Reuben's Home Inspection Blog

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Floodsafe® Hoses: Not That Great

In last week's blog post about washing machine connectors, I mentioned that I'm not a big fan of the FloodSafe® washing machine connectors.  These are special flexible water supply connectors, aka 'hoses', with a mechanism that will completely shut off the flow of water if the hose bursts.  These connectors are made for faucets, toilets, ice makers, dishwashers, and washing machines, and can be identified by an extra length of metal at the hose inlet.

Floodsafe hose

While this is a neat product, I've learned that these connectors don't work properly in a lot of situations - especially when used with washing machines.  The problem is that for the safety valve to work properly, it requires a sudden increase in water flow.  When a standard washing machine hose has water flowing through it, there wouldn't be much of an increase in water flow if the hose suddenly burst.  So how did they get around this?  They created a huge restriction in water flow at the outlet of the hose.  The photo below shows a close-up of the flow restrictor.

Flow Restrictor

Without this flow restrictor, the valve won't work properly; it says so right on the packaging.

Warning label

I did some playing around with one of these connectors, and I can pretty much guarantee that removing this flow restrictor on a washing machine hose will make it so no water will come out at all.  For a quick example of how these devices work, check out the video below.  I slowly opened my faucet to increase the water flow.  Once the water flow increased enough to dislodge the flow restrictor, the FloodSafe® device immediately shut off the flow of water.

The problem is the restriction in water flow.  To determine how much of a difference the flow restrictor made, I compared the water flow to a standard washing machine hose.

Floodsafe flow test

I got about 10 gallons per minute with a standard washing machine connector attached to the end of my garden hose, but the FloodSafe® connector only gave me about 1.3 gallons per minute.  Pretty pathetic, huh?  To take a line from Sweet Brown, ain't nobody got time for that.

Assuming a standard washing machine uses 40 gallons of water for a large load, this restriction in flow means the washing machine might take an extra half hour with each load of laundry.  To make matters worse, newer washing machines have built-in timers, which prevents the water from flowing for too long, in an effort to help prevent major water damage in case there was an internal leak in the washing machine.

Another problem with these connectors is that the fast-acting solenoid valves in a washing machine can create such a sudden increase in water flow that the safety valve treats this as a leak, and shuts off the water.  Connecticut home inspector James Quarello also mentioned to me that he had problems using one of these connectors on his toilet - he eventually had to remove it because it kept shuting off the water supply.  I've heard that one way to get around this is to throttle the valve half closed, but now you're talking about some ridiculously low water flow.

The bottom line is that FloodSafe® connectors are a great idea, but they still have some serious... restrictions.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections

        

Comment balloon 14 commentsReuben Saltzman • July 31 2012 03:17AM

Comments

I task my rental residents to make sure they check their washer connections * both of them * when they change their HVAC filters and batteries for their smoke alarms!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 6 years ago

Good morning Reuben. Just what everyone wanted, another way to slow the washer from filling to quick? lol. You would think bursting hoses would be that huge of an issue. Have a great day.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 6 years ago

Good morning Reuben,

Wow..I'm sure consumers don't want to take forever to do a loan of laundry! Especially with those with 3 kids!! Great information as usual. Suggested.

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 6 years ago

Wallace - good policy.

Randy - good morning!  I sure don't need mine taking any longer... I do all of my laundry back to back, so this would really cramp my style.

Dorie - thanks! 

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Great stuff Reubs, suggested as usual.  As I was reading the post, I was going to mention my toilet's problems with one of these valves, but see that Jim precluded that need.

So I won't mention my toilet having had the problems you demonstrate.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay - in that case, I won't point out that you just did :-p

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Good evening Reuben.  I did not know that there were such a thing as "flood-safe", believing that the metal braided were the preferred hose.  thanks for the info.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Reuben, I was wondering about that principle. When you mentioned it in the other post I started thinking about how the system would have to be set up to get it to work properly. Nice idea but no thanks.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Hi,

I have a hose that the plumber told me was the kind they use in laundromats - the brand is FloodChek - any thoughts on that brand?

Posted by Kathleen M. Feeney, Mt. Kisco Real Estate - EcoBroker (Cafe Realty) over 6 years ago

I haven't come across this product up here. The idea sounds great but doesn't seem practical in application. Where neighbouring apartment or condo properties are a factor, it is likely a safer bet to set up a drained collector pan under the washing maching. It'll catch the majority of any spills unless you are really unlucky about where the hose bursts.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 6 years ago

Chris - those floodsafe hoses aren't all that great.

Donald- you had mentioned the floodchek hoses... someone at that company sent me a really long email with some interesting info on hoses.  Their take is that the stainless steel hoses aren't all that great, and that their hoses are far superior.  No surprise... but at the same time, I was inclined to believe him.  He had some great points.  I'm trying to get him to write a guest blog post for me.

Kathy - see my note to Donald above.  I'm starting to think those Floodchek hoses might be the best way to go.

Robert - even better yet is when the drain pans are installed with a drain tube leading to a floor drain in the basement.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Right Reuben, that's what I meant by 'drained collector pan".

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 6 years ago

There's definitely a great deal to find out about this subject. spotify apk I like all the points you made.

Posted by ethan scott (JIN) about 1 year ago

The next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not fail me just as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, nonetheless I actually believed you would probably have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something you could fix if you were not too busy looking for attention. well, anyway leave it try to make good stuff. You can contact me via iMessage For PC.

Posted by Michael Brennan, Tech Blogger (CMD) 11 months ago

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