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I operate an AP facility as part of my middle school science program.  The system was running supergreat last school year, until there was a power outage, then it was a disaster.

My principal will purchase an alarm system.  I am in very rural northeastern NM, I have some limited experience with a Sensaphone system from prior employment, but I don't know if they have to be hard-wired to a phone line...

My thought is to purchase an in expensive alarm to plug in, if power fails it will alarm with a loud sound.  The Sensaphones are programmed to start making phone calls if the sound level changes, so it would start calling a phone list until someone arrived to turn off the alarm.

Does this sound like a good plan, does anyone else do anything differently?

Strangely, we do have a back up generator at the school, but for some reason when this particular power outage occurred, it tripped the GFI.  That had never happened before, despite weekly power outage/generator tests.

I switched the system over to a non-GFI outlet after that happened, but now I want to alarm that supply.

Any help/advice greatly appreciated.  Obviously, we have to do this an inexpensively as possible.



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I would keep the GFI if at all possible, especially in a public environment. Also, for short term power outages a simple UPS for a computer will keep your air pump going for hours, even days. That will keep the fish alive. Obviously someone comes around on a regular basis to feed them? So a longer term / more complex solution is probably not necessary. you can also plug your pump into the UPS if it is a small system.

Thanks David, I did not know about this type of power supply, thank you, I'll look into it.

Happy Holidays Deb,

You can make a very simple alarm system that will cover many aspects of your system.

There are automatic dialer systems that are hard wired into the phone system with a battery backup.

You can add in series relays that would make a circuit and set off the alarm. 

One would be to have a thermostat in your fish tank that would be a normally closed switch when the water temp is good and would open the switch if the temp gets too high or Low (one thermostat for each event).

A relay plugged into the same power socket as your pump/heaters that again would be normally closed and would open upon power failure or tripped circuit breaker.

And if you wanted to get really fancy you could add a moisture sensor on the floor in the event of a water leak.

You could find all the components on Ebay or Amazon.


A battery backup like David mentioned is a good idea. This could be a good project for your class..  I have my water pump and air pump on separate circuits with GFI on each in case one GFI faults too.

Craig and Jeff, 

thanks for the feedback, I like the idea of making it a project for some students

I had the same issue with a GFI popping when we got a power hit. Fortunately I have battery backup on my aerator but not on the pumps. Any recommendations on a UPS? Size? Brand? Thanks. 

In the video I think they used a UPS that had a dead battery and modified it with a larger battery. The size UPS you need would be determined by your power load (I'm assuming) and how long it would last would be determined by your battery size.
Michael Welber said:

I had the same issue with a GFI popping when we got a power hit. Fortunately I have battery backup on my aerator but not on the pumps. Any recommendations on a UPS? Size? Brand? Thanks. 

There are automatic-reset GFI's that do come back on after a power outage... but they don't automatically reset if the they are tripped by a ground-fault: Automatic Reset Right Angle GFCI

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