Frequently Asked Questions
Q. "How does a VLFS (variable level float switch) work?"
A.Variable level float switches normally come with a piggyback plug that is plugged into an electrical outlet. The outlet should be a grounded receptacle equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter. The pump plug is then plugged directly into the female part of the piggyback plug. The float end of the cord is normally attached to the pump discharge pipe, a short distance from the float itself, creating a tether to allow the float to move up or down with the water level. The tether length can be as short as 6" and as long as 36" as long as it can move freely up and down with the water level. When the float rises with the water level to the distance predetermined by the tether length, the float activates a switch internally allowing electricity to flow through the piggyback plug to the pump cord turning the pump on. When the water level decreases, as water is pumped out, the float lowers and shuts off the power to the pump when it reaches the bottom limit of the tether length. Since automatic pumps usually have their own integral float system, variable level float switches should only be used on non-automatic pumps.
Q. "What's the difference between an automatic and non-automatic pump?"
A. An automatic pump has a built in float switch that will turn on the pump automatically at a fixed water level. After the water is pumped out to certain water level (a preset level), the pump will turn itself off. A non-automatic pump has no integral switch, and so would turn on when plugged in, and off when unplugged. A non-automatic (manual) pump can be made to operate automatically by using a separate control like a piggyback float switch (variable level float switch) to provide a switch with flexibility for pumping range adjustments.
Q. "What is a manual pump with an Automatic Sensor?"
A. A manual pump with an automatic sensor is basically a pump that includes a built-in sensor. That sensor shuts the pump off when no water is detected. The pump should be placed on a hard surface in water before plugging it in and starting it. Once you start the pump, it will siphon water until there is no more water left. As soon as the the sensor detects the pump is no longer pumping water, it will automatically shut-off. The pump then turns on every 3 minutes after for 5 seconds pumping water out if necessary. The pump will automatically shut off again once all water has been pumped out.
If there will be no water to be pumped after the pump shuts off automatically the first time, then the pump should be unplugged. These pumps will operate continuously either partly or fully submerged. However, extended use in a partially or non-submerged situation can cause the pump to overheat since water helps to dissipate heat off the pump. The pump will shut itself off until the motor cools. Repeated overheating can cause damage to the pump. These pumps are not designed to be used with a float switch and are not to be left plugged in over long periods of time.
Q. "What is a vortex impeller and what does it do?"
A. A vortex impeller handles debris better than other impellers, therefore, helps to prevent the pump from clogging. Below is an example of a vortex impeller.
Q. "What does the automatic reset thermal overload protection do?"
A. If the pump gets too hot the thermal overload protection will turn it off until the pump cools down (to prevent damage to the motor). The pump turns back on after it has cooled down enough. This backup protection feature is useful if some debris causes the pump to overheat.
Q. "What does it mean by 'dewatering'?"
A. The pumps are called dewatering pumps because they are made to remove water and pump it somewhere else.
Q. "What's the advantage of a double seal over a single seal pump?"
A. The double seal pumps have an extra internal seal to provide extra added protection to the motor in case the primary seal should ever fail. The extra seal also improves the bearing lubrication helping to eliminate bearing and seal damage from accidental dry runs.
Q. "Why is it called a submersible pump?"
A. These pumps are designed to be placed directly in the water. They draw the water up from the bottom of the pump.
Q. "What does 'effluent' mean?"
A. Effluent is the term normally used in the dewatering industry to mean any waste material in a liquid form.