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#189951 10/30/09 09:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
Member
Today's adventure started with a splash ... and maybe someone out there has a solution!

The problem? Blowing leaves anf pouring rain conspire together, to block the drain at the bottom of a below-grade stairwell. The backed-up water in turn flows through a finished basement on it's way to the sump ... thoroughly soaking the carpet, the padding, the baseboards, and the lower 4" or so of sheetrock and insulation.

This may not sound like much, but add to it the fears of mold / mildew, and you're talking a pretty expensive clean-up and repair.

Not to mention the inconvenience ... for the next several days, this basement will be home to 16 fans and three huge dehumidifiers. Then along will come the contractor to patch the drain/ vent holes (added today), replace the bad dryawll, re-instal the carpet, and replace the baseboards.

So ... I'm asking the vast ECN membership .... is there any way to set an alarm for this condition, to notify the homeowner there's a problem before they're wading in it?

I would envision some type of floormat that could be place on the floor, that would respond to moisture. Maybe something commercial exists ... or, how would you make such a thing?

This enquiring mind wants to know.

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 37
J
Member
Hey Reno,

I'm pretty sure I've such a thing. Search the internet "flood sensor." It is basically a little alarm with a small cord running to a sensor mounted near the floor. The "sensor" consists of 2 metal prods that are in contact with the floor. When water flows between the two prods the alarm goes off. Not sure if it works or not. I remember seeing it on "Ask This Old House." I think it's pretty inexpensive too, when you compare it to remodeling a basement.

Last edited by junkcollector; 10/30/09 09:34 PM.
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 459
J
Member
Depending on the height of the threshold what about a float switch that closes when the water rises? Set it so it alarms before the water starts to roll in so it gives someone time to clear the drain.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
Member
Thanks, junk ... and you're right, these repairs get expensive in a hurry.

Which leads to another issue .... the house where this happened had something similar happen once before. Covered that time by insurance, you would think that the insurance company would have retro-fitted this into the last repair. It sure would beat paying another claim!

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,662
Likes: 4
G
Member
There are sensors that are nothing but probes, that, when covered with water complete a very high impedance circuit and ring the bell. You can do it with one gate of a CMOS chip


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
N
Member
I have built a few circuits like this that have been operating for upwards of 20 years now. One section of a 4011 quad NAND gate can be used for the sensor amplifier and the other 3 sections can be used as inverters to drive whatever output devices you want.

A piece of PC board with interlocking "fingers" etched onto it makes a good sensor plate.

If you want a ready-made solution, converting a commercial bedwetting alarm might be a possibility...

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
S
Member
Originally Posted by junkcollector
Hey Reno,

I'm pretty sure I've such a thing. Search the internet "flood sensor." It is basically a little alarm with a small cord running to a sensor mounted near the floor. The "sensor" consists of 2 metal prods that are in contact with the floor. When water flows between the two prods the alarm goes off. Not sure if it works or not. I remember seeing it on "Ask This Old House." I think it's pretty inexpensive too, when you compare it to remodeling a basement.
We use those at work for early detection of flooding under the false decking of server rooms. They work very well.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,662
Likes: 4
G
Member
You can drive SSRs directly off of a CMOS chip so it is really pretty easy.


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
L
Member
http://www.koetterfire.com/leak-detection-systems/

A tad pricey. but very effective.
I have just a simple detector in a pan under my water heater (similar to those for Leibert units) this controls a bell and a normally open solenoid on my feed line.

I'm on a well. A broken water heater could put a huge amount of water in my basement.

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 7
S
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