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Sump Pump Switch - Review Your Options
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Do you wish your sump pump would stop failing because of the switch mechanism? No sump pump switch mechanism will function forever; however some types do last longer than others based on how they work and their environment. Review your options to see which sump pump switch is best for you.

Sump Pump Switch Types And How They Work

There are three basic sump pump switch types: the float switch, the diaphragm switch and the electronic switch. Each of these switch types has more than one design. Each of them functions differently, however with the same purpose - to activate the pump to remove water from the sump pit.

The Float Switch The float switch design includes the tethered switch and the vertical float switch. A tethered float switch has a float attached to a tether that hangs freely from the pump and floats on the water. The vertical float switch has a float attached to a vertical pole. The float can only move up and down on the pole. Float movement cause the switch to tirgger the pump to run. When the water rises in the sump pit, the float rises. When the water rises to a predefined height the switch triggers and the pump motor to turn on.

The Diaphragm Switch The diaphragm switch has a diaphragm (thin membrane) that change shape from convex to concave depending upon the volume of water in the sump pit. As the water pressure increases the diaphragm changes to concave and activates the switch which turns the pump on.

The Electronic Switch The electronic switch is a sensor switch that detects water. When water is detected at a predefined level, the sensor activates the pump to run. Some models include the electronic switch as part of the pump while others use a probe that is external to the pump.

What Factors Impact How Long A Sump Pump Switch May Function Without Failure?

The following factors are known to impact how long a sump pump switch may function without failure: the number of moving parts, the amount of room in the sump pit, the existence of chemicals in the ground water entering the pit, and the quality of material used in manufacturing the switch mechanism.

Number Of Moving Parts The number of moving parts can impact how long a sump pump switch functions without failure. The more moving parts the greater the chance for failure. The tethered and vertical float switches have the most moving parts. They have a float and a switch. The float can get caught or stuck. The point of contact between the float and switch can fail because of particle build up. The switch can become stuck 'on' causing the motor to burn out. These conditions will cause the pump to stop functioning. The diaphragm switch has no float; however it has a diaphragm and switch. A diaphragm will fail with age when the rubber becomes hard and fails to move up and down freely as water pressure increases and decreases. If a diaphragm gets caught in the concave position, the switch will stay 'on' causing the pump to burn out because it will run continuously even if there is no water in the pit. The electronic switches and digital controllers have no moving parts; however the sensors may become ineffective because of ground water chemical build up and eventually the electronic circuits and digital controllers will not function properly. Generally speaking however, mechanically operated parts will fail quicker than electronically operated parts.

Room In The Pit The amount of room in the pit can impact how long a sump pump switch functions without failure. The tethered float switch requires the largest sump pit diameter. Since the float hangs freely from the sump pump and moves up and in and out as the water rises, it needs room to move without getting hung up on the pit walls or the sump pump. The vertical float switch requires less room because the float moves up and down; however if the pump is placed too close to the basin wall and the pump moves during heavy operation, the float could get stuck on the basin wall. The diaphragm switch is highly unlikely to get caught or stuck on the basin wall; however a diaphragm requires more basin room than a sump pump with a vertical float switch. Electronic sensors need less room in the pit and have nothing that will be hung up on the basin walls.

Chemicals In The Ground Water Chemicals in the water can impact how long a sump pump switch will function without failure. Chemicals such as calcium carbonate can cause particle build up on all switch types including the electronic. Other water contaminates that can impact the functioning of a switch are chlorine, salt brine from a water softener or waste water from a washing machine.

Quality Of Material The material used in a sump pump float switch can impact how long a sump pump switch will function without failure. Not all tethered and vertical float switches are constructed from the same kind of quality material. Likewise the design, size and strength of these mechanisms are not the same. Some float poles are twice as thick as others. Some floats are twice as big and are more buoyant. Vast differences exist between manufactured designs.

Selecting Your Best Option

Now that you know how sump pump switches work and the factors that influence how long they may function without failure, how should the factors mentioned above guide you in selecting the best option for your situation?

You can ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Do you have a narrow or crowded sump pit? Avoid a tethered switch.
  2. Do you live in an area of the country where the ground water contains a lot of calcium carbonate? Avoid the electronic sensors unless you are disciplined enough to remove the chemical deposits from the sensor every few months.

Additionally you can ask yourself two more questions.

  1. Do you want to buy a cheap sump pump that needs to be discarded when the float switch mechanism fails?
  2. Would you prefer to pay twice as much for a sump pump that allows float switch replacement?

Discover which sump pump switches are available per manufactured sump pump. My website www.pumpsselection.com categorizes sump pumps according to switch type. Discover the switch type that is the best option for you today.

 


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