Float Switches for a sanitary sump

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by rwat54, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. rwat54

    rwat54 New Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    I have a sewage ejector pit that continues to have float switch problems. The original pump had an integral float switch that failed in about a 2 years months causing us to replace the pump. The next one came with a tethered float switch that failed in 18 months. We replaced the float switch with a diaphram switch that failed in a year. The replacement only lasted 8 months.

    Our sump is used as a flood control system using a backflow valve to prevent city sewage from backing up into the house during a flood. All waste water is handled by this pump. I think the contacts on the switches are being burned. Could this be because of the number of cycles or the load?

    Does anyone have an opinion on an electronic switch made by Wayne Pumps ($69 at Ace online)? It has a probe (single wire) that turns the pump on, a timer you set to empty your sump, and a high water probe that lets you know if the pump or switch has failed. The switch is rated by the sellers (pump.biz) for 100,000 cycles at 20 amps although the switch is labled 15 amp on its face.

    A previous thread started by a happy installer was posted in January 2007. I would like to hear a follow up from that guy to see if it is still working.
  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Dec 15, 2007
    Service Plumber
    I would use a good quality float switch. I'm no fan of diaphram or, electronic switches.

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  4. rwat54

    rwat54 New Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    Got the switch

    The diaphram pressure switches and the float switches (not mercury) have failed me before so I got the electric switch. This one is sold at as a warner pump AU5ES and from PumpBiz as the FF-98. Neither of them make the switch. The manufacturer is Mechanical Ingenuity.

    The current model has a single sensor wire. When water touches the wire the switch senses the ground and toggles the switch on. The pump remains on for a time you set. For a test I ran the sensor wire through the gasket that the piggyback wires come through. Works great so far. I still have not attached the wire permanently in the sump, it is just hanging for now.

    Things that I am still concerned about - 1) sensor wire is stranded tinned copper - will it corrode in the sanitary sump? 2) Can there be a spark from the sensor igniting gas (no gasoline down the toilet anymore)? 3) How reliable is the circuit board. 4) Switch is rated for 15 amps but I think my circuit is 20. I don't think the 3/4 hp draws more than 15.

    The original device had 2 wires - 1 to detect water to start pump and a second to detect high water - to alert for failure of switch or pump. The current model has only on wire and will detect a pump failure but not a switch failure. If the sensor remains in contact with water after the pump switch goes on then an alarm goes off.

    The mfg says the switch is protected from arcing (I think this is what is breaking all my switches). When water is detected the switch turns on but the power is delayed momentarily to prevent arcing.

    I'll update this as time passes to document the reliablity. What I wanted is a switch to work for 10 years, tells me when it breaks and is easy and clean to replace. I don't want to drain the sump and pull the pump to repair. I hope this works for me.
  5. bubb1957

    bubb1957 New Member

    Jan 9, 2007
    Northern Ohio

    I have been using the Au5es for about 2 years in my sump pump pit. It has not corroded, and it has worked flawlessly. I have ordered another one to keep on the shelf for if/when the current one goes bad. Very easy to replace and very reliable. Never have to worry about it even in a narrow pit. Its not a conventional switch, but it has outlasted the tether switches and vertical switches I have tried in the past.
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