Why Sump Pump Float Switches Fail

The sump pump is your main defense against a flood and when one small piece does not function properly it can have drastic consequences. The switch is one of the most important, and often times most overlooked, pieces of the sump.

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When homeowners are waterproofing their basement, they discover many different factors to take into consideration when choosing the right sump pump system. They look at the size of the sump pit, whether the system is made with cast-iron or not, and how powerful the pump is.

And while all of these things are important factors in designing a reliable system, it’s extremely important to not overlook the value of an effective sump pump float switch.

Why Is A Float Switch Important?

The float switch on a sump pump is the mechanism that is in charge of turning the sump pump system on and off.  It operates with a small, floatable attachment that will rise and fall with the water levels in the sump pit.

As the water level rises, the float switch is lifted in the sump pit.  As it’s lifted to a certain height, the system is turned on.  As it lowers again with the lowering water level in the sump pit, the sump pump turns off once again.

The problem occurs when this float switch fails to rise, or becomes stuck in the “on” position.  At these times, the sump pump will either fail to turn on or will be unable to turn off, which will eventually burn out the motor.  Either way, you can expect a flood in your basement during the next rain.

Three Models Of Sump Pump Switches Compared

Many homeowners are surprised to find out that there are several different possible models of switches available for sump systems.  The one you choose may drastically affect the reliability of your sump system when waterproofing your North Carolina basement:

Horizontal Sump Pump Float Switches

These switches use a float switch attached by a chain or floating arm.  As the water level rises, this free-floating system rises with it, activating the sump pump.  These systems can snag within the sump pump easily, whether on the side of the liner, or on part of the system, causing failure.

Diaphragm Sump Pump Switches

These switches are immersed underwater, and instead of having a moving float switch, these systems use a pressure-gauged diaphragm system – one that detects the water pressure and flips on when ready.  These systems are among the most reliable, but they’re also the most expensive option by far.

Vertical Sump Pump Float Switches

These switches operated on guided vertical rods, which limit the “wandering” of the float switch and greatly reduce the chance of the system becoming snagged or jammed within the sump pit.  Given its low cost and high reliability, this is the recommended option for your system.

The sump pump is your main defense against a flood and when one small piece does not function properly it can have drastic consequences. The switch is one of the most important, and often times most overlooked, pieces of the sump. It’s very important to get a lasting sump pump float switch, as the float switch tends to be the first part of the sump pump to break.

If you have a wet basement in Charlotte, call in the professionals! At Dry Pro Basement Systems, we use only top-quality, cast-iron SafeDri™ sump pumps in each of our award-winning systems.  A great amount of thought, research, and on-the-field testing has gone into each element of our system – so you can be sure that your basement is kept dry all the time!

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