High Level Water Sensor for Sump or Septic?

(Paul Clarke) #1

Hey Everyone…

I am looking for a reliable sensor, that would allow you to connect external wires to it. The wire run to the float would be about 45 feet. I want to monitor the level of water in a septic tank in the pump chamber, so I would use a float. When the float is activated (which should only happen if the pump fails) I would be notified by smart-things. So really I am looking for a sensor that is in either an on or off state that can connect to external wiring and supported by smart-things.

I saw a thread about a shock sensor, but the sensor in question isnt being sold, and the alternative is a monoprice one which sounds unreliable at best… My system is setup as Zwave…

Thanks for any help!

(Andy - United Kingdom) #2

It rather depends on where you are.
If in the UK/EU I would recommend either the Fibaro door sensor (which also has a dry contact sensor)
Or a Foxx project water sensor. (which you can cut the plug off to expose two wire connections)
Both are reliable & reasonably priced… as for the US … I’m sure someone will come along soon to advise…
I’m not sure either of the above is available outside UK/EU
Perhaps @JDRoberts can advise.

On another note… SmartThings is both Z-wave & Zigbee compatible

(Eric) #3

reliable wireless device, no such thing. If it’s really important then you should wire it all the way.

Failing that, I’d consider a supervised connection where if the device has not reported “something” twice in the longest allowable silent period, then you followup.

I use a couple of dry-contact monitors in my ST setup, Aeotec by Aeon Labs ZW097 Dry Contact Sensor, which you could wire to anything including your float sensor, but FYI I don’t recommend it as the sole solution since my monitoring has shown it misses about 1 in 40-50 “on” events. I expect this is because either it is super-sleepy or ST dropped it (to be fair, it could also be the IOT service provider dropping it, but come on, let’s get real).

Combined with my other monitoring, this is good enough for me. But to monitor your septic / whatever, you should add something like a power monitor on the motor and/or do a cycle count. You know it’s supposed to operate 3-4 times a day and that power is within 200-250 watts ((whatever they are) , and if too much time has elapsed since last cycle or power is out of range then notify you. I would use Grovestreams to provide the notification - it can notify you on lack-of-new-data also.

On the other hand, the leak sensor (Everspring St812) in my sump, being used as a high-level monitor, has been 100% in my testing for more than a year, has I think 6foot lead - I’d try to use that for your application. If it corrodes, just get another one or extend the lead with new jacketed wire. The range of these devices has been pretty good. You might have to rainproof the head.

(Paul Clarke) #4

Thanks for your reply!. Guess I should mention I am in Canada… I’ll have
a look at those two… can I run ZigBee and Zwave simultaneously then? I
am using Zwave products ATM. I thought it was one or the other not both at

(Andy - United Kingdom) #5

I have about 15 zigbee and 75 z-wave devices in my setup
Both work perfectly (most of the time)
Zigbee can be subject to wifi interference if the mesh is weak whereas z-wave is less prone to interference in my experience.
As @ero4444 has said, if it is essential then I would not entertain the idea of putting it onto the smartthings platform (or any similar system)
I would cable all the way back to the house and put a visible and audible alarm on the float switch (probably via a relay to remove the load from the float switch)

(Paul Clarke) #6

Thanks Ero!

I think I like the idea of monitoring the power as you suggested… One less wire for me to run and get the same thing that I want, if its working then its not overflowing. Which as you said gives more frequent data. No data, better check it out… Would you recommend a device that works? I looked at the Aeotec Microswitch, but it has a max draw of 10AMPS @ 120V, and typical effluent pumps are around 12 Amps… It looks like the new one, the Aeotec Nano Switch is capable of 15 Amps @ 120V.

It would have to be an inline device like the nano switch, where I would put it behind the wall switch for the pump thats inside the house.

My one issue with the Nano switch is it seems the Device Handler for it is not up to snuff yet. Whats your thoughts on this?

Thanks muchly

(Jimmy) #7

there are several water sennor that have remote leads. Dangle them into the sump at the level you want to be warned at.

(Eric) #8

nice thing about a plug-in device, is quick replacement and swap-testing. So I’d consider a NEMA-4/4R box with a GFCI receptacle in it. Then you could use any 15amp smart plug.

I know almost nothing about the electric code requirements for your direct-wire pump but if it’s on my property and I’m maintaining it, then above is what I would prefer. If I sell the property then I’d expect to remove my plug and direct-wire the pump again.

Nano switch sounds ok - I haven’t looked at it - unless it’s $50 or something stupid like that, then I’d just try it and see. I have no opinion of the device or its handler.