Home Water Management- What is best for Level and Pressure or Flow Monitoring- FortrezZ vs. EKM Metering?

fortrezz

(Charlie Tirado) #1

I’ve been searching the web for a solution regarding water pressure/flow and tank level monitoring with SmartThings (ST) and wondering if anyone can help and/or recommend a course of action.
Let me explain my current situation and needs:
I own a home in Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. I mention this due to the impact the storm had on the already weak Puerto Rico infrastructure, mainly water and power resources. After the storm we were without water for 6 weeks and 98 days without power. Before the hurricane hit, we constantly had (and still have) water and power outages. This, unfortunately this is the norm.
I had a simple water setup that consisted of a 600-gallon vertical plastic water tank, located on the roof along with a Flotec pump to provide water to the house collected in the tank. This worked ok for a number of years but after the hurricane hit, I had to purchase a new pump and while I was at it, made a few plumbing upgrades.
When the storm hit, the family was unaware that we had no city water as the water we were using was from the water tank. Yes, the pressure was very low (gravity fed) but we managed as before. Again, under normal circumstances, low pressure or no water is the norm around here. Within a few days we had consumed all the water in the tank and I spent weeks hauling water from outside sources. (Not a fun time for us)
Since then, I purchased a Proteus EcoMeter S Cistern Water Level Ultrasonic sensor. This monitors the water tank level and sends data with radio transmission to the separate Proteus display I placed in the kitchen. I did not find any ST level sensors so I bought the Proteus. This takes care of the tank level monitoring.
As far as city water, I have an analog pressure gauge installed on the city line where I can go outside and check the current pressure, indicating if I have no or low water pressure.
So what are my needs: I’d like to have these devices integrated into ST so that I may act given certain conditions. (Please note- I am not a programmer).

  1. I’d like to monitor in real-time and be alerted when I have little or no city water. I don’t know if this manifests into monitoring pressure or flow or both.
    I have spent weeks searching but now am confused on whether I need a pressure sensor, pressure transducer, flow meter, etc. that will integrate with smartthings (or other).
    If the solution to this is a Flow meter, I was looking at the Fortrezz Flow Meter (Wireless Z-WavePlus Flow Meter, but at $330.00, I wanted to think about it first. I also looked at the EKM Metering Water meter (https://www.ekmmetering.com/3-4-water-meter-stainless-steel-pulse-output.html) at $70.00 for the 3/4" Stainless Steel model (maybe better than the FortrezZ brass one?) Will this one coupled with the FortrezZ Z-WavePlus MiMO2+ Interface Module or MimoLite work?
  2. I’d like to monitor my water tank level in real-time and be alerted when tank levels reach pre-defined values. Again, spent days looking for this but no luck. I was even considering going with an industrial solution with industrial sensors (level and pressure) and SCADA, PLC, HMI, RTU, etc. However, I understand going this route may be expensive. I’m actually waiting for a quote from a local automation gig, but haven’t heard from them yet. Not sure if my simple request is worth their time. The Proteus does this already but as far as I know, no integration with smartthings.
  3. I’d also like to monitor water pressure coming from the pump going to the house. There is currently an analog gauge on the pump itself, but I’d like to be able to know the pressure without going up to the roof.
  4. I’d like to setup a touch screen in the kitchen to display the current water situation (City Water, Tank Level and pressure/flow). I was looking into ActionTiles as it works with smartthings. I purchased a Digiland 8" tablet (DL8006) for this but have not set it up yet. I also looked at the BRILLIANT
    CONTROL light switch but it seems small and expensive.

Sorry to be long-winded, but I wanted to explain these details as they may have an effect on your recommendations.
I would appreciate any and all advice to this. I am new to home automation and just recently purchased smatthings. I am not a developer but I do understand the basics and given enough detailed steps, I usually figure things out.


(MarkTr) #2

Item 2 seems like the simplest / cheapest to tackle. There are a few threads on here regarding level monitoring for various applications (pools, Christmas trees, etc.) - here’s one “hacky” way to do it:

Several threads recommend the Aeon sensor over any leak sensor because it’s designed to work as a wet or dry sensor, so it won’t burn through batteries constantly reporting if it’s typically submerged.

In the industrial direction, you could just connect a few of these to dry contacts on contact sensors. They have NO/NC outputs and are 120VAC rated - so for example, if you were using a pump to fill the tank, you could have SmartThings switch on an outlet when city water comes back on, and use a float switch at the top of the tank to turn the pump on and off to keep the tank topped up.


(Hendre) #3

I have the same needs and will, therefore, follow this with great interest.
There is also this thread. As I understand that setup, it uses ultrasonic waves to report the water level. The sensor connects to a wifi module and a custom SmartThings DTH is used to report the data in ST.
I have purchased the hardware, but I haven’t had the courage to start the project. All the instructions presuppose a certain level of programming skills, which I don’t have.


#4

Hi, it’s been six months since you posted this.

Did you get it working? How has it been so far? And how hard was it to set it up?


(Hendre) #5

Yes, with the help of @ogiewon I managed to get it going. Take a look at this topic.
The system works fairly well. For some or other reason, mine sometimes go crazy when it will give random readings, but it serves my purposes perfectly.