, which is all you want if you are going to use a switch, for $338. Water Cop Valve They even have a fancy control switch but I think the price is pretty steep. Water Cop Control Switch

All of these are for a one-inch valve.

I think if I were doing this I'd go ahead and buy the Water Cop and control switch. The advantage of the control switch is that it is wired with low-voltage cable and has indicator lights. $372 plus shipping. I didn't check but I'm pretty sure that you can add any other sensor to the Water Cop with the same low-voltage wiring.
 
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Old 12-03-09, 06:57 PM
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Or about $15 for a ball valve that you open and close by hand.

I've installed hundreds of those and have yet to have a customer complain that they couldn't turn their water on or off during a power failure, or had the water come on (or go off) just because they lost power for a few hours or a few days.

I can think of much better things to do with the $200 or $300 that you would be saving!!
 
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Old 12-03-09, 07:12 PM
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Lefty (and Shane), I agree but he wants to open and close the valve four times a day every day of the year. I don't know why, maybe he once had a pipe burst or something and is scared to death of this happening again when no one is home.

Sjahan, I don't know of any valve that will stand up to this usage and still last for 50 years.
 
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Old 12-03-09, 07:41 PM
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I have seen the disaster of water leak at my buddy's house. The insurance contractor had to rip and redo two floors and the family was out at an extended stay hotel for a month.

I don't want to walk down the basement. My goal is to have a switch by the door that can be easily used when going out. I will also leave the wet contact alarms that beeps near all the usual places of leak, ie washing machine, refrigerator etc.

So when i am home if it happens, i can quickly turn off water. And the water is turned off when i am not home.

I was looking at the watercop with those remote alarms. I guess I can just get the valve and switch. But it is still around $372 + shipping.

I play pinballs and i have seen the solenoid activated plungers in it - that costs like $15.

So I was thinking may be under $100, I will be able to get the solenoid activated valve.

Thanks

-SJ
 
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Old 12-04-09, 04:41 AM
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I have installed several of the water monitor shut off valves in basement remodels. It does run off 120 vac, and has a sensor you set on the floor. If it detects water, it shuts off the water and keeps it shut off until you reset it. I would prefer one of those to opening and closing a valve several times a day. I believe they are made by the same people who make the Flood Safe water connection hoses. Cost about $85, maybe more, now.
 
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Old 12-04-09, 05:36 AM
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chandler,
do you have a model or the phone / url for those people.

thanks
 
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Old 12-04-09, 01:25 PM
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Old 12-04-09, 03:54 PM
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chandler,
that unit is for the water heater and i don't think it will work with my 1" water main
 
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Old 12-04-09, 04:35 PM
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They make them for 3/4 and 1" lines. Maybe not on that particular page I copied for you, though. Most of the ones I install are after the line enters the house and coverts to 3/4" anyway. I know they say they are for the water heater, but you can use them on the main inlet line as well. On the water heater, it just shuts off the water to the heater, while on the main line it shuts it all down.
 
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Old 12-05-09, 06:20 AM
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Thanks, I will continue my research and keep you updated. I will do the project after Christmas
 
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Old 12-06-09, 12:44 PM
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sjahan22,

I understand your concern about the damage that a water leak can do, but the reality is that you'll have a lot more power failures than you will water leaks of the type you are talking about. Personally, I wouldn't spend the money on an electric valve to control the water main. I would spend the $15 or so on a ball valve and simple get in the habit of turning it off when you leave home. (You would have to get into the habit with a switch that controls an electric valve.)

A solenoid type valve will only stay open or closed as long as there is power to it, depending on which way it is set up. If it needs power to keep it closed, it will open in the event of a power failure. If it needs power to keep it open, it will close in the event of a power failure.

Your call which one of those to choose. If you close the valve when you leave home and have a power failure while you're away, without power the valve will open, defeating the purpose of why you installed it. If you choose the one that needs power to keep it open, you won't have water in the house in the event of a power failure.

The motorized ball valve that Furd mentioned would make more sense. It only needs power to open or close it. It will stay in either position in the event of a power failure.

But the manual ball valve makes the MOST sense. It can be opened or closed whether the power is on or off.
 
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Old 12-06-09, 02:57 PM
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I mostly agree with Lefty only I'll go a bit farther and state that whenever you close the main water valve you really should be cutting power to electric water heaters or turning gas water heaters to the pilot (only) position on the gas valve. If you have no water pressure and something causes a loss of water from the water heater the electric elements will burn out and a gas water heater may utterly destroy itself.

Really, I think the best thing to do is to have an insurance policy that covers full replacement and make sure you keep it in force. Take care of the things that are usually to fault when you have water damage from domestic plumbing. Make sure that all your piping is properly strapped in place. Make sure that you do not experience "water hammer" with your plumbing. Male sure you have properly installed freeze-proof outside hose bibbs or that you turn off the inside valve and drain outside piping before the first freeze of the fall. Don't forget to disconnect any garden hoses from freeze-proof hose bibbs BEFORE freezing weather. If you do not disconnect the hose the water cannot drain and even a freeze-proof faucet WILL freeze solid and break.

Turn off the water to the clothes washer when it is not being used and replace the rubber hoses with ones that have a stainless steel braid. Replace even the SS hoses every seven to ten years if you don't turn the water off between uses.

Don't use plastic tubing to the refrigerator water or ice maker but use the stainless steel braid-covered hoses here also and replace them after seven to ten years. Same with the flexible connections to all sink faucets and dishwashers.

These are the places that cause probably 90% or more of all residential water leaks inside the home.
 
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Old 12-06-09, 05:18 PM
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cabin water shut-off & draining

Other than the purchase of a water-cop (which is still a little steep for me) I would like to have some easy way of shutting off the water to my cabin. We use the cabin from time to time on weekends in winter so I don't to winterize per se but rather to be able to shut off the water without getting under the crawl-space to do it. The line runs close to the outside wall of the crawl space and so I wanted to install a ball valve on the inside with a long (say one foot) stem to the wheel or lever on the outside. I would also install a drain **** on the outside that is connected to the low point of the water line inside the crawl space which can be opened after shutting off the ball valve shut-off so any water in the lines would drain back. The problem is this - I can't seem to find any commercial ball valve that has an extended stem of the type described. Can anyone help. Thanks.
 
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Old 12-06-09, 07:11 PM
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I doubt that you will find such a valve, either. What you need is called a "reach rod" and they are almost always custom made. You start with a flat piece of metal about twice the length of the ball valve's handle. You can then weld a piece of rod or small diameter pipe to the center of this flat metal and drill two holes on one side along with matching holes in the valve's handle. Cut the rod to the proper length and fabricate a handle for the outboard end. Bolt the thing to the valve handle and provide whatever support is necessary to the outboard end.

Several variations are acceptable, in fact, whatever works without adding any stress to the valve is fine. You can also do away with the original handle by drilling a small hole in the flat metal and use a small file to make the hole the proper sized rectangular hole for the valve.

Some ball valves come with short "butterfly" handles that extend on either side of the stem. You can easily make a yoke that will fasten to both sides of the butterfly with these valves.
 
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Old 12-10-09, 07:04 AM
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Gentlemen:

I found an industrial solenoid valve through a friend.

I draw a small sketch on how this is going to be implemented. Please view the link below

The picture has two sections - on the left hand side titled 'Solenoid Valve Addition'

I planned a manual bypass route when the power goes out and valve closes. Valve is normally Open when the power is present.

Question 1: The solenoid valve is 1" but with a 3/4" bore inside. Is it going to have any major impact on the water flow/pressure inside ?

http://www.ausmovers.com/diyproj.jpg

Question 2: Furd mentioned
>>> If you have no water pressure and something causes a loss of water from the water heater the electric elements will burn out and a gas water heater may utterly destroy itself
 
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Old 12-10-09, 02:40 PM
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sjahan22,

You're kidding, right??

You are going to spend the $$ to install a solenoid valve (several hundred $$) so that all you have to do is fliip a switch to shut your water supply off or turn it on, and then spend another $20 or so to install a manual bypass to the system.

Why not just spend the $20 or so on the ball valve, FORGET THE SOLENOID VALVE ALL TOGETHER, and be over it??
 
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Old 12-10-09, 03:10 PM
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lefty,
I will spend around $350 including - to get a system, where I can turn my water mains off by switch when I leave the house [without going into the basement] and turn it back on when i get back [again without going into the basement]. The solenoid valve is rated 100,000 cycles - which means that it won't fail for at least 50 years. I think it is a good investment
 
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Old 12-10-09, 03:35 PM
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Since it appears that you have power vents on the water heaters you could re-wire the circuit supplying them (or a new circuit) to the switch you are planning to use for the solenoid valve. This way when you turn off the power to the solenoid valve you will also cut the power to the water heaters and without power they will not fire.

Just for the record, I agree with Lefty that this is really overkill and probably more of a chance of something going wrong, albeit not flooding the house, than just being proactive about the few flexible connections in the house. But, it's your money and your work. Good luck.
 
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