My Sump Pump Float Switch Is Stuck On – What To Do?

Sump pump float switches are responsible for controlling the water level of sumps and sewages in your home. If this float switch gets stuck, flooding could occur in your basement. So, we researched what you should do if this happens, and here is what we gathered.

When your sump pump float switch gets stuck, you can do the following: 

  • Move or tap it lightly with a broom handle.
  • Check your pump for accumulated dirt and debris and clean it.
  • Use a piggyback plug so you can manually turn the pump on and off to test for defects.
  • Replace your float switch if the damage is too severe.

Keep reading as we discuss why your sump pump needs a float switch, why it gets stuck on, and the cost of repairing or replacing this component. Additionally, we'll also cover the types of sump pump float switches you can choose from. So, read on!

A sump pump installed in a basement of a home with a water powered backup system - My Sump Pump Float Switch Is Stuck On - What To Do

Why Do You Need A Float Switch For Your Sump Pump?

The float switch is the responsible mechanism in charge of turning a sump pump system on and off. It works with a tiny, floating attachment that moves up and down with the water level of the sump pit.

A float switch, a device used to detect the level of water in a tank. Water level sensor kept of the wire mesh over a well, flat lay image.

The float switch in the sump pit is raised as the water level rises. The mechanism turns on as it rises to a specific height. The sump pump shuts off once more as the water level in the sump pit decreases along with it.

What Causes Your Sump Pump Float Switch To Get Stuck?

A sump pump installed in a basement of a home with a water powered backup system.

When you experience your sump pump float switch getting stuck on the "on" position, it could be that the system becomes clogged, or the float switch becomes tangled up.

The pump might occasionally tilt over the side of the pit due to vibrations, which prevents it from working.

What Happens When The Float Switch Of Your Sump Pump Stays On?

Continually running will eventually burn out the sump pump's motor. If the float switch is stuck "on," or permanently positioned up above the rising water line, the pump won't know when to stop working because the water level is not being accurately detected. 

How Much Is The Cost Of Repairing A Stuck Sump Pump Float Switch?

Sump pumps with stuck floats cost homeowners between $100 and $175. As mentioned, there are a few potential problems if this happens. Either the switch is malfunctioning, or the float has become rusty or damaged.

You might also need to clean the system or need to change the float because dirt or debris may be interfering with it.

How To Replace A Malfunctioning Sump Pump Float Switch

Replacing the old sump pump in a basement with a new one to drain the collected ground water from the sump or pit

Following are some instructions for fixing a broken float switch. 

Retrieve The Sump Pump

  • Remove the sump pump unit from the pump basin. Disconnect the plumbing tubes to accomplish this.
  • To clean the device and the electrical wire of any extra dust, dirt, or rust, use a dry towel.
  • Take the sump pump plug out of the electrical socket.

Clean The Float Switch

  • To get rid of any extra grime that has become adhered to the sump pump, use a powerful hose to spray it.
  • Degrease the float. The float switch might malfunction if dirt and grime accumulate on it. With a different dry towel, remove any extra moisture.
  • Replace the sump pump and plugin. You'll need to swap out the float switch if it's still not operating correctly.

Take Note Of The Wiring

  • Once more, remove and unplug the sump pump. Remove the float cap on the sump pump. Depending on the maker and type of your sump pump, you might need to use a screwdriver to remove a few specific screws.
  • Make a diagram of the wires linked to the float switch inside the sump pump cap.
  • When you exchange the old float switch with a new one, you'll have to reconnect them in the same manner. By carefully drawing the wires away from the float switch, you can disconnect the cabling to it.

Replace The Old With A New Float Switch

  • Where it attaches to the cap, unscrew the float switch. In case your replacement float switch doesn't come with any, keep the screws just in case.
  • In the same location as the previous float switch, install the new one. Reinstall it with the screw.

Finishing Up

  • Clear the wiring of any dirt or rust. Attach the wires to the new float switch using the design you prepared as a guide.
  • Put the sump pump's float cap back on with a screw.
  • Reinstall the sump pump in the sump basin and reattach any plumbing and electrical lines that may have been cut off when you first took out the sump pump.

What Is The Price Of A New Sump Pump Float Switch?

Replacing a float switch on a sump pump typically costs between $100 and $150. If the pit is not draining properly and water is accumulating in it, you need to replace your faulty float switch.

Fortunately, replacing switches is a straightforward and affordable job because they are cheap and simple to install.

What Are The Types Of Sump Pump Float Switches?

There are four types of float switches you can use for your sump pump. These are:

  • vertical;
  • tethered;
  • diaphragm; and
  • electronic float switches. 

Vertical Float Switch

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The switch components (float, sensor rod, and switch) are enclosed in a tiny housing, attached to the sump pump's body or the discharge pipe.

Verticle switches have a predetermined depth, based on rod length, and are best suited for shallow basins. You would use a piggyback plug for this switch installation.

Tethered Switch

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This tethered float is equipped with either mercury or steel ball, that sinks as the float rises. When the weight sinks, the switch is initiated. You can adjust the detected water level by adjusting the cord between the float and switch -this gives a deeper or shallower range for the pump to trigger.

Tether float switches are best used in deep basins. Note that the cord can tangle on components inside the basin, so take care to troubleshoot the cord first if the switch is not initiating or staying "on."

Diaphragm Switch

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This switch is a fairly distinctive model as it does not float. Instead, diaphragm switches are triggered by pressure ensued as water fills the basin. They are small, best used in tight-quarters, and can be installed via a piggyback plug. 

Electronic Switch

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Electronic float switches new to the line-up within the past five years. Choose between probe-style or encased floating sensor style models. You can pre-set run times on most electric switches, setting controls from outside of the pump and/or enclosed switch.

How Does A Piggyback Plug Work?

A piggyback plug allows you to test the pump by plugging it directly into the main outlet -insert the pump cord into the female end of the piggyback plug. Plug the piggyback cord into the outlet. Now, you'll lear if the pump receives power without having to utilize the float switch. 

In Closing

Sump pit of waste water with waste water pump and level transmitter

When your sump pump float switch gets stuck, you can first try to gently tap it. Or sometimes, your float switch just needs a little cleaning to keep it working effectively. 

However, you can opt to replace your float switch if the damage can't be repaired. 

If you enjoyed this post, you can check out our other posts: 

How To Seal A Sump Pump For Radon

How To Install A Condensate Overflow Switch?

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