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What is a WAGS Valve? Water and Gas Safety

The WAGS Valve is a brand-name product designed to eliminate the risk of and damage caused by flooding when a hot water heater fails to drain properly. WAGS stands for Water And Gas Safety. Some statistics suggest that a majority of water heaters fail within 7-10 years. While that number seems high in our personal experience, statistically about 5 million tank failures occur every year. Not all of these are catastrophic. However, during these leaks, the water heater keeps refilling and leaking. This creates a damaging cycle that can go on for some time until it is discovered or remedied.

The WAGS valve works to prevent costly floods and damage to property.

What is a WAGS Valve and How Does It Work?

The WAGS valve is designed to shut off the water supply when it detects a water leak. Typically this would come from a hot water heater. In this way, a WAGS valve minimizes water damage and, on the enhanced models, possible gas leakage.

What is a WAGS Valve?

You can easily install a WAGS valve on all styles of water heaters. It’s fully mechanical and requires no external power supply. If a leak occurs, an internal water-soluble fiber element dissolves, releasing a powerful, spring-loaded piston. This immediately shuts down water flow to the tank.

With the addition of a wiring harness for gas heaters, triggering the valve also breaks a fuse. This shuts off the water heater’s gas supply as well.

The Internal Mechanism

The valve’s action is based on fiber element technology developed for the British Royal Air Force to inflate life jackets automatically. Once activated, the valve shuts off the water and the gas supply.

What is a WAGS Valve?

The device even causes a red pop-up tab to emerge. This lets you know an activation has occurred. You need to replace a WAGS valve once it activates. That may seem like a pain if you sweated it in using copper. Considering it stopped a leak, however, that “pain” may be well worth the hassle and cost of replacing the valve.

WAGS valve red popup button leak alert

Water and Gas Safety Valve vs Smart Leak Valves

WAGS Valve Smart Leak Valves Smart Sensors
Detection Mechanism Mechanical fiber element WiFi or Wired sensor WiFi or Wired sensor
Power Requirements None Battery or AC Battery or AC
Installation Requirements Advanced plumbing Advanced plumbing Simple
Audible Alarm No Yes Yes
Stops Waterflow Yes Yes No
Brand Names WAGS, Aquaguard, Taco Moen, Streamlabs, Leakbreaker, Taco SimpleSence, Moen, Samsung, Zircon, Grohe
Price Range $128-$170 $120-$400+ $50-$100+


The WAGS valve is a very simple, and relatively inexpensive device that could save you tons of money in the event of a water heater leak. It’s definitely something to consider having installed the next time you replace your tank.

While it involves some more up-front work over a simple sensor, it has the added advantage of actually stopping a leak. When it comes to saving you the hassle of dealing with an uncontrolled water leak the advantages seem very clear.

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