Types of Water Alarms

It’s a full time job keeping your basement dry.  Everyday threats include heavy rains, backed up sewage line, a leaky hose or even your neighbor emptying their pool.  Sump pumps are perfect for removing pooling water, and a backup battery and pump system help create peace of mind.  Even with a backup pump and battery system, failures happen.

It’s the water sensor and alarm system that act as your last line of defense; alerting you before disaster strikes.  In this post we’ll explore four different options of water alarms: the standard alarm, the phone dialer (or auto-dialer) alarm, the wi-fi enabled alarm, and the cellular sump pump alarm.

Standard Sump Pump Alarm.  The most cost-effective solution on the list is this group of sump pump alarms.  Why are they so cheap?  Well, the main

reason is because they are very simple and have a limited feature set.  For the user, just set the device on the floor and when water is sensed the alarm will sound. Some standard alarms work via battery power, some via a wall outlet, and some offer a wall plug with battery backup.

Pros: very affordable starting at under $20, easy setup, great if you’re going to be in close proximity of the unit to hear it.

Cons: rely on proximity, if you’re not close or can’t hear the alarm then you’re not being warned.  Cheaper units use low quality parts that may rust overtime, rendering them useless.

Phone or Auto Dialer Sump Pump Alarm.   The auto dialer alarm works much like the standard pump alarm; when water is sensed the device sounds an audible alarm.  The auto dialer has an added feature though; it can make a call out to your phone to warn you of the alarm.  The only way the call out feature works is when a phone line is present at the device, this could mean installing a line in the basement or having to run service to your home if you only use a cell phone for phone service, which is rather common these days.

Also, if there is a lightning strike, the surge will come in thru the unshielded phone wire and take-out the dialer. You usually don’t know it happened until you need the dialer, and it does not work. Also, sometimes dialers will not hang-up the phone line, disabling all the phones in your house. If this happened during an emergency, people calling your house will get a busy signal, and you have no idea what is happening;

Pros: calls to send alerts rather than just sounding an alarm, ensures you know there is a problem.

Cons: can run rather expensive at prices near $250, could be difficult to install if you do not already have a phone line running to your sump pump, could cost you long distance depending on where you’re calling, may be rendered useless by lightning, may not hang up and jam up your outgoing phone connection.

WiFi  Auto Dialer Water Alarm.  The solution for installing a phone line is the WiFi based sump pump alarm.  The solution works just like the Auto Dialer in that the device will call you when it senses water.  The one perk is that you can connect to your local wireless network and it will use VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) to send the call. Some of these devices also allow remote data monitoring and the sending of emails or SMS messages.

If you do not have a wireless router or internet connection, then this will not be the right solution for your use. Also, unless your cable router and wifi access point are backed-up on a UPS (uninterruptible power supply), your wifi access point will be powered off during a power-fail event and will not be able to notify you of an alarm.

Pros: added features since it’s an internet connected device, no need to run phone lines to the alarm

Cons: rather expensive with most systems starting at greater than $300, could be difficult to install if you’re not familiar with wireless networks, must have a wireless internet connection for this system to work, must have a UPS system or you won’t receive notifications when power is lost to your home .

Cellular Sump Water Alarm.  These are the newest devices on the market and work like the standard sump pump alarm and sound an alarm when water is sensed.  Since they are cellular based they have text messaging built in and send out a message when the water sensor touches water.   These devices do not require a phone line or wireless internet connection to work, but do generally require a cell service plan.  Some cellular water alarms come bundled with the cellular card and are truly plug-in-play, others require a separate cell phone or dedicated-pre-pay phone that connects to the unit, making it a little more difficult to setup.   Cellular water alarms are the easiest to install systems that offer their particular features.  They install like a standard pump alarm but offer the features of more robust and harder to install systems.

Pros: easy to install, very cost effective, offer two notifications in the form of an audible alarm and a text message.

Cons: require cell service which is available just about everywhere but some spots do not get coverage

Choose the Right Technology. In the end, it does matter what technology you use.  You’ll want a water alarm that:

  • alerts you no matter where you are, because leaks and floods can happen any time of day or night.
  • sends messages when the power goes, as power is regularly knocked out during a storm.
  • sends notifications direct to your mobile device, so you can take immediate action to prevent a flood.

The best water alarm will provide easy installation and reliable warnings to help you prevent costly water damage. The PitBoss offers all of these features and is a truly plug-in-play solution.  Is your basement protected?  Don’t risk it, trust a PitBoss!