I am considering to install an electrical valve between the water outlet and the pipe bringing this water to the washing machine (I have some traumatic memories from a pipe breaking and water flowing in an apartment for a week).

This valve would need to be open when the washing machine is working and closed when it is not. One of the ways would be to power it from the washing machine, at some place which is live during the washing cycle.

I do not want to experiment too much but was wondering whether is was usual to have such an output, probably for cases like mine.

Since I suppose not, would there be another way to control the valve?

  • I would think adding additional valves there would be more chance of a failure or a place for scale to build up and plug a valve that you thought was a safety. I work with current sensing switches all the time and even they fail. Just my 2 cents worth.
    – Ed Beal
    Sep 13, 2018 at 21:19

6 Answers 6


No, they don't generally have such an outlet.

Perhaps you are looking for an Automatic Washing Machine Shutoff Valve? These devices sense when the washing machine is using electricity and open the water supply valves. Once the machine stops using electricity (i.e., the cycle is done) then the valves shut. Many models also include additional features such as water sensors for the floor, and timers that close the valve after x minutes even if the washing machine is still pulling current.

  • Yes, this is the idea i was having (not with a leak / humidity sensor but with a valve always closed, except when the machine is in use - though that one could be more generic). I will have a look at availability in Europe. Thanks.
    – WoJ
    Sep 13, 2018 at 11:59
  • 3
    Read the description of that device again. Yes, it has a leak detector. But it also monitors the current draw of the washer. When the washer is drawing current by holding open its internal fill valve, the device senses that current draw and opens the water valves. Once the washing machine is done and stops drawing current, it closes the water valves.
    – longneck
    Sep 13, 2018 at 13:07

They sell supply connection hoses that will automatically shut off if the water is on too long. I use these on the toilets in my home so that if I have a sticky flapper, they shut off the water and I don’t ring up a huge water bill.

They sell them for washing machines too although as this blog post notes, not everyone is a fan of them because they rely on flow restriction:

autoshutoff hose


What you want is a current sensing switch

While you probably don't want to tinker with the washer (that voids any listing/certification it carries), what you can do is use a current sensing relay such as this to control your water valve. The hot wire going to the receptacle for the washer goes through the "donut" shaped core on the relay, and it will turn the water valve on when more than the set current flows through it (after a brief delay for the part linked).


Washers already have this

They already have two control circuits, one that energizes (I believe at 120V) to command hot water "on" and one that commands cold water "on". They go to the dual solenoid mixing valve inside the washer.

Hijack off them and extend to your external solenoid valves. And you're done.

Fancier would be to also remove/bypass the internal mixing valve, so you don't fry a circuit on the control board from trying to operate two redundant mixing solenoid valves at once.

You would simply be relocating the solenoid valve action to the fixed-piping side of the flexible hoses attached to the washer, and presumably using much higher quality solenoid valves than the "2 valves in a complex plastic piece for $28" valves they are using.


Since you can't utilize the washing machine unless someone is there to turn it on, just use a manual switch that the user uses to turn on the water before the washer is turned on. If you are worried about them forgetting to turn it off again, put a timer on it, i.e. they turn on the water and it runs for an hour (or long enough for the longest wash cycle) then turns off.


You can get smart power strips that have outlets that are normally turned off until it detects current on the master outlet, then the slave outlets turn on. They’re sold for people with stereo component sets (remember those?) or computers:

[enter image description here][1

You could plug the washer into the master outlet then control a water valve with one of the slave outlets. But note that your washing machine already has a valve controlled by the master controller — and if the master controller is haywire or the water level float switch is broken but the machine remains on - you’ll still see the same level of electric current and your “backup” valve won’t shut off.

  • You're suggesting running a washer on a power strip? Doesn't sound good to me.
    – gnicko
    Sep 13, 2018 at 17:58
  • I’m trying to provide the closest to what the OP wants but if you follow my answer to the end, I also note why it’s a bad idea.
    – RoboKaren
    Sep 13, 2018 at 17:59
  • Not to mention pulling that much electricity through a powerstrip!
    – gnicko
    Sep 13, 2018 at 18:03
  • The power strip pictured is rated and fused to 15 amps so it’s unlikely the OPs washing machine can over power it.
    – RoboKaren
    Sep 13, 2018 at 19:32
  • Yeah...and what ever concurrent devices are hooked up to the power strip. I wouldn't do it. There are better ways.
    – gnicko
    Sep 14, 2018 at 21:16

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