Frequently Asked Questions
Q. "How does the 'Sump Watcher' warn you if your sump pump motor is failing?"
A. When the Sump Watcher is initially installed, the control module measures the pump motors power draw and stores this information. Every time the sump pump is activated and turns on, the Sump Watcher measures the current pump motor draw and compares it to the initially stored information. If there is a 12% change in the power draw the Sump Watcher will emit a steady, slow repetitive beeping noise. If there is a 25% change in the power draw, then the Sump Watchers will beep at a steady faster rate.
Q. "What happens if you have a power failure? Will the Sump Watcher work correctly when the power is restored?"
A. All of the information is stored in the electronic control module and a power failure will not erase the memory. The Sump Watcher will return to normal operation when the power is restored.
Q. "How does the sensor work (Electronic SUMP Pump Switch)?"
A. The sensor senses water by measuring the resistance between it and the grounded pump motor. When the water is below the sensor the resistance is very high (Figure 1), but when water reaches the tip of the sensor, the resistance is relatively low (Figure 2). When the sensor detects the low resistance from the water, it triggers the control module to turn the pump on. Once the water drops below the sensor, it has no affect on the control of the pump until the next cycle.
Q. "What does the control module do (Electronic SUMP Pump Switch)?"
A. Once the sensor triggers the pump to turn on, the control module will run one of two different types of cycles: Calibration or Timed. Calibration cycles are run at fixed intervals or whenever there is a significant change in the water inflow rate. Timed cycles are run whenever Calibration cycles aren't run.
The purpose of the Calibration cycle is to determine the characteristics of the pit and pump and figure out how long the pump needs to run based on how fast the water is coming in and how quickly the pump can empty the pit. When running a Calibration cycle, the Sump Pump Switch uses the motor current to tell it when the pit is empty. It can do this because there is a characteristic drop in motor current when it transitions from pumping water to sucking air. When running a Calibration cycle the Sump Pump Switch times how long it takes to drain the sump pit. Once it has this time, it reduces it by about 6% and uses the shorter time value for the Timed cycles. The shorter time results in a little water being left in the pit, which helps the pump start up faster because it doesn't have to re-prime itself.
Q. "What does the control module do (Electronic SEWAGE Pump Switch)?"
A. Once the sensor triggers the pump to turn on, the control module will run the pump until it looses suction. It knows when this happens by monitoring the motor current and looking for the current level to drop when the pump transitions from pumping water to pumping air. To be able to do this reliably every time it turns on, the Sewage Pump Switch needs a minimum runtime of 5 seconds. In other words, once the pump turns on, there should be enough water to be pumped that it will take at least five seconds to pump it all out.
Q. "We purchased the Electronic Sump Pump Switch and are very happy with it. But, is there something available in case we have an electrical power failure?"
A. We offer a water powered backup sump pump made by Zoeller and also one made by Liberty Pumps. We also offer some 12 volt battery operated sump pumps. The Little Giant battery backup Emergency Sump Pump System is very reliable and we have not heard of any problems with them. Zoeller also makes a 12 volt Battery Backup Pedestal Sump Pump with 25 years of proven performance in the field and thousands of satisfied customers. We also offer a Failed Circuit Alarm which will signal an alarm when a circuit has failed. It's designed for use on refrigerators, freezers, hot tubs, heat lamps for animals, pumps, etc. It can be used with any 110v/120v appliance where it is important to know if the breaker or fuse has blown (or any power outage).
Q. "How does the Electronic Sewage Pump Switch sensor work?"
A. The sensor detects water by measuring the resistance between the sensor and the grounded pump motor. When water is below the sensor the resistance is very high (Figure 1), but when water reaches the tip of the sensor, the resistance is much lower (Figure 2). When the sensor detects the low resistance from the water, it triggers the control module to turn the pump on. Once the water drops below the sensor, it has no affect on the control of the pump until the next cycle.
Please note: The sensor should not be strapped directly to the discharge pipe inside the sump basin or pit. It should be strapped to the discharge pipe a few inches ABOVE the cover or lid of the sump basin. The sensor can be put through the electrical cord access hole. The tip of the sensor should be lowered so it will be below the level of the inlet pipe. The sensor tip should NOT touch anything else inside the basin or pit, like the discharge pipe, the wall of the basin or pit or the pump or pump cords. The pump cords can be zip tied to the discharge pipe to keep them away from the sensor tip. If the sensor touches anything else in the basin or pit it will sense a low resistance and trigger the pump to turn on without cause to do so.
Q. "If I install this sump watcher, will I ever have to replace it?"
A. Make sure to follow all of the manufacturer's instructions and directions by performing the proper maintenance and inspections to ensure that you are fully protected from flooding - this is ever-so-important with (man-made) safety devices as they will eventually fail.