What Causes a Float Switch to Fail
Float switches can be used for a variety of different industrial and commercial applications. Depending on the intentions of the user, there are different types of float switches and they can be configured in a number of different ways. For sensing the liquid level in a tank or chamber, one of the most common types of float switches is the magnetic reed switch.
While these switches are very reliable for industrial applications, they can fail. When they do fail, it can cause a malfunction or damage equipment. As with any piece of equipment, a float switch will have a limited operating life. However, if the switch is used properly and maintained, there is no reason that it should not last for many years.
When it comes to the failure of this type of float switch, it generally comes down to certain common causes. These causes include the incorrect configuration of the switch, poor maintenance, using a float switch that is not designed for the purpose or using a float switch that is not properly rated for the application.
For problems that involve incorrect configuration and maintenance, the solution is going to come down to the specific float switch and the setting in which it is being used. You will need to refer to the product manual for the switch and for any equipment that it is being used in conjunction with. Make sure to follow the proper installation instructions and perform any maintenance that is recommended.
It is a similar situation for situations where the design of the float switch is incorrect for the intended application. Depending on the application, you may need a switch that is made from a different material or a switch that is made with a specific mechanical configuration. Even the wrong type of switch may work in the short term, but it is going to be much more likely to fail or malfunction.
Another common problem is the use of a switch that is not rated for the intended purpose. A specific float switch will be rated to handle a set electrical load. If the load exceeds the rating of the switch, the heat can damage the contacts in the switch and cause it to malfunction. It could destroy the leads and make it so they will no longer come together or it could melt the contacts until they fuse and make it so the circuit cannot be interrupted by the switch.
On a long enough time line, any switch will fail, but premature failure usually comes down to some form of misuse on the end of the user. To ensure that a float switch performs reliably, you need to make sure to get the right switch for the job, to configure it correctly and provide it with any maintenance that it may need. FPI Sensors can help you with that!