Hi, I have a highly critical GFI outlet (building code requirement) that is responsible for powering a lift station. Outlet failure or tripping of the GFI results in grey water flooding in a residence. I have leak or water sensors in place, but that is after flooding has begun, I would like to be more proactive and remediate the power failure before flooding even begins.
Does anyone have a suggestion or solution for triggering automation based on an accessory “No Response” state?
I tried (and failed) with automation routines that monitors power consumption of a small fan plugged into a VOCOlinc PM1 outlet and notifies me with a flashing light and a looping HomePod alert message. That works brilliantly.
Unfortunately I have not found a way to trigger automation following a loss of power to the accessory (“No Response”). I’ve tested the following outlet PM1 parameters as triggers: “RSSI”, “Power On”, “In Use” and of course as stated earlier, “Watts” (or power consumption). Each of these failed to trigger the automation when the PM1 outlet lost power.
The solution does not need to rely on an plug accessory. Any sensor or accessory that could be used to trigger automation due to “No Response” would be acceptable.
Use any mains powered device connected to the GFI circuit and trigger like this:
If I were in your shoes I’d do two things. First, you could have an extremely unsafe condition and should call an electrician to troubleshoot the GFI issue. GFI breakers trip if there is power leaking to ground. The GFI is telling you there’s a short to ground somewhere and this could be a very unsafe condition. It could also be a breaker malfunctioning.
Second, since this is a critical circuit, Look for a device that monitors mains voltage and is backed up by a battery. Could be as simple as an arduino/esphome project using a voltage divider to reduce mains voltage to less than 3.3 so it doesn’t fry the electronics. Then use a cheap usb power bank to keep it active when power is cut.
You could also go as far as a UPS to run the lift pump. This could do two things. It would run the lift pump when power is cut and you could use a raspberry pi to monitor it with NUT-UPSD which would then report the outage to home assistant.
I’d highly recommend finding why the GFI is tripping.
Thank you for the feedback Your suggestions are very helpful and I will give it a go.
BTW: The failure happened only once, but as you can imagine with grey water, once is more than enough.
I did have the original electrician (new home) come out and evaluate the outlet and breakers. Everything was fine, and it was suggested the event was a “nuisance” or “ghost” trip (can be caused by static electricity, nearby lightning), but as a precaution it was replaced. We do have a whole house, natural gas Kohler backup generator that automatically starts when power is lost, so there is virtually no risk from that perspective.
They have a big issue with lightning causing GFC nuisance tripping in Malaysia as they dont use an MEN eathing system. I was asked to design a GFC that would try automatically resetting 5 times before staying off I said “no”.
If it’s a gfci breaker, leviton makes a smart gfci breaker. I’ve never used one so idk about compatibility with HA.
Reading more about these they have no wired connections, i.e. it needs a special panel and cannot be used in a typical residential panel.