Flood Mitigation for Plumbed Espresso Machines

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#1: Post by 703Eric »

Hi Everyone, I had posted a question in January asking if anyone had any ideas on flood mitigation. I only received one answer which made me start to feel like I was being paranoid but I figured better safe than sorry so I wanted to share my solution.
I was able to find a really great kit at DIYCONTROLS.COM that only set me back $158.00. The kit consists of a brain box that has battery back-up, 3/8" motorized shut-off valve, two water sensors, x10 controller and a 220v receiver box for the x10. The water sensors can be strung together to add as many as you like. When water touches one of the sensors it completes a circuit and the brain sounds an alarm. It than shuts the motorized ball valve killing the water supply and triggers the x10 to send a wireless signal to the appliance power box that kills the power. All of this happens in less than 3 seconds and completely exceeded my expectations. The wife was super cool about me adding an espresso bar during our kitchen remodel but I knew that if we ever came home to a flood the Linea would go Bye Bye. Thanks to everyone for all of the great information over the past year!

The Guts

The Brain Box and X10 unit which sends the signal to kill the power

703Eric (original poster)

#2: Post by 703Eric (original poster) »

The inline motorized ball valve

The unit that receives the signal from the X10 and kills the power
One water sensor next to the pump

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703Eric (original poster)

#3: Post by 703Eric (original poster) »

The last water sensor under the espresso machine

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#4: Post by shadowfax »

That's a fantastic job! I really appreciate you bringing this to our attention.

Those of us with plumbed in home machines (e.g. Vetrano & La Spaziale Vivaldi) would be wise to consider something like this for the freak accident type occurrences: even if you are cheap, about $90 gets you this:

FloodStop 3/8-C

That's the unit with just the sensor and the ball valve that connects to the water line. You can put this just ahead of the Max Adaptor that Chris' Coffee sells to plumb in machines using John Guest fittings. Note it will also shut off your sink (or whatever you tapped into) water supply, but that's not really a bad thing.

The FloodStop unit seems easily justifiable: flood damage will destroy your espresso machine and can cause 10s of thousands of dollars of damage to your house. The machine shutoff is maybe harder to justify: as long as the water is shut off, the worst that could realistically happen (you would think) is your heating element could burn itself out, if the emergency thermostat doesn't shut it off. These heating elements usually cost about the same as the 120V appliance controller that they sell, so it's maybe a gamble there. I think I would get it, myself, as changing a heating element is not overly pleasant...

Eric, thanks again. I am moving in a week and buying a special counter with sink from IKEA for the espresso setup, all plumbed in. I was thinking of getting a flojet for the security (not having to worry about more than 5 gallons getting pumped into the kitchen), but this is a great alternative at a similar price.
Nicholas Lundgaard


#5: Post by Spresso_Bean »

That is a nice system you installed. I have a basic 1/4 turn ball valve where my water line hookup is, and I just turn it to allow water flow before turning the machine on, and then off when I'm done. That should limit any potential issues I believe, and it barely takes any effort to turn on/off.
LMWDP #200

703Eric (original poster)

#6: Post by 703Eric (original poster) »

Hi Spresso Bean, That is by far the most simple solution but the warm up time on a LM is hours. I also didn't want to constantly turn it on and off as this creates metal fatigue. I would also imagine that the constant heating and cooling would cause any scale to build up much more quickly.


#7: Post by Spresso_Bean »

That is by far the most simple solution but the warm up time on a LM is hours. I also didn't want to constantly turn it on and off as this creates metal fatigue. I would also imagine that the constant heating and cooling would cause any scale to build up much more quickly.
Oh yeah, yours is much more sophisticated than what I did, but I was more describing what I did for a machine that usually only requires about an hour to heat up. For something such as a Marzocco I think what you did is perfect and seems to cover just about anything that could go wrong with having a pressurized water line connected to your machine. Having a flood would be awful.
LMWDP #200

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#8: Post by jesawdy »

Thanks for the information... this is a great setup and certainly worth every penny. I need to look into the kit options and parts a bit more, but I'm curious if you considered (and discarded) the notion of a direct relay (vs X10 wireless) to control the cutoff of the power?
Jeff Sawdy

703Eric (original poster)

#9: Post by 703Eric (original poster) »

Hi Jeff, to tell you the truth I would have preferred a hard wire set up over the wireless X10 unit but I couldn't find anything that would work. If you do find a wired system for the power I would love information on it.

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#10: Post by Paul_Pratt »

Very neat system. At home I have something along those lines - I think I noticed Dan's set up has something similar. I have a 1/4" solenoid valve mounted via a fitting to the inlet of the procon pump. The pump and motor are heavy enough to support this. The solenoid is then wired parallel to the pump wiring.

So when the machine needs water it turns the pump on and at the same time opens the solenoid. In 4 years no problems with pump, solenoid or water leaks.