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Old 03-15-2016, 02:51 PM   #1
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Refugium flood prevention idea

Good Day,

I'm wondering if anyone has tried this idea concerning overflowing a refugium. I know and understand several ways to prevent flooding in the event of a power outage...a check valve on the return line, siphon breaks, keeping the water level low enough so the refugium can handle the water...etc...

For the feed from the overflow box using gravity, has anyone ever used an irrigation solenoid? There are solenoids that when you do not have power, they are closed and do not allow flow through. But when you have a small current, maybe about 12 Volts, the valve stays open.

So if power is on and the pump is working, everything is good. If the power fails, a check valve prevents back flow from the return pump line and then the solenoid closes on the inflow line.

For added protection, if the pump fails (NOT FROM BEING CLOGGED), you can splice the pump wires to wire running to the solenoid, and it should close the solenoid valve.

Anything you can think of that might be an issue?

Thanks!
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Old 03-16-2016, 12:04 AM   #2
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If loss of current to the solenoid should occur for whatever reason (or if the solenoid simply fails) and the return pump is still running, then you might a big mess on your hands if the volume of water from the sump is enough to overflow the DT. If the sump runs dry the return pump may burn out.


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Old 03-16-2016, 05:10 PM   #3
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I agree and that is one of the things I'm taking into consideration. If the solenoid malfunctions, the cost would be a lot less if it floods the area where my tank is. Unless of course it started a fire and burned our house down. That would suck.

From the research I've done via speaking with some plumbers and reading, the type of solenoid I am looking at is pretty reliable.
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:52 PM   #4
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I'm trying to visualize your setup. I assume you must be planning to have your return line output well below the surface of your tank. I'd think any time you add a mechanical or electrical element to the mix there'd be a risk of flooding. If I didn't want to risk a flood, a simple overflow to the refugium/sump and return with at least some of it dumping out at the surface (probably all of it in my case) and eliminate the risk altogether.
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Old 03-21-2016, 02:16 PM   #5
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Here are pics. I decided to use a solenoid that when power is lost, it will close - it's also on the same circuit as the return pump on a GFI/surge protector. I've tested it several times and ways and it seems to work...so far. But I do use an overflow (I don't have a sump) from the DT to the fuge and then pump back up to the DT. There is definitely some risk to this but the water level from my fuge would be so low to prevent a flood that it really would not look good or be of any use as a refugium.

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Old 03-21-2016, 06:15 PM   #6
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I'm still wondering, is there a reason you don't have your return line output at or very near the surface of your main tank? If the return is at or near the surface, or even if you put a small hole/jet at the surface so air draws on a power outage, the only back flow to the refugium would be the water in the return line if I am visualizing your setup right.
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Old 03-21-2016, 07:36 PM   #7
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The return is just on the other side of the overflow. It does has small holes to break the siphon. That would be the backflow and I actually have a check valve so that part would not flood. The overflow is gravity driven so if the power goes out, that one goes until the water line goes beneath the overflow lines - can't use a check valve because the water keeps flowing in the same direction. With the solenoid, if the power goes out, it closes immediately and blocks the flow going into the fuge.
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:51 PM   #8
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I think you're setting yourself up for disaster here! At the very least I'd run two of those solenoids in line for a little added security.
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:55 PM   #9
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Hope not but I guess time will tell. Don't want to put more than 1 because when the power goes off, that's when the valve closes and I would want the flow to stop going into the fuge. When the power comes back on, the valve will open, the return pump will restart, and then everything should go back to normal.
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Old 03-22-2016, 03:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekean45 View Post
Hope not but I guess time will tell. Don't want to put more than 1 because when the power goes off, that's when the valve closes and I would want the flow to stop going into the fuge. When the power comes back on, the valve will open, the return pump will restart, and then everything should go back to normal.
Right. But having 2 solenoids in line will enable your idea to keep working when one solenoid inevitable fails at some point in time!
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