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Skimmer reaction after power outage


Higher Thinking
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Hey all. If you have a sump that fills up where your skimmer is at when the power goes out, I could use your insight.

 

My sump is set in the skimmer and when the power goes out, the sump obviously fills up a good bit....no problem there because the skimmer is also off. However, when the system turns back on, the sump level does not drop down quick enough to not have the skimmer start overflowing. It takes about 2 or so minutes for the overflow to fill back up to normal running levels. While the sump is slightly overfilled and the skimmer is running, it will overflow until the sump is brought back down to its regular levels. Is this just the nature of the beast? I realize it would only happen during a power outage when I am away because I can manually keep the skimmer off if I'm there, but I am curious how everyone else deals with this.

 

 

 

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Probably not much help but I have my controller set to turn my skimmer outlet off if my high level float switch for the ATO is activated. Not sure how you could stop it from happening without a controller of some sort other than having a recirculating skimmer where water level doesn't matter

 

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How can you limit the amount of water that flows into the sump during a power outtage?

 

On my system I have check valve on return, and the loc line I have set very high in the water column so that the siphon is broken very quickly.

 

A controller would do the trick, but if you dont have one it really depends on how your return is setup. How does water get in to the tank when/if power goes out?

 

Its definitely not the nature of the beast, there are always ways around tank overflows when power goes out, or when main pump goes out, because its not a question of IF, more a question of WHEN...it's a great question that most people don't think about until after the inevitable happens.

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If your skimmer cup has a hose for the skimmate to drain into a bucket or other type of container, as long as it's capacity is enough to handle the overflow until the level in the sump returns to normal them you're all good. The only issue would be a slight change in salinity if you have an ato. My guess is that it wouldn't be too great a change and wouldn't cause a problem.

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Probably not much help but I have my controller set to turn my skimmer outlet off if my high level float switch for the ATO is activated. Not sure how you could stop it from happening without a controller of some sort other than having a recirculating skimmer where water level doesn't matter

 

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk

 

Yeah, unfortunately I don't have a controller. Maybe some day when I'm rich and famous.

 

How can you limit the amount of water that flows into the sump during a power outtage?

 

On my system I have check valve on return, and the loc line I have set very high in the water column so that the siphon is broken very quickly.

 

A controller would do the trick, but if you dont have one it really depends on how your return is setup. How does water get in to the tank when/if power goes out?

 

Its definitely not the nature of the beast, there are always ways around tank overflows when power goes out, or when main pump goes out, because its not a question of IF, more a question of WHEN...it's a great question that most people don't think about until after the inevitable happens.

 

This is good info Mandinga, thanks. My return line actually has a one way valve, but it doesn't work. I think it might be clogged or something. Whenever the power is cut to the pump, the one way valve just bounces up and down repeatedly. Like it wants to slam shut, but it keeps popping open. It is pretty loud and quite frankly, annoying. It just goes thud, thud, thud, at a rate of about 2 per second. Needless to say that water still slowly but surely moves from the DT down to the sump.

 

Because of this I need to keep the loclines pointed fairly high to help break the siphon, but it seems like this stupid broken check valve lets the lines keep a siphon for way longer than they should. I've seen both of them half way out of water and the pipe is still sucking enough water to keep the siphon. The water has to drop almost to the bottom of the loc line outputs to break the siphon. I could keep the lines higher, but I'm running a mag 18 and the flow is too strong to keep them too high without splashing or misting the sides. I suppose I could solve that issue by throttling back the mag since it is also attached to a gate valve.

 

On top of all that there is all the water in the overflow section. I think is honestly what gets me the most. Once the power goes on, the DT itself fills up and starts overflowing pretty soon. But the overflow takes a good couple of minutes to get filled back up. In the meantime, all that water is still in the sump causing the skimmer to overflow.

 

If your skimmer cup has a hose for the skimmate to drain into a bucket or other type of container' date=' as long as it's capacity is enough to handle the overflow until the level in the sump returns to normal them you're all good. The only issue would be a slight change in salinity if you have an ato. My guess is that it wouldn't be too great a change and wouldn't cause a problem.[/quote']

 

It's interesting that you mention this because I was thinking I would rather have it overflow into my tank than to dump out a bunch of water and screw up the salinity. I could be wrong, but I was thinking that salinity changes could be more devastating than having some excess nutrients. Although I guess it ultimately depends on how much overflow actually occurs. I haven't let it go continuously, but I imagine it might be a good half gallon on my system which is about 65 gallons of actual water. So yeah, probably not too much of a problem with salinity.

 

 

Thanks everyone for the feedback.

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If you want a lower cost option you could just run your skimmer on a relay connected to a float switch in the sump just mount the switch just above your regular sump water level that way if your sump water level raises say more than an inch higher than normal it will kill the skimmer. It would require one more float switch than my solution because its not tied into a controller but would be way cheaper and still accomplish the same thing

 

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If you want a lower cost option you could just run your skimmer on a relay connected to a float switch in the sump just mount the switch just above your regular sump water level that way if your sump water level raises say more than an inch higher than normal it will kill the skimmer. It would require one more float switch than my solution because its not tied into a controller but would be way cheaper and still accomplish the same thing

 

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk

 

Genius! Thanks for that bit of insight. I may do this. Like I said, it will only affect me if power goes out and I am gone (which luckily doesn't happen much here) but this would be a nice cheap additional measure of security.

 

Only thing that saves my bacon from this issue is that I have a DC skimmer pump so the slow ramp acts as a delay of sorts. The float switch idea is a good one though' date=' I'd chase that as a solution. May need to look into a delay on my RKL to be sure on mine :)[/quote']

 

Good point, man.

 

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On my system I have check valve on return, and the loc line I have set very high in the water column so that the siphon is broken very quickly.

A controller would do the trick, but if you dont have one it really depends on how your return is setup. How does water get in to the tank when/if power goes out?

 

+1. Check valves and holes in the return above the water line to break siphon. I only get a gallon or so more than the contents of the plumbing coming back down when the return shuts off.

 

Past that, my controlled handles the rest. I have a high, normal and low float switch in my sump all tied into my apex as well as some logic (defer 020:00 then ON) to tell the skimmer to always wait 20minutes before turning on. This allows my sump to return to a normal level before coming on. It's actually slightly more complicated than that, but happy to share when you get an apex. :)

 

 

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This is what I noticed in my setup. The higher the setting of my return pump, the water level is higher past the overflow in the display resulting in more water coming down to the sump when the pump gets shut off. The lower the return pump speed, the water level is at overflow teeth height and less water gets dumped back into sump when pump shuts off. So...just dial back the return pump and the water level in the dump shouldn't fluctuate that much when powers out.

 

 

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Just before the power back on your sump is at highest point it will drop as your main circulation pump start working.

So when you set your skimmer at middle sump level then it will overflow when your sump at highest point.

You can solve the issue by raising your skimmer using larger diameter pvc pipe as plat form or delay start your skimmer pump

if possible after main circulation pump running about 15 minutes and bring back the normal water level in the sump.

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They make a skimmer delay start timer. It will delay 5 mins after power restore before powering on the outlet. Barring a controller it's probably the easiest way to fix that problem. Can be used to power on anything you want delayed after a power outage not just a skimmer.

 

Reef Octopus delay timer. Click the icon not the name underneath.

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They make a skimmer delay start timer. It will delay 5 mins after power restore before powering on the outlet. Barring a controller it's probably the easiest way to fix that problem. Can be used to power on anything you want delayed after a power outage not just a skimmer.

 

Reef Octopus delay timer. Click the icon not the name underneath.

 

This is genius! Thanks for this bit of info. I might go this route.

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