If your sump pump is the manual type that does not include the integrated float switch, and you’re tired of replacing this switch due to failure, here are a few things to consider: While the quality of your pump is important, it's useless without a reliable switch.
The type of switch you choose will depend on your basin, your water table, and your pump. Modern technology has introduced some great new options in the world of sump pump switches.
Piggy-Back Float Switches
A piggy-back plug is one that features prongs on one side and an additional outlet on the other. Look at the number of power cords coming from your sump basin. Is there one cord or two?
If there are two cords, you likely have a piggy-back plug. The benefit of these is that you can unplug the cords from the wall, separate them, and plug the pump directly into the outlet without the switch - allowing you to test the pump by itself.
Tether Float Switches
A tether float switch features a float tethered to the pump and is more common with sewage pumps or larger basins. As the water rises, the float rises, causing the tether to flip the switch and turn on the pump.
Once the water level drops, the float drops, loosening the tether, releasing the switch, and shutting off the pump. These are fine for larger sump pits but may get caught on the basin wall or on the pump itself in some cases, rendering it inoperable.
Vertical float switches work similarly to a tether switch, but they slide up and down on a vertical rod rather than being loosely tethered. These are more practical for smaller basins where a tether float could get stuck.
They work well in confined spaces but still rely upon a float, which can be compromised if the float is punctured and takes in water.
Electronic switches are the best of the best. They're the cutting edge of innovative pump switch technology, and the future of sump pump switches.
These will have piggy-back plugs that you plug into the wall outlet. You then plug the pump into the back of the switch plug. There are no moving parts for most, but rather an internal sensor that detects the water level. When the switch is triggered, it transfers power to the pump, turning it on. As the water level drops below a certain spot, the switch is triggered again, cutting power to the pump.
This type of switch takes up the least amount of space and is exceptionally reliable as long as it has the recommended power source and the pump amp rating meets the switch requirements.