Installing Sump Pump


Staff member
Considering many here are trying to include their sump pump in their HA setup, I figured I would post my installation questions here B)

My house is 2 years old, and the basement hasn't been finished yet. There is a sump pit already with 2 large drains, just no pump. What should I look for in a pump? The area I am in isn't really prone to flooding, and after the typical Central NY winters, it still doesn't flood, but you never know. I am more concerned about the house flooding from the inside due to a water softener/washer machine/septic acting up. Do I need to buy an installation kit/mounting hardware? I looked at them at Home Depot, but I saw several kinds, low end, all the way up to battery backed pumps. Are there certain kinds which are easier to monitor with i.e. an Ocelot? Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks!
Are you looking to just monitor its activity with the Ocelot (ie: log any pumping triggered by its float switch)? The current draw detection scheme would probably be the least ivasive to its design (and any warranty issues) but if the float switch has extra contacts avaiable, then you might have a nice option right there.
Sort of in-line with Guy's thoughts:

You will probably have to control the sump pump with an appliance module (or heavy-duty type one depending on the current it draws).

The float switch itself will probably not be suited for AC nor for the large current, so I would just have its inputs (contact closures) go into the SECU16 directly. Maybe go ahead and use that CR Magnetics Current sensor (if the current draw is over two amps) that I sent you and also use that as an "Analog" input into the SECU16 as Guy suggested.

You could then send the X-10 signal to the appliance module via the Ocelot when the float switch contacts close and keep sending it until you get a current draw registered on the CR Magnetics sensor input. You could also be alerted via page/phone/email that a "flood is in progress". You may also want to have multiple floats and "series" them or just use two additional SECU16 inputs and Ocelot CMax logic so you would be pretty sure the alert was not a false alarm.

If you don't want to rely on X-10 you could always use a heavy duty relay with a 12 volt coil and trigger that 12 volt coil via the SECU16 relay outputs (would need an additional 12 volt power source, but I believe I sent you one of those also). This will incur additional costs that may or may not be warranted depending on your X-10 reliability (if AC is off to your home you are screwed on running the pump anyways unless you have a battery backed one).

You could also do things like if the pump is drawing current and the sensor is NOT shorted (i.e. an errant X-10 signal turned the pump on), alert you somehow.

Just throwing out ideas.

One annoying anomoly of the SECU16 and Ocelot is when it looses power it will "transition" or change states. I was looking for a low to high from my Caddx system when an alarm occured, but this gave me a false alarm when I had a power glitch and no security alarm. Not sure how to guard against it. Maybe battery back the Ocelot and Secu16 with the 12 volt battery used for the Caddx system (they are right next to each other), or maybe look for a high that is on for a minimum time??? Suggestions for this would be appreciated. What do others do to guard against a false alarm from an SECU16/power glitch??

I am not interested in controlling the the pump, I assume that's automated already, I just want to make sure I get all the materials I need, and what kind of pump to look for if I want to monitor the status of it. There are some good ideas here, will look into it and see what Home Depot has.
I would be more interested in the existance of water on the floor or that the sump is fuller than it should be. This is the "bottom line" where action is needed. Knowing the pump is on doesn't really tell you much. Turning it on via HS doesn't really do much either.

Two ways - continuity detector (shows water on floor) or float switch in the sump above the high point that turns on the pump. Either can tell your alarm or Homeseer (or both) that action is needed.

Homeseer forum has several threads on this issue.
david, that's exactly what I want, I found some nice Caddx sensors to monitor for water on the floor, and figured out a way to monitor the water level in the sump pit, being able to monitor the pump itself is just a bonus. I am more interested some good recommendations (what manufacture to stick with etc) regarding the pump hardware itself.
When I put in my sump pumps (2), I went to Sears and picked up a midrange model in terms of water movement per minute. I could have gone to HomeDepot or Lowes but I wanted the craftsman name on it. I am superstitious about certain things and I buy Sears for tools and appliances. One good thing is that they only stock good reliable stuff. In HD and Lowes you can buy low end quality without knowing it.

BTW, they have both been shooting water out for the last 10 years without a hiccup.

Just my $0.02