Best Sump Pump Float Switch – How To Find It

Does your current sump pump float switch leave something to be desired? Does it fail too quickly? Does the cut on and cut off height cause the pump to run too frequently? I faced all of these issues and want to share how I learned to deal with them and how I found the best switch.

Float Switch Expectations

My expectations were too high. I expected pump switches to last as long as cast iron pump housing. After reading many sump pump blogs by home owners who complained about the short life of switches, after talking with manufacturers who admit float switches are prone to quick failure, after talking with plumbers who make money on homeowners who do not replace their own switch, I concluded rather than complain how short the life of a switch is, I needed to learn how to plan for sump pump float switch failure and find the best one for my water pumping needs.

How To Find The Best

The first thing I did was answer questions regarding my water situation; then I reviewed the available options. It became obvious which option was best suited for my water pumping needs.

Existing Water Situation

Here are the questions I answered to understand my existing water situation. The answer to the following questions led me to find the best float switch solution for my water pumping needs. I am sharing the list with you so you too may find your best solution.

  • Is your house located in a high water table area where heavy rain storms occur frequently? Does your pump run even during a dry season more than once an hour? A factory preset float switch turn on and turn off setting does not work well because the turn on may be too low and there may only be a three to four-inch difference between turn on and turn off.
  • How big is your sump pump pit? Do you have a battery backup and primary submersible sump pump sitting side by side on the sump basin floor and they just fit in the pit? Two pumps means there are also two discharge pipes in the pit leaving no room for a tether float switch.
  • Is the ground water in your sump basin murky, and contaminated with brine or chemicals? Not all sump pump switches handle a pH factor or calcium carbonate well.
  • Are you on a tight budget? It is more economical to replace a float switch than discard the pump when the float switch fails. Not all sump pumps have replaceable switches.
  • Are you a do it yourself homeowner who chooses to replace the float switch? Hiring someone to do the job every two or three years becomes costly. Some switches are easier and quicker to replace than others.
  • How much water must be pumped per minute to handle heavy rain storms? Not all float switches work with a 3/4 horse power pump. The operation factor is dependent upon the number of motor amps the pump requires.
  • Do you like the idea that if your switch fails during an emergency you can plug the pump directly into the wall socket and manually control how frequently it runs? Not all sump pumps have a piggyback float switch allowing you to manually operate it.

Know What Is Available

Of course the most common pumps are those with the tether, vertical float, the diaphragm switch or the electronic controller already mounted to the unit; however, are you aware that a manual pump can be converted to automatic by plugging the motor into an external piggyback switch controller? Surprisingly an automated sump pump with a piggyback switch can also use an independent switch by bypassing the attached float and plugging the motor into the piggyback controller of the external switch. Using an independent switch has many advantages including the flexibility of height placement in the sump pit.

The double piggyback variable level float switch offers the most flexibility. The pump turn on and turn off position can be set according to the home owners pumping situation. Since it is attached to the discharge pipe it is easy to replace. Removal of the pump from the pit is not required. Water contaminates do not affect it.