Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Barbara Staib, President of Safe Home Products, is an expert on child safety, emergency preparedness, pet training and even pest control. She has personally helped thousands of customers since SHP started in 1999. Here you can find Q&A with Barbara to foster safer, healthier and simpler living.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Choosing Between a WaterCop or a FloodStop for Protection Against Water Damage

Question: about the WaterCop and the Flood Stop

Q:"Does Safe Home Products have an opinion as to the comparison between Water Cop and Flood Stop? I've read the product guides and understand the product's features. Which is more reliable or has the best track record? Thanks, David S"

Answer: Your decision needs to be made upon these factors:

1. What do you want to protect? A single appliance or several appliances? Floodstop makes single water appliance units for water heaters, washing machines, sinks, icemakers, etc.
2. What do you want to spend? A Floodstop unit currently sells for well under $200. Most sizes of the package of a WaterCop valve, actuator and 3 moisture sensors sells for under $550 at this time.
3. Are you hiring a plumber or are you doing the installation yourself? Many do-it-yourself persons can install the WaterCop themselves.
4. Have you a need to shut off all the water in your home with a single push of a button or remote wall switch? Remember that if a WaterHound moisture sensor alarm is activated, you will know by two ways, no water anywhere within that zone and a 65 decibel alarm.

Operational problems are extremely rare with either device. If you do not activate either devices at least every 30 days, you may have problems with the ball valve turning easily depending upon what kinds of minerals you have in your water.

If you have only one appliance to protect and it is, for example, a washing machine, the Floodstop is easily installed without the expense of a plumber. If you want to protect several appliances (as I did), the plumber is well worth the expense as is the additional cost for a WaterCop as the basic system comes with the valve, the actuator and three water/moisture sensors. And you can always add additional sensors to the unit for other appliances. When you add the cost of 3 or 4 Floodstops, you soon can approximate the cost of a single watercop. You can also buy a dual probe moisture sensor for the WaterCop and install it as I had done, under the water dispensing fridge and at the water entry point as well.

On the other hand, in apartment buildings or condos where each unit has its own water heater, installing a Floodstop in the 3/4 inch valve size is quite cost effective as several of our plumber customers who specialize in condo and high rise apartment buildings have concluded. And if your main worry is your washing machine, installing one of the two Floodstop units the standard AM-FS34H-90 or the INLINE Washing Machine FloodStop FS3/4H is all you may need.
Add a pair of Floodchek washing machine hoses and you are as safe as a person with a washing machine can be.

The Watercop is made by one of the nation's oldest and most respected ball valve manufacturers (USA Made). These brass ball valves are used in industrial applications. The Watercop is a recent (past 6 or 8 years) products.

The Floodstop is made in China or a similar place. The ball valve is high quality but made to commercial standards like those made by Dynaquip whose ball valves are used primarily in applications with chemicals.

I hope this helped to answer your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Remote Switches and Back-Up Power for a WaterCop Automatic Water Valve Alarm Shut-Off System

Question about the product Product Code:WaterCop 3/4 Inch Electric Ball Valve, 3 Flood Sensors WVA-075.

Q: "Can more than one remote switch be installed to turn each Water Cop valve on and off. If there is a power failure does it remain in the on position if that is how it was set or is it able to shut off in the event of power failure? " Thanks. Don Smith

Answer: With a splitter, each WaterCop can be controlled with up to two remote wall switches. If the power fails, the WaterCop remains in the operating position at the time the power failed.

Your options are to remove the actuator and use a wrench to turn the valve on or off.

Or you can install a UPS battery back-up unit. The manufacturer recommends the APC Model BE500R or its equivalent. That unit provides between 50 and 72 hours of power to the WaterCop with sufficient power to turn the valve once at the completion of your test.

If you plan to use a back-up power supply, use only batteries in the moisture sensor units (Water Hounds) as the sensors send a radio signal to the WaterCop actuator. Batteries typically last at least one year.

The manufacturer recommends that the Water Cop be activated at least once per month, i.e. press the red button to turn off the water and the green button to turn the water back on. That way you are sure the valve moves easily when you need it to open or close.

Thank you for your question. I've had a WaterCop for over 7 years. Other than turning off and on the water for the plumber when he installed new faucets (and a shut off for my bathtub), I've never needed its protection, only its convenience! I have sensors under my water dispensing/ice making fridge, my dishwasher and sink and next to the washer, hot water heater, main sewer drain, water softener and A/C drain. I sleep quite well every night.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Attaching Rupture Proof FloodChek Washing Machine Hoses

Question about using the FloodChek Washing Machine Hoses and the Product Code: =SM-FC-Gooseneck2. Gooseneck Connectors.

Q: "My washing machine sits fairly close to the wall. I'm concerned that the Floodcheck washing machine hoses are too stiff to install correctly. Can I attach these gooseneck connectors to the back of the machine so that the hoses do not stick straight out, and then attach the hoses to the free end?" Thank you. Howard.

Answer: Yes, the purpose of the goosenecks to provide an angle so the hoses do not stick straight out. We recommend the gooseneck connectors when space is tight for installation. Some customers must install two sets, one on the water supply pipes and one on the washer, to be able to use these rupture proof hoses.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Protecting Town Buildings from Water Damage Using Water Cop Water Alarms

Question about WaterCop water leak alarms.

Q: " I have a request to supply the town of ____ police, town hall and library a water leak alarm in three separate buildings within a 1000 ft. area. Is your radio-link capable of sending a relay output to an alarm monitor?" Thanks. Gilbert.

Answer: Yes, the WaterCop system has that capability. There are many questions that need to be answered before I can make recommendations. In our discussion by phone, you mentioned that the buildings are essentially closed each week-end and that the water leaked all week-end in the basement of one of the buildings.

Questions about the buildings and what the town wants:
  1. Dimensions, number of stories, type of construction
  2. Number and location of all water using appliances like toilets, sinks, water heaters, etc.
  3. Diameter of incoming water pipes to all three buildings.
  4. Does the town want to isolate certain areas of the building or buildings? For example, does the town want to shut off water to all but parts of the police station during night and week-end hours. Is there a humidifier that must run 24/7 in the winter? Note: Watercops and sensor codes can be set at the factory so that a water leak in one part of the building will not shut a water valve on a WaterCop in a different part of the building.
The largest non-commercial sized WaterCop available is one with a 1.25 inch pipe capacity. There are also 1 inch, 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch sizes available. Each WaterCop has a built-in I/O port with an RJ45 connection for a security system or other similar notification device like a Sensaphone unit. Water leak sensors can be used with batteries or with AC adapters. For optimal protection, a waterhound moisture sensor needs to be next to each water using appliance. For back-up drain protection, you can install units next to drains as well.

There is a signal repeater available that can increase range of the signal up to 200 feet farther. I checked with the manufacturer who suggests that you first install the WaterCop before adding repeaters as you may not need them.

Also remote water shut offs can be installed so that water could be shut off as part of the shut down and security system setting each time the building is closed down for the day.

If you need help with installation, there is technical assistance available. Please let me know the answers to the questions above so I can make more specific recommendations to your town.

Thanks for your questions.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Friday, August 22, 2008

I Need to Know When the Power Goes Out at Home

Question about home power monitors.

Q: "I winter in Arizona. My home in Oregon is in the country at the end of the power grid. I leave the furnace set at 55 degrees while I am gone those 4 months. My neighbor keeps an eye on the house. But a storm or fallen tree can knock out my power and leave his power still on. I don't want my pipes to freeze or my home damaged. What do you sell that can alert him and me that the power is out at my house?"

Answer: We currently sell two brands of remote monitors. Neither require paying a monthly monitoring service fee. These are the Sensaphone and the Microtechnologies brands.

The Sensaphone 400 , once known as the Sensaphone "cottage sitter", lets you program in 4 phone numbers, add additional sensors, control your thermostat remotely, and has a 24 hour battery backup using C cells. Two other units are less expensive choices that would to meet your needs are the Homeguard and the TemperatureGuard monitors. What you are looking for is a monitor that can dial out an alert that the power is off and give you the temperature in your house as well.

The standard Homeguard and TemperatureGuard units have a built-in 4 hour battery back-up that activates when the power goes out. We've learned over the years that getting the insurance of a Temperature Guard with 20 hour battery back up or one with a 30 hour battery back-up has its advantages, primarily that the units will have extended battery so that if you turn off your phone at night (or your neighbor does), there will be enough battery left to continue dialing out until you wake up or turn on your phone or phones.

The Homeguard can dial up to 4 phone numbers. It also comes with a 20 hour or 30 hour battery back-up . The Homeguard alert is set at below 45 degrees F or power off for 5 minutes or more. The TemperatureGuard can also send messages to pagers as well as dial up to 4 phone numbers. The TemperatureGuard lets you choose both an upper and a lower limit (for summer and for winter) as well. Of course you can call into either unit at any time to get the power status (on or off) and the temperature. Both units and their brothers and sisters need a land phone line and electricity to work. Programming is easily done with a telephone.

Please read the instruction manuals on our website for more information or contact us.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Can I Locate the Flood Stop Controller Remotely?

Question about the FloodStop 3/4 in Valve Water Heater Shutoff COMPRESSION
Product Code: : FS-3/4-C


Q: "It looks like your system has a control box with buttons. Can I turn the system off or on with this controller placed remote from the shutoff valve? I would like to be able to turn the whole water supply off when I am away." Thanks, Kevin

Answer: Yes, you can turn the system on and off remotely. However, you cannot place the controller itself remotely from the shut-off valve. The moisture sensor is connected to the controller so remotely positioning the controller won't work.

The FloodStop Controller indeed has three buttons, mute, close valve and open valve.
The outputs are normally closed. You can use contacts for any device that can utilize them, like auto phone dialers, alarm systems, X10 home automations devices., etc. There is a 4-pin connection to valve/sensor connector.

We do sell a whole house or zoned water shut off valve called the WaterCop which has a remote shut-off available that must be wired to the WaterCop unit with Cat 5 cable. This is a more expensive unit that uses individual moisture sensors that radio to the unit to shut the water valve when moisture is detected on the sensor (the circuit is closed by water between the two prongs of the sensor).

Please contact us if you have more questions.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Shutting Off the Flood Stop for Water Heaters Remotely

Question about the product:
FloodStop 3/4 in Valve Water Heater Shutoff COMPRESSION Product Code: : FS-3/4-C .

Q: "It looks like your system has a control box with buttons. Can I turn the system off or on with this controller placed remote from the shutoff valve? I would like to be able to turn the whole water supply off when I am away." -Kevin

Answer: The FloodStop controller must be placed near the hot water heater. The only extension wires available are for the AC adapter.

Yes, you can turn the system on and off remotely. The FloodStop Controller indeed has three buttons, mute, close valve and open valve.The outputs are normally closed. You can use contacts for any device that can utilize them, like auto phone dialers, alarm systems, X10 home automations devices., etc. There is a 4-pin connection to valve/sensor connector.

We do sell a whole house water shut off device, the WaterCop , that has a remote shut-off option. That unit is installed on the main water valve into the house. Water sensors are placed under or near appliances such as water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers, water dispensing or ice making refrigerators, etc. The remote shut off can be placed anywhere you please as long as it can be connected to the Watercop controller with Cat 5 cable.

Please contact us if you need more information. The manuals for these products are on our website.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Using Washing Machine FloodStop with Rear Mounted Water Valves

Question about the product: Washing Machine FloodStop FS3/4H-90.

Q:"Please tell me how many inches it is from the valve connector to the inside 90 of the device. Please send diagram with measurements if possible. Our valves are located in the back of the box and I have concerns if the valves will protrude past the front cover, plus I want to install water arrestors. Thanks, Jim."

Answer: We checked with the manufacturer's rep as this was beyond our expertise. Bob's response: "I have no diagram available for him, but understand his question.

The distance from the inlet end of the valve where the spinning female threaded collar is to the inside edge of the 90 degree downward outlet end of the valve is 2 9/16 inches (slightly over 2.5 inches). The FloodStop 3/4-H90 was specifically designed for wall box type installations. Numerous wall boxes were evaluated to determine the valve design so it would fit all brands. I cannot remember when someone returned a FloodStop 3/4-H90 because the outlet end of the FS valves did not protrude past the front cover of the wall box. Typically installing water arrestors increases the extension of the FS valves out from the hot and cold water hose-bibs."

FYI: The FloodStop is a dual valved water damage control device that turns off water to a washer machine when the water sensor (placed usually under the machine) senses moisture. The newest model utilizes AC power with a battery backup and has twin ball valves that shut off the water.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Can I Buy 3 FloodChek Washer Hoses?

Question about Floodchek Washer Hoses ?

Question: "Can I order Three Floodchek washer hoses (that is a pair and a half?) I have a dryer that uses steam (cold water connection) so need one extra hose. Thanks. BA"

Answer: Unfortunately, the Floodchek hoses are sold only in pairs. You would have to purchase two pairs of hoses and then either discard one or keep it as a spare. This extra hose would work well to connect to a dehumidifier or to do that necessary annual drain of your hot water heater to get rid of the sediment.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Stand Alone Water Alarm Comparisons

Question about Water Alarms.

Q:"What kind of stand alone water alarms do you sell?" Thanks. Lee

Answer: Safe Home Products sells three different water alarms that are stand alone.

1. The Flood Detective: The only water alarm that features AC operation with battery back-up. 92 dB alarm. The water sensors detect water at a depth of 1/32", are wafer thin for use under carpets or small spaces and have adhesive strips to keep sensors firmly in place. Flood Detective's fail-safe technology informs you of A/C power loss or low battery levels. 8 foot cord on each sensor. Daisy chain additional water sensors to expand coverage of a single Flood Detective water alarm unit. Multi-sensor Capable: one water alarm can monitor multiple sensors. (Maximum of 5 is recommended for easier location of water leaks.) 7 year warranty.


2.The Gizmode Water Alarm : This is a battery only water alarm with a very loud alarm: Sounds at 110+ db for up to 72 hours. Construction: Sturdy ABS plastic outer shell with 4 stainless steel sensors. Powered by a single 9 volt battery (not included) Low battery warning. Tip resistant. Moisture Sensors: Sensitive to low moisture levels. Standing water not required. Stainless steel sensors: Will not corrode nor stain. Sensor contacts sink deep into carpet, thus detecting the first signs of moisture below the carpet's surface. Size: 3" Diameter x 3" Tall. Takes up minimal space. Optional Sump Pump or Water Overflow Attachment. (Sold Separately). 1 year warranty.


3. The WaterHound moistures sensors: These are battery only or AC only (with adapters that are not included.) Each moisture sensor unit has a 65 dB alarm and a six foot sensor cord. Two versions are available, one with a single probe and one with two probes each on its own 6 foot sensor wire. Use as a stand alone or with the WaterCop which is a motorized ball valve that responds to radio signals from the Waterhound and shuts off the main water valve when signaled in the event of a moisture sensor alert. 1 year limited manufacturer's warranty.


So, if your concern is a window well, the better choice is the Gizmode Water Alarm. If you are concerned about water seeping in under a carpet, the Flood Detective would be least obtrusive. However the Gizmode would work as well. For use under a water dispensing refrigerator, the Flood Detective or the WaterHound are better choices since they do not require much room.


If you have additional questions, please contact us. We do offer discounts on purchases of quantities of any of these units.


Sincerely,

Barbara

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Monitoring Water Leaks in a Basement Window Well

Q: " I need to monitor water leaks into a basement window well in a home in Illinois. Can I place the Flood Detective Stand Alone Water Alarm and additional sensors on the window shelf if the shelf is metal? And can I mount the water alarm and additional sensors on the concrete wall below the window? Also how long is the power cord? Thanks for the reply. Steve."

Answer: You can use the Flood Detective as your water leak monitor. Do put a piece of cloth, napkin or paper towel under the sensor or you will get false alarms due to the metal in the detector getting cold or the metal "sweating."

The sensors for this moisture detector "train" together, sensor to sensor, like a daisy chain. Each Flood Detective water sensor has an eight foot (2.44 meters) long flexible, low-impedance corrosion-resistant wire with a two-prong jack on one end. The jack plugs into the sensor plate receptacle. This water sensor design allows multiple sensors to be daisy-chained to a single alarm unit so you can easily place sensors where you need them for flood warnings.

In theory, there is no limit to the number of sensors that can be daisy-chained to a Flood Detective alarm unit. Five water alert sensors per alarm seems optimal in determining which sensor activated due to a water leak. Each sensor cord is 8 feet long and the adapter cord is 6 feet long. These water sensors detect water at a depth of 1/32", are wafer thin for use under carpets or small spaces and have adhesive strips to keep sensors firmly in place.

For your purpose, using the AC adapter is the best choice unless you use metal wound batteries as all batteries become less efficient or freeze in cold environments.

If you have more questions, please contact us.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Friday, February 15, 2008

What does the Sergeant mean for the WaterCop?

Q: What does the word "SERGEANT" in the description refer to for the WaterCop 3/4 inch 3 Water Hounds (Sergeant) model as compared to the others (WaterCop products) you show that don't have this term?

Answer: In about 2005, DynaQuip, the manufacturer of the WaterCop device, set up packaged combinations of WaterCop valves, motorized actuators, moisture sensors, remote shut-off device, freeze alarm, etc. for its resellers. DynaQuip designated the units in military terms such as Sergeant, Lieutenant, etc.

Safe Home Products began selling WaterCops many years before these "packages" were put together. Since other on-line resellers frequently refer to the WaterCops with 3 WaterHounds as Sergeant packages, we added the Sergeant to our title. Our pricing for components is quite competitive. Since we stock the separate components in our Iowa warehouse, we decided not to purchase the other combinations pre-packaged but let our customers decide how many and what additional components to purchase.

For those of you unfamiliar with the WaterCop device, this is a whole house or zoned water shut off full port ball valve with actuator that responds to radio signals from moisture sensors (WaterHounds) or freeze alert sensors (FreezeHounds). Water is shut off almost instantly when sensors are activated plus an alarm sounds at that sensor. The sensors can be AC powered or battery powered. The moisture sensors come with a single probe or two probes connected to one radio device. The sensors are installed under water dispensing refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters, washing machines, etc.

Thanks again for your question. Please contact us if you need more information.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Water temperature limit of a FloodStop 1.25 inch valve

Question about the FloodStop Water Heater 1.25 Inch Ball Valve NPT
Q: "What is the temperature range of the fluid this product can handle i.e., can it be used on a hot water line?"

Answer: Yes. All the FloodStop valves can be used on residential hot water applications. Safe Home Products sells several dual-valve FloodStop models for washing machines and sinks: one of the 2 valves in each kit will be installed on the hot water supply line. The temperature range is limited to what a typical residential water heater can reach, i.e 160 degrees F. Like any valve, the FloodStop valves should not be subjected to freezing temperatures.

I’m curious about your application for the FS 1.25-NPT, as this unit is typically used for water heaters where the valve is placed on the inlet (cold) water supply. If you plan to use it on a water heater, you may not have considered the valve is installed before the water heater (cold water) and not after the water heater (hot water).

Feel free to contact us if you have additional questions.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Operation of a WaterCop Motorized Actuator When the Power Fails

Q regarding a WaterCop Motorized Actuator with 3/4 Inch Valve (SM-WVA-075): "I would like to use the WaterCop to shut off water flow to my home when I am going to be away. My plan is to install a remote wall switch near my back door.
  • Should the power fail, what is the un-powered condition of this valve?
  • In other words, does this valve automatically close when the power fails?
  • Or, does the valve stay in whatever condition it was in when the power failed? Thank you"
Answer: The 3/4 inch brass ball valve remains in the same position (open or closed) as it was in when the power shuts off. So, if the valve was open, it remains open. If the valve is in a closed position, unscrew the actuator (4 screws) and use a wrench to open the water valve. Plug in the actuator when the power is restored and push the green button. Then reinstall the actuator to the valve platform. Remember if you want to use the WaterCop actuator as an automatic water shut off valve that responds to water leaks, you can buy the WaterHound moisture sensors separately. Just make sure the sensors and the actuator have the same "code" set.

Feel free to contact us if you have other questions about our products.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Monday, May 1, 2006

Amount of Bend in Flood Check Hoses?

Question about the Floodchek Hoses

Q: "Hello. I am interested in purchasing a pair of your Flood Check Hoses but have a question regarding their attachment. My washer will be situated no more than 5 inches from the rear wall with the water supply to the right of the washer (same rear wall). Will these hoses attach and bend sufficiently to clear the wall behind my washer without affecting their performance? If not 5 inches, how much space would you recommend in order to attach these hoses to my washer? In case it matters, the machine is a Kenmore Elite HE3T. Thanks."

Answer: You need about 7 inches for the bend. We sell brass e goose neck adapters that reduce clearance to 3.5 or 4 inches.

Thanks for the question.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Thursday, December 9, 2004

Insurance Discounts for Water Cop Emergency Water Shut-Off Systems

Question about the SM-WCA-100 WaterCop 1 Inch Auto. Water Valve - 3 Water Hounds

Q: "Dear sirs: In your web page, you state that some insurance companies offer discounts for homes protected by water cop. Can you tell me what companies offer these discounts and how much discount they offer? Thank you very much, Jim"

Answer: Discounts depend upon the insurance company and the state. We don't have a list. I suggest you contact your insurance agent major companies in your state and ask them if they offer discounts for emergency water shut-off systems or burglar system enhancements such as the WaterCop system.

We do know that a 24 unit apartment condominium in Rhode Island faced steep increases in premiums after two separate significant water damage claims within 6 months. The condo association installed Water Cops on both the incoming hot water line and the incoming cold water line in each unit. They also installed Water Hound moisture sensors with AC power near all sinks, toilets, water heaters, dishwashers and water dispensing refrigerators. Their insurance rates decreased an immediate 10%. The reason I know is that I sold them the units. For a large complex, we order all sensors in each unit to match the Watercops in that unit. That way if one apartment has a water leak, the water supply is not shut off to neighboring units, which would occur if the codes were all the same.

Thank you for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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