Vertical Vs Tethered Float Switches - Plumbing - DIY Home Improvement | DIYChatroom

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Old 04-27-2009, 08:59 PM   #1
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vertical vs tethered float switches

I've been reading here about vetical float switches vs tethered on a sump pump - the concensus seems to be that the vertical switches are better 'cause they're more reliable.

I installed my backup pump this weekend - old system had a tether - ran for about 3 years - switched on @ 12" and off @ 4" - the new pump has vertical switch - on @ 8" and off at @4" - about half the travel of the tethered switch.

I take it the new pump will cycle roughly twice as often as the old - so I'm wondering if this is a good trade-off (better quality switch, but will I burn out the new pump sooner?)
Right now (wet spring weather, last of the snow melting away) the old pump cycles about 2 or 3 times an hour. In a heavy rain it can run every 5-10 minutes. Thinking the new pump is going to get a workout in the next heavy weather. Should i be really worried?

New pump is a Diamond (Wisconsin) - cast iron w/ stainless steel motor housing - 3 year warranty. Not the cheapest but not the best.


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Old 04-28-2009, 05:47 AM   #2
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If there is nothing in the sump to prevent the float from swinging freely, they should work just fine. The floats on rods can bind up, so neither is more reliable than the other, IMHO.


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Old 04-28-2009, 05:57 AM   #3
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This is not a question about tether versus vertical but rather a question about how much you can adjust the turn on level and turn off level.

OT: Occasionally the rate of rise in the pit (the sump) varies because the water table level is somewhere in the middle. Namely the sump fills up rapidly to about halfway and much more slowly thereafter. You would want the turn on point quite high to take advantage of the time delay it takes to get that high before the pump turns on. You would not want the turn off point so low that it takes an inordinate amount of pump run time to get down that far.
The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.

Last edited by AllanJ; 04-28-2009 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:27 AM   #4
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thanks for the replies

thinking now - if the rate of rise varies as described (and the top half of the pit fills more slowly), would it make sense then to raise the entire pump ( the vertical switch on the pump is part of the pump assembly) up a bit, so that it turns on somewhere past the pit's "slow down" point? Or could I just get a separate vertical float switch altogether - leave the pump at the bottom and hang the switch a bit higher - and not even use the integrated float switch?

hope i'm making sense...?

Last edited by rtoni; 04-28-2009 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:46 PM   #5
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Leave your pump sitting low. The fact that it is submerged won't hurt it at all. In fact sump pumps that dry out from the water level dropping below their base have shorter lives in some cases. They are made to run in water and don't run well or very long in open air.
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Old 04-28-2009, 01:21 PM   #6
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I am a bit puzzled. Your post states this is a backup pump. By definition, a backup pump only runs if the primary pump fails. By that definition, your backup pump should not run at all, unless the primary fails, in which case why are you worried about the float switch setting?

If on the other hand your "backup" pump is in fact working in parallel with your primary pump, then you have a different situation entirely. Are the pumps in the same pit, or are they in separate pits? A little clarification would help immensely.
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:15 PM   #7
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i screwed up - calling it my "backup" pump - should have said "spare" pump (it's just a 2nd pump I kept on hand in case the one in the pit fails - then I swap them out). In that sense it's my backup, but I see how I confused the post with my wording. My apologies....


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