Installing an Automated Water Main Shutoff Valve with Water Leak Detectors

One of our family members recently had a dishwasher fail while they were away from their house, and they suffered water damage to their entire kitchen and finished basement. Insurance will cover the damage, but they are now going through the hassle of the reconstruction of their kitchen. I had been thinking for some time about installing an automated main water shutoff valve, and this was the motivation for me to get started on this project.
The Smarthome Select Water Valve - 12V Operated
Smarthome has a new product - the "Smarthome Select Electronic Water Shutoff Valve". It is available in two sizes - 3/4" and 1". My main water entry pipe is 3/4" copper nominal pipe size (NPS), so I ordered the 3/4" valve. I followed Smarthome's suggestions for the recommended accessories - and I/O Linc to control the valve, a power adapter to power the valve, and some of Smarthome's battery powered water detectors - the Insteon Leak Sensor (2852-222). As usual, shipping was quick and within a few days I had all the components to begin the project.

First step to installing the valve - shutoff the manual valve and cut the pipe
 I started with the installation of the valve. The valve body is made from stainless steel, with female national pipe thread connections (NPT). Since space is limited in my wall, and to facilitate servicing in the future, I decided to install the valve with two brass unions. Installation of the valve took about 2 hours - shut the water off and drain the water, cut the water supply pipe about 3" after the manual shutoff valve (so that when soldering the new union fitting, I won't be overheating the manual shutoff valve), create the adapters to install the automated shutoff valve (male NPT / solder adapter, short section of 3/4" copper pipe, one half of the solder union fitting).

Soldering the Valve adapters - Male NPT (top) to Union threaded side
Once I had the valve adapters soldered - I installed the adapters on the valve using pipe dope to ensure a good seal.

Screw on the adapters to the valve with some pipe dope on the NPT Threads

I then did a test fit of the valve to the water pipe - and measured where to cut the water pipe for a perfect fit between the two union fittings.

Prepare the water main pipe for soldering the union connector - clean with sandpaper
Test fit the valve to measure where to cut off the distribution pipe at the correct length
Then I installed the valve, tightened the union fittings, and did a leak test. No leaks, then on to wiring and programming the I/O link and the valve.

Valve installed, water turned back on, no leaks
I was fortunate when my house was built that the builder ran a 14/2 electrical cable to the main water shutoff - so all I did was install an outlet box next to the main water valve, an outlet, and connect the line to my UPS. In my home automation design, I've tried to put all my mission critical controls on UPS circuits - network switches and routers, ISY-99i, and now this water shutoff valve and its I/O Linc. Once I had power to the I/O Linc, I wired up the valve per the wiring diagram provided by Smarthome on the product page. One drawback to this valve is that there is no installation and operation manual provide - online or in the box. The only information available is a wiring diagram, a dimensional diagram and override instructions. So - I wired up the valve per the wiring diagram - Power to the common connector, red wire to the N/O connector,  and green wire to the N/C connector.

Outlet moved next to valve, I/O Linc Installed with Power Adapter and wired to Valve control
Then I linked up the I/O Linc to my ISY-99i, and tried cycling the valve on and off. The valve would open when powered up, but it wouldn't close. I checked the I/O Linc settings on my ISY-99i page, and found that the I/O Linc was set to "Momentary A". So I switched that to Latching, and then the valve worked properly, opening on "off" command, and closing on "on" command. I decided that I would like the water supply "on" with the "on" command, and water supply "off" with the "off" command - so I reversed the red and green wires - red to "N/C", and green to "N/O". Now - when I control the I/O Link "Off" - the water supply shuts "Off". When I control the I/O Link "On" - the water supply turns "On".

One thing that I discovered once everything was installed and wired is that the LED on the I/O link provides the status of the valve control (and if everything is working well - the status of the valve). When the status LED is bright, the I/O Link is "On" and the Valve is open (water is On). When the status LED is dim - the I/O Link is "Off" and the Valve is closed (water is Off). I was fortunate that I oriented the outlet and the I/O Link to have the status LED facing away from the wall, towards the opening. This is a good visual status indication.

Next step was linking the Insteon Leak Sensors (2852-222) to the ISY-99i. These are interesting little sensors - battery powered, works over wireless, and up to 10 year battery life (according to Smarthome). They linked up quickly and reliably to the ISY-99i using the instructions on the ISY wiki. When linked to the ISY - they give you two inputs per device - a "Wet" input (On or Off), and a "Dry" input (On or Off). The normal state has the Wet input Off, and the Dry input On. If there is water bridging the two contacts on the bottom of the device, the Wet input goes On, and the Dry input goes Off. I wrote a very simple program for the ISY that has three "or" conditions for my three leak sensors - if any of the leak sensors - Wet input - goes to "On", it then shuts the water valve "off", and sends a notification to my smartphone by SMS text message, and an email to my personal email address.

I then did a quick test - placed a sensor in a plate of shallow water - and tested to see how quickly everything responded. It seems the leak sensor sent it's message to the ISY almost instantaneously - and a fraction of a second later the automated water valve closed. About 2 seconds later I received the notification on my smartphone. This seems to be perfectly acceptable performance.

I did not set up a program to automatically turn the water back on. My thinking is that I'll keep that a manual control - to force me to inspect why a sensor detected a leak before resetting the water valve.

My final test will be do a water test at each installed leak sensor location - this will tell me whether I have a good wireless connection from each leak sensor to my Insteon network.

Update - 6 years of Usage

The system has been running fine for 6 years now. I've found that I need to do periodic testing - because every once in a while some bug appears which causes a problem between the link sensors and the automated water valve control. I solved program issues by direct linking the individual water sensors with the I/O Linc - which takes the ISY 994i out of the chain of communication for actuating the water valve. 

Sources and Links

I hope you found this post useful. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section below. I answer all questions. If you're interested, you can help support this site by using the following links to in the United States. My go-to place in Canada for Insteon automation components is


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