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Sunday
Nov202011

Floodstop - Washing Machine


Have you ever experienced a flood in your home due to a faulty water supply line to your washing machine?  The amount of devastation and damage can be well into the many thousands of dollars not to mention the time and inconvenience cleaning up the aftermath. Fortunately there are several detections systems on the market that can help prevent these type of catastrophes. 

Unfortunately, I was not able to find a unit that met *all* my needs and concerns.  So I found the next best thing .. a device with IO ports.  The Floodstop Washing Machine Valve Shutoff Kit provides auxiliary IO (input-output) ports that enables you to extend the device's capabilities thru custom integration.

The Floodstop unit itself does provide a water sensor pad, a control unit, and the hot & cold water shut-off valves.  It is designed to shut-off the water supply in the event that water is detected on the sensor pad which typically would be located on the floor behind the washing machine.  You can also purchase additional sensors and daily chain them if you want to detect water in multiple locations.  The Floodstop unit has worked really well for me and has passed nearly two years worth of testing in my home.  The control unit seems to be built cheaply which is a downside, but it has worked flawlessly so I really can't complain too much.  

Ok, so why is the design of the Floodstop no enough?  Well if the supply lines are compromised, then you should be covered, but if the drainage line becomes disconnected, stopped up, or fails, then the Floodstop will shut off the water supply, but if your machine is running a cycle, it can pump the entire water contents of the tub out on your floor.  (This very thing happened to a neighbor of mine.)

Here is where we really get started with this project.

I wanted to kill the power to the washing machine to (a) prevent it pumping water out if the drainage line is compromised and (b) prevent the washing machine from trying to run a cycle if the water supply has been cut off by the Floodstop to prevent any damage to the washing machine.  Since the Floodstop provides both a NO (normally-open) and NC (normally-closed) contact leads, all I needed was to find a power controller that could be controlled via contact closure.  

Enter the Furman MP-20 Power Relay Accessory.  This is an industrial quality power controller and can handle electrical loads up to 20 amps. (Please see the addendum to this article at the bottom of the page for 15 amp circuits using the Furman MP-15)  Perfect for my washing machine.  Unfortunately the Furman it is a little pricey; however, I was able to pick up a slightly used unit on eBay at a very reasonble price.  A second important feature of the Furman MP-20 is that it includes a low voltage (12 VDC) power supply built into the unit itself --- so no additional ugly and bulky wall warts to supply power for this low-voltage circuit.  

Locate the NO (normally-open) IO contacts on the Floodstop control unit. Please note that the instruction manual and diagram that came with the unit were wrong (at the time of this writing).  I used a continuity tester to verify which port was which.  When the Floodstop unit is running normally the NO contacts provide an open circuit and when water is detected and the Floodstop sounds its alarm and closes the water valves, it will also close the NO contacts thus allowing the completion of our trigger circuit.  

 

On the Furman locate PIN 1 (+12 VDC) and PIN 3 (REM).  These are the two pins that we will use with the Floodstop to control power to the outlet.  When a circuit is completed between PIN 1 (+12 VDC) and PIN 3 (REM) the Furman will turn the power to the outlet off. 

So all we need to do is wire the Floodstop NO (normally-open) pins to the Furman on PIN 1 (+12 VDC) and PIN 3 (REM).  Thus when water is detected the Floodstop will close the NO circuit allowing the +12 VDC a complete circuit to the Furman's REM (remote) pin and subsequently will shut off the power.  The diagram below shows the wiring connection.  By the way, good news, the Floodstop does come with two short wires and connectors to interface to the Floodstop IO ports.  We only need to use one of them. 

Now the setup is complete by installing all the equipment and plugging in the washing machine to the Furman outlet.  The picture below is my complete installed system.

A few final words of caution.  A few reviews for the Floodstop on Amazon report that the Floodstop unit quits working over a period of time and has failed to protect a few customers.  I personally have not encountered any failures in the almost two years that I have had it installed.  Just a few drops of water on the sensor pad and the Floodstop will come to life sound its alarm and shut-off both hot and cold water valves.  I do perform routine tests of the system to ensure it continues to function properly and I would recommend that if you install a system like this that you do the same.  It only take about two minutes to test it out.

When you install the Furman or other power controller, please don't leave it on the floor. Make sure to install it on the wall or at least place it on a shelf or somewhere where it would not be exposed to water in the event of a failure. 

The Floodstop unit can be battery powered or plugged into the wall.  Please plug it in and use the batteries as a back-up only.  This whole system is vulnerable if it relies on being battery powered only. 

There are alternatives to the Furman and you may be able to find a more economical option.  I have seen an article where a similar setup was built using a X10 power controller.  While I'm sure this will work just fine, I am reluctant to build a protection system that relies on either a wireless or powerline signal such as X10.  Perhaps that is just me being over protective, but why take the chance? 

Thank you and feel free to provide any comments questions and success stories.

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References (5)

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Reader Comments (40)

Hi- I've installed the Floodstop system for my washer.
I can get the Furman MP-20Q for half the price of the MP-20. Do you know if I can use the MP-20Q with the Floodstop system? Thx-Jack

October 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJackW

First, thank you for this informative website. I have purchased a Furman CN 20MP (new model). I see where to make the connection on the Furman but the new style Floodstop unit has a two pin male connector at the lower right corner of the FS unit for the Furman connection. There is no mention of this connector in the FS materials nor is a female connector included.

Where can I get a female connector to match the FS male connector?

I assume that with the correct female connector I simply make up a two wire bundle to connect to the Furman.

Thanks in advance!

Rob

January 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRob James

I got the Floodstop Washing Machine kit (right angle valve version) from Amazon. It looks like they have updated the controller (the new one uses 4 AAs) but it still has one (undocumented) auxiliary control output. My unit shipped with two 6" long cable assemblies with one end terminated in a matching connector for that aux output.

I did a cursory check by turning the Floodstop unit on/off but the aux output was always open-circuit. However once I actually simulated water detection, the auxiliary wire pair was shorted. So in summary, the newer Floodstop unit gives you a single Normally Open (NO) auxiliary output wire pair, which closes when there is an actual alarm.

Note: this output is Galvanically isolated from everything else. Inside the Floodstop unit there is a sinelg-form-C relay, with the NO contacts wired to the aux connector. The relay in mine is made by Chonyo...the Chinese datasheet is at:
http://www.zyrelay.com/imageRepository/ZBM.pdf.
I think the relay will switch 24VDC at 3A, 120VAC at 3A (pure resistive) or 1A (inductive), which is pretty useful on its own.

Note also: While there is only one auxiliary connector on the (new) Floodstop, the internal relay is a form-C so you could do some cuts/jumps to the internal PCBA to use the NC contact instead for the aux connector function. The PCB appears to be double sided, so everything is easy to get at.

Cheers,
Arthur

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArthur Russell

Thank you for the very valuable instructions.

It seems that the new version of floodstop washing machine has only one set (with two pins) of IO contact at bottom; I presume it is "Normally Open" IO contact???

Also, my Onsite Pro Floodstop washing machine package did not come with any wires+connectors to connect the floodstop to the Furman CN-15MP ports.

Do you know the name of such wires so that I search for them online?
very much
Thank you

October 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSam

@Sam,

I am not familiar with the new model; however, you can contact Scott via email at floodstop@gmail.com to ask how to obtain the wiring leads. I did see a video on YouTube where Scott does say that the two pin connector on the newer model (v4) is a NO (Normally Open) circuit that supports up to 24V. http://youtu.be/6dJB_YNsk10

Thanks, Robert

October 2, 2014 | Registered CommenterRobert Savage

We are about to put in a new washer and dryer in our upstairs laundry room. I'd like to install the same set up you have here. Great, great, easy to follow post, by the way! I've searched for the Furman MP-20 but it appears that it is not available. Furman now has a MP-20Q, but it doesn't have the same connections. Do you have any suggestions on this one?

Thanks!

Chris

October 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

@Chris,

Please see this follow up article on alternatives;
http://www.savagehomeautomation.com/projects/floodstop-alternatives-to-furman-mp-20-mp-15.html

The MP-20Q is more of an in-wall unit. It will work, but you have to provide some external low-voltage power supply to connect between the floodstop and the furman MP-20Q. So some added cost and extra fiddle factor.

There is a Furman CN MP-15 on eBay right now for around $130US. If I were installing a new system, this is the unit I would use. The MP-20 requires a 20-AMP plug/socket whereas the MP-15 will plug into any standard US wall socket. Most modern washing machines do not require 20 amps anyways. So this will be an easier install.


Good Luck!
Robert

October 31, 2014 | Registered CommenterRobert Savage

Robert,
I wish I read the last comment on MP-15Q or MP-20Q. I did not and went ahead and purchased MP-15Q. As mentioned, it doesn't have a power supply to complete the circuit between FloodStop and Furman controller. I would like to clarify. If I could provide the power supply (it wants 8-15 VDC transformer), the set up would become very similar to the one you outlined in your POWERSWITCH TAIL II article @ http://www.savagehomeautomation.com/projects/floodstop-alternatives-to-furman-mp-20-mp-15.html


would you be able to confirm this? thanks
(transformer -12VDC) to Negative terminal on Furman
(transformer +12VDC) to NC#1 on FloodStop
NC#2 on FloodStop to Positive terminal on Furman

thanks

March 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVitaliy

I purchased both units and have them wired like you said but there is no power from the flood stop to make the furman active. Any ideas?

October 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

There just isn't any power coming from the Floodstop to power the MP20Q. I can activate it with a 9 volt battery but nothing on the floodstop will power it up. Any ideas?

October 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

@Vitalia

I'm sure you have already completed you project by now, but just in case it helps other, yes you would need to add the additional 8-12 VDC power supply. The wiring connections you listed should work.

@David

The power does not originate from the Floodstop. The DC power in my project was provided by the older Furman units; however, it looks like the newer "Q" series of Furmans do not provide DC power. So you will unfortunately have to add a separate 8-12VDC power supply to power the circuit. Or maybe tap into the power supply feed that is powering the Floodstop if it uses an 8-12VDC power supply. (I don't have one handy to verify right now.) There is an example using a external power supply here: http://www.savagehomeautomation.com/projects/floodstop-alternatives-to-furman-mp-20-mp-15.html

Thanks, Robert

October 17, 2015 | Registered CommenterRobert Savage

Hi,
Any issues in using this to control a 220v/20a well pump circuit with the FloodStop?
PowerSwitch Tail Kit for 200-240vac mains: http://www.powerswitchtail.com/Pages/PowerSwitchTail240vackit.aspx

I saw a disclaimer in the instructions that led me to believe it may be an issue: "The PSTK-240 is not suitable for two pole switching of 220vac mains commonly found in the USA."

I basically want to utilize my FloodStop to cut my well pump power in the event of a flood. The pump is on a 20 breaker and the pump rating is 230v/6a, 1/2 h.p.
Thanks in advance!
Ron

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRon

I have the Flood Stop FS3/4H. How do I hook up the Furman MP20 miniport 2 to shut the power to the washing machine?

June 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Delani

@Anthony Delani

Do you have the newer Floodstop model that only supports a single NC (normally closed) connector? The original Floodstop supported both a NO and NC connector.

Which exact model of Furman do you have. The one in my article has been discontinued. The newer model may have some additional options available for connectivity.

Thanks, Robert

June 16, 2016 | Registered CommenterRobert Savage

I have the newer version flood stop, FS3/4H with the single NC closed port . The Furman model I have is MP 20 miniport 2. If this will not work can you tell what will?

June 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Delani

@Anthony Delani

I'll follow up via email. There are a few options to consider.

Thanks, Robert

June 16, 2016 | Registered CommenterRobert Savage

Hi Robert,

Thanks so much for this great post. I'm unsure about exactly what to purchase for my new home. We have to purchase a new washing machine and it will be on the 2nd floor. I would like to have a setup like the one you have described but am uncertain about exactly what furman to purchase for the new floodstop available. I believe we have a 20 amp single outlet which we can change to a double outlet. Would appreciate any thoughts.

Thanks again.

December 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterVandana

@Vandana,

I have not finished this new site, but I started cataloging different implementations with the latest Floodstop.

The Furman MP-15/20 or CN15/CN20 are probably the easiest to setup. However, they are not the cheapest solutions.
- http://floodstop.io/articles/furman-cn
- http://floodstop.io/articles/furman-mp

This one is more economical (if you washer doesn't require more amperage load than this device supports) but requires a little more wiring work:
- http://floodstop.io/articles/iotrelay

Feel free to check out the other articles on the site.
- http://floodstop.io/

Some are not complete yet, but may give you some idea of other type of implementations.

Feel free to ask any questions.

Thanks, Robert

December 2, 2016 | Registered CommenterRobert Savage

I have a question about 15 amp duplex receptacle om a 20 amp circuit. Many homes have 15 amp receptacles om 20 amp circuits. I have a duplex 15 amp receptacle on a 20 am washing machine circuit. Shoud I use the 20 or 15 amp Furman, or doesn't it matter?

June 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNeville

@Neville,

<DISCLAIMER> I am not a certified electrician, so please consult with a professional in your area for advice specific to your home and local building codes.

It is my understanding that its perfectly acceptable (and common) to have 15A receptacles on a circuit with a 20A circuit breaker. However since the receptacle is only rated for 15A, you should never plug anything that draws or requires more than 15A.

As to which Furman unit (or power rating for any other power controller) that primarily depends on the amperage load of your Washing Machine. If it comes with a normal US 3 prong plug where both power lugs are parallel then it should be rated for 15A or below. If it comes with the special 20A US plug where one of the power lugs is perpendicular to the other, then you can only use a Furman MP20 or other power controller that is rated for 20A or higher. The power "load" should be stamped or printed on the machine machine somewhere and included in the manual/user's guide. If its a modern residential unit, them it almost certainly draws less than 15A. Some older non energy-star rated units and commercial units used to require 20A circuits. (Thats why older homes often have a special 20A single output in the laundry room)

Also, I started (but not finished) a new site dedicated to this Floodstop + Power control project. Check it out at: http://floodstop.io/

Thanks, Robert

June 23, 2017 | Registered CommenterRobert Savage

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