The unwanted waterflow alarms are caused by the fact that the VS-SP does not 
have a retard and you are getting water surges because you are connected to a 
municipal water supply and have some air pockets in the sprinkler system.

They are called unwanted alarms, not false alarms. The device is doing what it 
is supposed to do, activate on a flow of water. The problem is there is 
supposed to be a retard to prevent the alarms caused by water surges.

The solution is to replace the VS-SP with a flowswitch that has a retard. This 
would be much less expensive and much easier than trying to vent all air out 
through saddle valves. 

It is possible that if there is a check valve or BFP that can hold pressure in 
the system that the unwanted alarms will eventually stop after there are enough 
surges to build system pressure up higher than the supply pressure.
However, when you test the system, you will relieve all built up pressure and 
you'll be back into the unwanted alarm issue.

I'm guessing you never had unwanted alarms before because it was either never 
tested or somehow there was no trapped air pockets in it to allow for surges. 

The data sheet for the VS-SP specifically says that it does not have a retard 
so it should not be used on systems with variable pressure water supplies 
except in cases of elevator recall. The VS-SP was designed specifically for 
elevator recall and sprinkler systems supplied by a pump & tank.

Flushing the system or letting it flow through the test valve will not 
eliminate ALL the air pockets, even if the test valve is at the most remote 

Change the flowswitch to the correct one.

Kind Regards,


Mike Henke CET
Sprinkler Product Manager

Potter Electric Signal Company, LLC
1609 Park 370 Place, St. Louis, MO 63042
phone: 800-325-3936   |   direct: 314-595-6740   |

-----Original Message-----
From: Sprinklerforum [] On 
Behalf Of Barry Levine
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 12:01 AM
Subject: Seeking false water flow alarm suggestions

I drained all the water from my pipes when I installed a new water 
filter/softener system in my home. After installing the new system, which 
replaced some 3/4" pipe with 1" pipe in my home water system, I have been 
getting false alarms from my Potter Electric Signal Co VS-SP flow sensor. I 
flushed my sprinkler system using the drain and the test valve, yet I believe 
some air pockets may still remain in my two areas of coffered ceilings, where 
the sprinklers sit 1 foot above the rest of the system. Potter recommends 
replacing the VS-SP with a VSR-ST. I'd prefer not spending the money to replace 
the sensor, but I'd like to hear from the professionals before I make that 
decision. I'm thinking there may be other solutions, especially since I never 
had any false alarms during the previous 20+ years. Possibly I could attach 
saddle valves between each of the two sprinklers in the two coffered ceilings 
and bleed the air out. Unfortunately, I've never had any long-term luck with 
saddle valves, as they have all become inoperative over time. I've attached a 
photo of my water system in case that might be helpful. Feel free to ask any 
questions or offer any solutions. Thank you.

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