If there was one product that I think is crying for some connected smarts, it would be my sump pump. I say this because I’ve had one fail while I was at work, causing more than $5,000 in damage and destroyed items about a decade ago. And recently, I almost experienced the same problem, this time due to a pump that was nearly burnt out. Now, there’s a new solution to this problem: The $449.99 Wayne Basement Guardian Halo1, available directly from the company or on Amazon.
No, it may not be as glamorous as my connected colored lights that synchronize their output with a video game or TV program. But I’d argue a connected sump pump is far more useful. And although the cost is more than double what I’ve previously paid for a “dumb” sump pump, I think it’s more than worth it for the right homes.
For example, the Halo doesn’t just use sensors to track water levels in a sump. Inside Halo is an IoT controller made by Grid Connect, which measures electrical signals inside the pump mechanism. This helps predict potential breakdown issues of either the electrical system or other components. That way, you can address the problem before you have the bigger problem of a failed pump when you need it the most.
Halo also includes a mobile app to view historical and real-time data such as the operating history, current activity, and the water level inside the sump pit. In our house, we use a more “old school” method, which isn’t nearly as informative or reliable.
When we think about it, we listen for the low hum of the sump pump running. Or we look outside to check for water discharge. Frankly, I feel stupid about doing either of these things because they don’t really provide that much information.
And what little info they do provide is only available when we do these manual checks. They don’t tell us how much water is in the sump pit nor if the pump is working too hard.
That won’t help us prevent another disaster. But the Halo can, giving us time to mitigate the problem.
How would I know if there’s a clog in my water discharge pipe using my current method? Unless I can compare the water flow from the pump to the end of the discharge pipe, I can’t.
Halo measures water flow so it can alert you to a possible clog in the pipe, something I also dealt with once before. (Thanks a lot, squirrels!). And it monitors the sump water levels through an interesting approach.
“The Basement Guardian HALO uses a patented Air Switch, instead of a mechanical flow switch, to sense the water level in the sump pump pit by detecting a pressure difference'” according to the company. Yeah, my big-box store basic dumb sump pump doesn’t do that.
As much as I like the mobile app aspect, I like the alternative notifications even more.
Often, I’m the only one in my house to install many of the required smart apps. That means I’m the only one that gets push notifications from them when there’s an issue or something to be looked at. The Halo app supports notifications via text message and email alerts, which makes it easy for the whole family to know we have to act fast to avoid a flooded basement.
Since Halo uses WiFi, there’s no bridge or hub needed for installation and usage. It’s a simple connection to your home network, although I know getting a wireless signal in some basements can be a challenge.
It also works with Amazon Alexa, which can save me a trip to the window to check on the water flow or other not-exciting but important information about the sump pump.
Again, this isn’t a glitzy connected product. But I haven’t been this excited to test a new smart home device in quite a while! Look forward to our review once my loaner smart sump pump arrives.