Flood & Freeze Sensor - Sump Pump Overflow

I purchased a Flood & Freeze Sensor specifially for my basement to monitor possibility of the sump pump overflowing. By design, the sensor would sit on the floor next to the sump pit. However, that will only detect water if the pit actually overflows.

I was considering placing the sensor inside the pit, roughly 12" from the top. This way it would activate if the water was rising, but before it reached the top so (hopefully) something could be done to prevent the overflow.

Note: I had a “float” in my last home, and it is precisely what it did last winter when my sump pump died. I was able to run to the store and install a new pump without having an overflow.

My thought would be to rig up a small “shelf” that the sensor would sit flat upon. A couple of questions:

  1. How does the sensor actually get activated? Is it by water submerging the bottom part of the sensor, thus closing the circuit of the small silver probes? Or based on humidity or even splashes (in which case my idea would likely not work)?

  2. Has anyone tried this? How is it working out for you?

Thanks in advance, John

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Hello @jdag ,

Those are good questions. I like good puzzles to think about, and trying find a solution.

  • How does the sensor actually get activated? Is it by water submerging the bottom part of the sensor, thus closing the circuit of the small silver probes? Or based on humidity or even splashes (in which case my idea would likely not work)? Has anyone tried this? How is it working out for you?

Although I was unable to definitively find any written documentation on if it is water or humidity that triggers this sensor. But I did find this YouTube video and it is apparently just water completing the electrical circuit on the metal probes on the underside, that triggers the sensor:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f4PuHlH39U

I understand how a shelf in the pit, roughly 12" from the top, would give you early warning before it actually overflows. But it is a concern, because as the water continues to rise, could envelop the entire sensor. Ring states:

  • _ Can the Flood & Freeze Sensor be submerged in water?
    No. While the device is engineered to be air-tight, it is not meant to be submerged under water during normal operation._

https://support.ring.com/hc/en-us/articles/360021558531-Ring-Alarm-Flood-Freeze-Sensor-Information

Since “just water” on the probes completes the circuit, your idea of a shelf in the pit should work. :slight_smile: But as the water level continues to rise, it might submerge the sensor (unless it floats, since it is pretty much airtight). There is no guarantee that the sensor won’t get damaged. :frowning: Although that doesn’t mean if you dry it out that it won’t work. But on the rare occasion of an actual flood, maybe “sacrificing” the sensor is worth the warning benefits.

When you mentioned previously having a “float” in your last home, I had ideas of maybe how you could make a float-type device that has a vertical push-rod on top with a Ring Contact sensor-portion attached to the top of the rod as this sensor ‘sits’ on top of the magnet-portion that is fixed to some sort of bracket. As the water rises, eventually lifting the float & rod & Sensor away from the magnet, you would get a text-type Notification on your smart-phone. It should work, but could be complicated and difficult to build if you are not handy.

But then I watched another YouTube video, and another different and simpler thought occurred to me. What if you just attached wires to one pair of the sensor’s probes and dangled the other end of the wires about 12 inches deep into your pit? You could ensure the exposed bare wire ends are secured to maintain a small gap apart, and not touching any surrounding conductive material in the pit that would trigger a false alarm. When the water level reaches the dangling wire ends, it completes the circuit, and I believe the sensor would trigger. The wires are basically an “Extension Cord” of the probes and you don’t need to make a “pit-shelf.” You could do a little test experiment and find outif this works by just putting the end of the wires in a glass of water.

If only dangling wires are needed, your sensor could just sit on the floor next to the pit with your attached wires dangling into the pit to provide Early Warning detection. You wouldn’t have to worry about submersion issues either. And if the wire-extension cord fails to work (but I think it logically will work), the Flood Sensor is still right next to the pit to detect if it overflows. Here’s that YouTube video that gave me this idea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoXgkEkTp1Y

Well John, hopefully I’ve written something that is helpful to you. If you try the dangling “Extension Cord” experiment, I’m very curious to hear an update of the results. :slight_smile:

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@Boone, thank you for the thoughtful and detailed response.

You are right that I would be OK with sacrificing the sensor if it were to give me advanced warning about the sump rising too high. For the most part, if water rises in the sump pit it is for 2 reasons, the power is out or the pump is dead. Either way, the $35 sensor is a worthy loss if I can get early warning.

That being said, your wire idea is great and I will definitely try that 1st.

Thanks!

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Thank you for the recommendations. And, I found a super-simple solution…a soap dish! I bought a wall mountable soap dish and zip tied it to the PVC pipe about a foot below the top rim of the pit. Then zip tied the sensor, just because when water flows through the PVC they tend to shake/vibrate a bit. Now I have the sensor in the pit for advanced warning!

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@jdag wrote:

Thank you for the recommendations. And, I found a super-simple solution…a soap dish! I bought a wall mountable soap dish and zip tied it to the PVC pipe about a foot below the top rim of the pit. Then zip tied the sensor, just because when water flows through the PVC they tend to shake/vibrate a bit. Now I have the sensor in the pit for advanced warning!

That’s cool @jdag . :slight_smile:

I was curious if you did experiment to try the “extension cord wire” idea to see if indeed that works too?

Also, before you said, “I would be OK with sacrificing the sensor if it were to give me advanced warning about the sump rising too high. . . . Either way, the $35 sensor is a worthy loss if I can get early warning.” With the sensor zip-tied to the soap dish, I’m guessing it would get submerged if the water continued to rise, since it would be held down?

If the sensor was not zip-tied to the dish, but rather the dish had a make-shift higher rim edge (like a bowl), then the sensor would still remain in the soap dish with the PVC pipe vibrating, without being held down (and before I mentioned that since it is air-tight that it possibility would “float”)?

Another thought was if it stopped working after getting wet like that, it is still possible the one-year standard warranty (and having a subscription to the Ring Protect “Plus” Plan which gives you a extra “Extended Warranty”) may still apply too?

:slight_smile:

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Good morning, @Boone.

You are correct, that the sensor is not going anywhere in the manner that I have it zip tied, which is my preference. The dish does actually have a small lip, maybe 1/4", as well as an opening in the lip where water will start to flow into the dish. I have to say, I found the perfect soap dish for this task. If anyone is interested: Soap Dish

My thought was that vibrations of the PVC would more likely knock the sensor out of the dish and it would fall into the water than a sump overflow would destroy the sensor. So it is a calculated risk, and again only $35, so I am not losing sleep over it. I believe it is much more likely that an early alarm saves me from a flooded basement that would be significantly more costly, time consuming, and frustrating.

Thanks!

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“Cool Beans” then @jdag !!!

I’m happy that you got a solution for your “Early Warning” flooding! :slight_smile:

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