How to Change a Float Switch on a Sump Pump

How to Change a Float Switch on a Sump Pump: 5 Steps [DIY]

Last Updated on July 16, 2023

The float switch is a key component of the sump pump system, and it helps detect flooding in the tank and automatically turns the on or off the pump. If you’ve noticed that your float switch isn’t functioning correctly, it may be time to change it with a new one.

Changing out a sump pump float switch is a relatively simple process if you have the right tools and supplies. Carefully unplug the existing unit, remove the old float switch, attach the new one, and test it.

By replacing it, you can ensure that your sump pump works properly and quickly, protecting your home from water damage. We’ll uncover essential tips and tricks for swapping out a faulty float switch and identifying common faults with the device.

How to Change a Float Switch on a Sump Pump: Easy 5 Steps

Float Switch on a Sump Pump

One crucial part of a sump pump is the float switch, which can wear down over time and need to be replaced. Replacing a float switch is something you can do yourself relatively easily if you follow some simple steps.

Step 1: Gathering Materials

Before you begin replacing your float switch, it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary materials. You’ll need the following:

  • a screwdriver (preferably Phillips head),
  • a needle-nose pliers
  • some electrical tape
  • a new float switch

The size of the replacement should match that of the original. Consult with your owner’s manual if you are uncertain which size you require.

Step 2: Unplug the Sump Pump

Before beginning any work, always remember to turn off the breaker that provides power to the outlet where your sump pump resides. Unplug the sump pump from its power source with the power turned off.

This will prevent any shocks or damage from accidentally occurring during the process. Use caution when handling any electrical components, including the existing float switches, wiring, and other related equipment for this installation job.

Step 3: Removing the Old Float Switch

Locate your sump pump’s float switch in whichever location it may be (the most common place for them is near or inside of the sump basin itself). Once found, use either a screwdriver or pliers to remove any screws holding the cover plate over it so that you can access its wires and connections.

Then disconnect all of those wires carefully with pliers. Set aside any screws that were in place so that they can be reused with your new switch. Make sure that no exposed copper wiring remains after removal.

Step 4: Attaching the New Float Switch

Now comes the time to install your new float switch. Begin by stripping any plastic coating around each wire from your new float switch and taping it securely around each wire individually with screws or bolts. This will help protect against electric shock if there are leaks in power lines later on down the line.

Connect each bypassed electrical wire one at a time back up into the place where it belonged before being removed. Again, use either pliers or screwdrivers, depending on the connection. Replace any screws and tighten them down, making sure everything is secure.

Step 5: Test Your Sump Pump

After replacing your float switch, plug your sump pump into an electric outlet. Test your sump pump to make sure that it is operating properly again. If everything looks good after testing, you have successfully replaced your float switch.

What Are Common Faults on Float Switch?

What Are Common Faults on Float Switch

Float switches are important in many industries because they can accurately detect when a liquid level has reached a certain point. However, like all equipment, float switches can suffer from faults that render them unusable.

1. Mechanical Wear or Damage Due to Poor Maintenance: 

Float switches are susceptible to wear and tear due to poor maintenance. Corrosion and rusting can be caused by leaving the switch exposed to wet environments and insufficient cleaning and lubrication. Debris build-up in float channels is another problem that affects the accuracy of the switch’s measurements.

If a mounting bracket or float arm is not correctly installed, it may lead to issues with the switch’s operation. Checking cable connections for any damage or faulty connections is vital to ensure the switch’s correct operation.

Stuck float switches can also occur due to a lack of maintenance; this requires careful inspection and regular cleaning for the switch to function correctly again.

2. Electrical Problems Due To Incorrect Configuration: 

When configuring a float switch for use, all electrical settings must be correctly set up in order for it to work properly. Otherwise, this may lead to electrical problems such as short circuits or overloads resulting from incorrect fuse configurations or improper wiring connections.

Similarly, voltage output and impedance settings must be set correctly, or these can cause further issues with the operation of the float switch.

3. Environmental Factors: 

Environmental factors such as temperature variation or exposure to heat can cause issues with float switches if they are not designed for extreme temperatures. Vibrations and shocks can also be damaging if they occur continuously over time.

Similarly, chemical pollution and contamination should be avoided wherever possible. If present, these should be checked regularly in order to prevent any potential damage caused by such substances reaching the float switch mechanism itself.

How Do You Know If Your Sump Pump Switch is Bad?

The best way to detect a bad sump pump switch is to listen for any strange noises or vibrations coming from the pump or to observe whether the pump activates when it should.

If the sump pump doesn’t activate when the water level nears the top of the pit, then you can assume your switch may have a problem. Additionally, if your sump pump constantly runs even though there is no water to be pumped, then this could also indicate an issue with your switch.

Can Sump Pump Float Switch Be Replaced?

Can Sump Pump Float Switch Be Replaced

Replacing your sump pump float switch is not difficult. It typically involves disconnecting the old switch from the sump pump, then connecting the new switch to the same wires.

Depending on the switch type and submersible sump pump’s model, you may need to remove additional parts or coverings to access and properly connect the new switch.

The manufacturer’s instructions should provide detailed guidance for installation. If you are uncomfortable performing this task yourself, hiring a professional plumber is recommended to ensure your new float switch is installed safely and correctly.

Where and How to Find a Sump Pump Switch?

When finding the right sump pump switch is difficult, our comprehensive review of the best sump pump switch made your search easier. You can easily find your perfect sump pump switch with different models.

For those needing a sump pump switch, there are a variety of places one can purchase them. You can find these products in both brick-and-mortar and online stores.

When purchasing a sump pump switch, some important factors to consider. You should look for switches that are rated for the specific motor size they require based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.

In addition to this, it is important to ensure that the switch fits the sump pump correctly by double-checking specs such as voltage, amperage, and horsepower requirements. Most high-quality sump pump switches come with integral thermal overload protection to ensure that motors do not overheat during operation.

Why is Your Sump Pump Float Not Turning Off?

The float arm in your sump pump controls when it turns on and off. When the water rises in the sump pump pit, the float arm activates the switch, turning on the pump motor. When the water level falls again, the float arm should also turn off the motor.

Sometimes a stuck float arm or faulty check valve can cause this process to malfunction and cause continuous running of your sump pump. Other possible culprits include a float switch disconnected from its motor, a defective motor, or faulty components wiring.

What Happens When a Float Switch Goes Bad?

What Happens When a Float Switch Goes Bad

When a sump pump float switch has gone bad, it can cause serious problems, as it can no longer sense when water levels have risen. This can lead to flooding and water damage as the pump will fail to turn on when necessary.

If the pumps continue constantly running even when no water is present, they can overheat or cause premature failure. Other issues include irregular cycling, excessive noise or vibration, or inconsistent performance.

To avoid further damage caused by a faulty float switch, inspect and repair it as soon as possible by a certified technician.

Upgrade Your Sump Pump Float Switch to Avoid Water Damage

If your float switch isn’t up to snuff, it might be time for an upgrade. Malfunctioning sump pump float switches can cause various issues, ranging from water damage and overheating to premature pump failure and disruptive noise or vibration.

By following these simple steps for changing out your float switch on a sump pump, you can ensure your basement stays dry and protected from flooding and water damage. Though replacing the switch can take some time, doing so will help you avoid paying expensive sump pump repair costs due to malfunctions.

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