Hubitat + Water sensor + Zigbee water valve saved my basement from flooding

My airbnb is 170 miles away. Water heater was old when I bought the house 4 years ago, I knew it was a matter of time. I have water sensors under every water outlet in the house. I use a cheap ($30?) zigbee water valve that I got on Aliexpress. Had a plumber install a ball valve for it.

Woke up yesterday morning to the push notification from Hubitat safety monitor..

Drove 3 hours up to the house, found the top of the water heater open and a few gallons of water on the floor. Looks like a pressure valve rusted closed and something inside failed....

My airbnb is 170 miles away. Water heater was old when I bought the house 4 years ago, I knew it was a matter of time. I have water sensors under every water outlet in the house. I use a cheap ($30?) zigbee water valve that I got on Aliexpress. Had a plumber install a ball valve for it.

Woke up yesterday morning to the push notification from Hubitat safety monitor..

Drove 3 hours up to the house, found the top of the water heater open and a few gallons of water on the floor. Looks like a pressure valve rusted closed and something inside failed....




Thanks Hubitat!

I controlled this electric water heater with a smart switch. Looks like the latest Rheem hybrid heat pump water heaters have a cloud API (boooo) but someone has written a Hubitat integration for it, so that's good...

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That’s creates a ticking time-bomb, and exploding water heaters can cause an incredible amount of structural damage. I’m glad the situation was resolved with minimal damage and no injuries!

Either the upper or lower thermostat must have failed open to create that kind of internal pressure.

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It's a thermal explosion. Watts Valve Co. used to publish photos of water heater explosions when they were lobbying states for required T&P valves in the codes. There were pics of 800 sq ft houses that about all that was left were the foundations.

something failed

IIRC, there were some water heaters with plastic dip tubes recalled 20-ish years ago. The thermostat jammed On, then the dip tube melted and plugged the T&P valve. KABOOOM! But the usual issue nowadays is someone plugging the T&P because it was dripping ...and it was dripping because it was doing its job.

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Pretty sure the water heater was original to the house, which is 1978. Amazing...

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Just one general comment.

The plumber used sharkbite couplings to put the ball valve on. While the coupling is not within a wall, I would still recommend you consider having the ball valve sweated on (or use Viega propress fittings). The rest of your installation shows the heater to be strapped down, so I'm guessing your AirBnb rental is in an earthquake zone. I have heard that sharkbite couplings fail more readily when pipes move, or a subjected to small movements repeatedly from tremors. This is much less of an issue with soldered joints or press joints with an EPDM o-ring.

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Either the upper or lower thermostat must have failed open to create that kind of internal pressure.

Would not a failed open thermostat interrupt power to the heater? I don't mean to be picking nits but I'm curious if I missed something.

I may be a conservative type but in my mind sharkbite fittings are for temporary connections.

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Yeah - I get open and closed confused. What I mean is that the thermostat is stuck “on”

GREAT advice

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Didn't mean to be critical, being an electronic guy I see somethin instantly in my head (i.e. no thinking involved :slight_smile: ) so I thought I was missing something "Smarthome related"

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Didn't take it that way at all!

Here's where my confusion comes from. I think of water flowing when a valve is open and not flowing when the valve is shut. I know I should have an accurate mnemonic, but that is just stuck in my head. So I continue to confuse open and closed switches or relays ..... :confounded:

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I understand exactly :slight_smile: Perhaps a drawbridge would be a good analogy.

John

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@klinquist The 1st picture is weird. It looks like the valve handle is jammed against the wall :rofl:

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