A float pump is a device that automatically turns on and off based on the water level in your sump pit. It is most commonly used to control the operation of a sump pump in your basement, but can also be used for other applications such as rainwater or wastewater collection or industrial washers.
The basic float switch uses a hollow body with an internal ball that pivots on the end of a cord attached to it. As the float rises and falls in the sump pit, it moves the internal ball and creates a closed circuit that triggers the pump when the water reaches a pre-set height.
Float switches are available with either a Normally Open or a Normally Closed electrical configuration. The difference between the two is that a Normally Open switch stays open when the float is down and then closes as it rises. A Normally Closed switch remains closed with the float down and opens when it rises to a pre-set level.
The important thing to remember when selecting a float switch is that you need to choose a float switch that will match your pump’s horsepower rating. Using a lower rated float switch than the pump requires will shorten the life of the switch.
When selecting a float switch you should also pay attention to the connector style and length as these are important for both electrical safety and ease of use. The best float switches have piggyback style plugs so you can simply plug them into outlets and then connect the pump to the back connector on the float switch. This eliminates the need for splices in wet environments and greatly reduces the chance of a failed pump due to improper wire connections.