It’s Not Just a Float Switch: Reliability

Mid Range Ultrasonic Level IRU-6429 GIF


float switches matterWe often hear this: “I need your cheapest float switch.” While we applaud the initiative to find a good deal, we often worry that trying to save a few dollars on a float switch may end up costing our customers thousands.

Float switches are simple devices. All that is involved is a float body, a switch, perhaps a magnet, and some wire - not very complicated. We can understand not wanting to spend several hundred dollars on such an item. But there is a reason such expensive float switches exist.

It’s All About Reliability

In some industries, float switches are used as a backup for pump control in critical applications. If the primary system fails, it is all up to that float switch to save the day. For example, our Kari float switch is often used as a backup to shut off a pump in case of a high-level alarm to prevent overfills.

Overfills at lift stations or on chemical/fuel tanks can be expensive. Not only can it cause serious damage which can cost tens of thousands of dollars for only minor incidents, but there are often fees and penalties tacked on by regulatory agencies that also range in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Now with that in mind, which float switch would you rather have as a backup alarm for a lift station – a $10 or a $100 switch? With over $10,000 on the line the price difference between the two doesn’t seem so big anymore.

Neither are we advocating that you buy the most expensive switch you can find. A float switch made of exotic metal alloys, available with Wi-Fi, and a cup-holder isn’t exactly going to do the job any better than a solid well-crafted float switch.

How To Find A Quality Float Switch

We recommend reviewing the specifications of the float switch closely. Make sure the materials will be compatible with the liquid and other conditions in your vessel. Also, many manufacturers will list the number of switch actuations you can expect from a sensor for its life.

Take time to review the manufacturer’s warranty. If the manufacturer isn’t willing to warranty its product for very long what does that say about its quality?

Finally, ask around. Many experts in your industry, whether it is chemical, oil and gas, or water and wastewater, may have a lot of experience with a variety of brands and models and will be able to send you in the right direction.

If you have questions about picking the right float switch for your application, feel free to give us a call. We will be happy to help.

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