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Proactive Basement Flood Monitor

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2021 ASEE North Central Section Conference


University of Toledo, Ohio

Publication Date

March 19, 2021

Start Date

March 19, 2021

End Date

March 20, 2021

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Paper Authors

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Noah Scott Hancock Ohio Northern University

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Shaheed H Khan

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Kelvin J Watson

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The project goal is to design a solution that keeps a homeowner informed about the status of their basement flooding and adds redundancy to the existing sump pump system to prevent floods. Water damage is one of the prevalent issues for any homeowners. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 14,000 people experience water damage emergencies in the US each day and about 98% basements experience some type of water damage during its lifetime [1]. The water damage can be devastating. According to the Federal Emergency Managements Agency (FEMA), an inch of water can cause all the way up to $25,000 in damages [2]. The competitive products that are available in the market can only detect water, but fail to measure the rate of water rising or take any preventive measures. Current state of the art is that the homeowner installs a battery powered backup pump to avoid switch mechanism failure. This is where the proposed solution will have consumer value unavailable in the market. The product will not only alert the user about a potential issue with the primary pump in case of a failure, but also take proactive action to stop the flooding. Constraints that apply to the product include detection of water and measure the rate of water, an alarm that is triggered whenever the water level exceeds a user defined level, must be under $80, backup battery for power outages, must be able to communicate with the mobile application, must be able to turn on the pump if the primary switch fails. The proposed solution includes an ultrasonic sensor and a power relay in parallel with the primary sump pump float switch. Adding redundancy as a parallel system can help prevent the flood in case of switch failure. Ultrasonic sensor is utilized to measure the water level inside the sump pit continuously. A Raspberry Pi is used to perform the calculation using the speed of sound. The system also contains a power relay to use as a bypass switch in case of primary switch failure. The microcontroller sends a voltage signal when it detects the water is at a certain level and the primary switch does not kick on. Additionally, the system comes with two humidity sensors should the ultrasonic sensor be down for whatever reason. The relay only gets energized if both of the humidity sensors come in contact with the water in absence of the ultrasonic sensor. The system is paired with a smartphone application interface that works for both iOS and Android. In terms of application development, gives a more defined layout and lets the developer work more so on the backend of development. Focusing on backend development should be the most important part of the project, as the package comes with an already customizable interface. With the interface out of the way, it leaves more time to focus on the algorithms to calculate water flow rate and monitoring functions. The application provides important information to the homeowner about the status of the basement in addition to the push notifications in order to keep the homeowner informed in case of an emergency.

Hancock, N. S., & Khan, S. H., & Watson, K. J. (2021, March), Proactive Basement Flood Monitor Paper presented at 2021 ASEE North Central Section Conference, University of Toledo, Ohio.

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