1996 - Volume #20, Issue #4, Page #36[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Smoke Detector Doubles As Water DetectorYou can modifiy an ordinary smoke detector so that it doubles as a water detector to help prevent damage in flooded basements, well pits, laundry rooms, bathrooms, around water softeners, etc. Here's what you do: Sol-der the ends of two long pieces of insulated copper wires to the electrical contacts on the detector's "test" button. Strip a half inch of insulation off the other end of each wire and lay the ends down wherever you think water might be a problem. The alarm will go off whenever water contacts the bare wires, completing the circuit.
In my basement I run the wires down to the drain so that if the septic pump ever quits the alarm will go off as soon as water starts to come up the trap. I also use it on a well pit equipped with a submersible pump that's about a hundred yards from my house. If water ever floods the well pit it doesn't get more than 1/4 in. deep before the detector goes off. It can prevent a big mess caused by a rusted pipe fitting or a failed joint.
The modification doesn't affect the smoke detector's ability to detect fires at all. (E.M. Storch, RR 4, Mannville, Alberta, Canada T0B 2W0 ph 403 763-2214)
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