Bilge Pump Float Switch - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 25 Old 12-10-2011 Thread Starter
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Bilge Pump Float Switch

Is one of those in a little box by Rule. It's been sticking on intermittently. I plan to replace it, I'd like to keep the old one as a spare. I hope that silicone spray will loosen it up, or maybe a good washing. Anyone ever rehab one of these?
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post #2 of 25 Old 12-11-2011
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One of these? I would throw it away and get another - it's not worth the risk of a dead battery or a burned out pump if it sticks.

There are electronic switches without moving parts that are more reliable.
Like this Johnson Pump Ultima Auto Float Switch for example.
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post #3 of 25 Old 12-11-2011
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I helped another boater replace his switch. Removed the old and installed a new switch. After cleaning the old one worked perfectly and he keep it as a spare, Make sure the amp rating for the switch is correct for the pump. Dan S/V Marian Claire
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post #4 of 25 Old 12-11-2011
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I would throw it away and use an electronic switch like the water witch....I am on year 4 with one, and I have never had a rule anything last more than a year...especially the new crap. You can replace it, and the replacement may be worse than the one you had.

wasting your time and batteries trying to rebuild or repair...
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post #5 of 25 Old 12-11-2011
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What would the spare be for? Would you reinstall it and walk away overnight? Would you try to wire it up in the open water for emergency? I would not want a broken pump for either.


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post #6 of 25 Old 12-11-2011
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+1 on throw it away.

The sad fact is that most float switches are crap. They will all fail. Those with movable parts like the Rule will fail sooner rather than later.

The electronic ones are better, but they will eventually fail, too. And, they are very susceptible to being "tricked" by oil/grease which seems to collect on the contacts. I used them for years (two at a time), replaced them every few years when one failed, and finally gave up after two of them failed at the same time: one in the open position (wouldn't start the pump) and one in the partially closed position (constant draw, but not enough to start the pump).

Finally, I bit the bullet an installed the only reliable switches I know of: the Ultimate Senior and Junior pumps, with high-water alarm. They'll set you back more $$$ than you'd like, but you won't have to worry again. And, you'll likely not lose your boat or suffer damage from high water levels and a failed pump switch.

FWIW,

Bill
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post #7 of 25 Old 12-11-2011
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i never leave power on my bilge pump,my boat has no signifcant leaks , in the event of a catastrophic failure your boat is sunk pump or no
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post #8 of 25 Old 12-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sawingknots View Post
i never leave power on my bilge pump,my boat has no signifcant leaks , in the event of a catastrophic failure your boat is sunk pump or no
A keel stepped mast will routinely put water in the bilge and, for better or worse, many refrigeration systems dump the condensation into the bilge. Best to have a full time operating pump.

Thankfully, I've never had a catastrophic failure. However, I've found countless small leaks in hoses and fittings over the years that would have added up over the week.

On the other hand, we close every seacock that is not necessary while we are away. The only left open are for the AC/dehumidifier intakes and drains. Come to think of it, I don't close the shaft seal or scuppers either. Maybe I should start.


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post #9 of 25 Old 12-11-2011
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IMHO, not having a full-time automatic bilge pump is a considerable risk. I wouldn't like to tell my insurance company that I'd turned off my bilge pump and my boat sank!

There are many things short of "catastrophic failure" which can and do sink boats, or cause significant damage from high water in the boat. Some people leave a hose connected to their fresh water systems. They believe that their safety devices like pressure regulators and volume counters are all they need. Those are boat sinkings just waiting to happen.

Shaft leaks are another problem area, as are deck leaks, cockpit drain leaks, port leaks, deadlight and hatch leaks, and other leaks which build up over time.

Even with a fast inflow of water, a working bilge pump will buy some time and will alert any neighbors or dock personnel passing by to a continuously running bilge pump.

Bilge pumps should be properly installed, carefully maintained, and left on when you leave the boat. It is also a very good idea to have a very loud high water alarm....loud enough to alert neighbors and dock personnel.

Bill

Last edited by btrayfors; 12-11-2011 at 12:19 PM.
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post #10 of 25 Old 12-11-2011
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My bilge is divided into 3 because of watertight bulkheads so pumps are a bit complicated but my spare sensor switch for the engine room is already wired in parallel with the lower down #1. Alarm switch is separate. Doesn't make anything fool proof but may help if #1 should fail open.
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