Sump Pump Float Switch

Repair or modification of Boston Whaler boats, their engines, trailers, and gear
User avatar
dg22
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:06 pm

Sump Pump Float Switch

Postby dg22 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:14 pm

Who makes the best cockpit sump float switch?

I need a sump float switch that is well sealed as our lake has a lot of sediment.

TFrere
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:16 pm
Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Bilge Pump Float Switch

Postby TFrere » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:44 pm

In addition to my 1985 15’ Whaler Sport, I own a 38’ Morgan sailboat with two bilge pumps. I used to buy the Rule caged switches, but I would replace them at least once a year because they would fail. I tried the Sure Bail caged switch about four years ago, and I haven’t replaced it yet. The Sure Bail has a mercury switch while the Rule is mercury-free.
1985 15’ Sport with Yamaha F70

Oldslowandugly
Posts: 400
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:19 pm
Location: Queens NY

Re: Bilge Pump Float Switch

Postby Oldslowandugly » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:07 pm

When I used to use float switches the RULE mercury switch never failed. Newer switches with the ball failed regularly.

Mercury is rarely used as it is toxic.

I now use a Johnson electronic water-sensing switch. After five years of perfect performance all it requires is wiping the slime off the contacts once in a while.

jimh
Posts: 6774
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: Sump Pump Float Switch

Postby jimh » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:35 am

The original 1990 float switch in my Boston Whaler boat cockpit sump still works fine. The second float switch I installed in the aft live well about 10-years ago works fine. I think they are RULE products and use a ball inside; I can hear it moving.

I do not know which manufacturer makes “the best” float switch. I don’t know what the criteria are for assessing the switches. If still working after 29-years is not good enough, maybe there is something better. But how do you test a float switch? Do you wait 40-years to see if it fails?

dtmackey
Posts: 366
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:29 pm

Re: Sump Pump Float Switch

Postby dtmackey » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:45 am

In one of my boats I'd get 2 - 3 years out of the Rule float switch before it'd fail. My guess is the banging of the hull in rough seas would bounce the switch around causing premature failure. The concern with that is you didn't know of the failure until you came back to the boat and there was standing water where you didn't want it.

I took the recommendation of someone with the same concern and they told me to buy a Water Witch switch and I'm on year 6 with no problems. There are no mechanical or moving parts to fail.

https://waterwitchinc.com/bilge-switches/

The company only designs and sells bilge sensor and switch related items.

D-

User avatar
dg22
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:06 pm

Re: Sump Pump Float Switch

Postby dg22 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:43 am

My boat is used for 3 months in the Summer and almost every year or every other year I run into problems with my float switch usually toward the end of the Summer. Last year I purchased a Rule float switch and it worked the entire summer but then became faulty this Summer -- the float switch would intermittently turn on which would drain my battery. Since I leave my boat at the cottage during the week, I would not notice this. At first I thought my battery was bad so I replaced my battery but the problem continued of course. I eventually figured out it was the float switch intermittently turning on even with the float switch down. Our lake has a lot of sediment and tannin in it. I'm thinking it is getting into the switch and then causing problems with the ball bearing.

Thanks for the feedback. I think I'll try one of the electronic switches and wipe clean the contacts once in a while.

User avatar
dg22
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:06 pm

Re: Sump Pump Float Switch

Postby dg22 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:03 am

dtmackey, which model of the water witch did you buy?

Oldslowandugly
Posts: 400
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:19 pm
Location: Queens NY

Re: Sump Pump Float Switch

Postby Oldslowandugly » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:37 pm

"Our lake has a lot of sediment and tannin in it. I'm thinking it is getting into the switch and then causing problems with the ball bearing."dg22 the switch should be water-tight. Nothing is supposed to get into it. I think the ball rolling around is just a poor design. I know mercury is not used anymore because if the switch breaks the mercury gets out and causes lots of problems. But I think it was a superior design. Aside from keeping it clean I have had no problems at all with the electronic switch.

jimh
Posts: 6774
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: Sump Pump Float Switch

Postby jimh » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:02 pm

All these reports of float switch failure have me worried.

As soon as it stops raining I am going aboard to check the float switches.

svsonora
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:18 pm

Re: Sump Pump Float Switch

Postby svsonora » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:08 am

I got an electric field sensor on my sailboat and never looked back. nothing will ever get stuck and cause the switch to fail. I'll be installing this on the whaler as well.

https://www.hodgesmarine.com/Whale-Elec ... B&click=19

dtmackey
Posts: 366
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:29 pm

Re: Sump Pump Float Switch

Postby dtmackey » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:04 pm

dg22 wrote:dtmackey, which model of the water witch did you buy?


I have the model 230 which is rated to 20 amps, but if you run a smaller pump (1500GPH or less) then the model 217 switch is fine.

D-

User avatar
dg22
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:06 pm

Re: Sump Pump Float Switch

Postby dg22 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:16 am

dtmackey, thanks, the 217 model sounds good for my smaller pump.