Float switches and liquid level sensors play an important role in applications across many industries. While they are used for detecting, measuring and monitoring liquids and other fluids, it’s their reliability that make them perfect for both the simplest systems as well as the most demanding applications.

Making a purchase decision however can be tricky since there are several factors that could change what type of float switch or level sensor you should select.  In this blog, we’ll go over some of the things to keep in mind as you evaluate the options.

What Will You Be Measuring / Monitoring

The first thing to consider is how the float switch or level sensor is going to be used. The job that it will be doing and where and which medium will be measured, are all very important factors. Using the wrong switch in an environment could cause it to fail and larger issues to occur. And this is no simple matter when you’re talking about dangerous situations where lives are put at risk.

For example, in the oil and gas industries, liquid level sensors are critical for safety as emergency shut-offs that could prevent a chemical spill or explosion are activated as soon as these sensors detect the presence or absence of liquid at any given time.

Another type known as, “continuous level measurement,” measures liquid levels in real-time. When it comes to applications like boilers, these switches can prevent overflows. Low level liquid detection can also stop a system from breaking down and even keep pumps working efficiently.

Where Should the Switch / Sensor Be Located?

Next you’ll want to think about where the switch or sensor will be located. Placing it on the outside or inside of a tank and even which direction it will be facing, will change depending on accessibility and the medium being measured.

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Plastic float switches are suitable for tanks where only water is being measured but, once that liquid changes to something dangerous or flammable, the switch will need to be stainless steel.

Accessibility to a tank will determine whether you should select a vertical or horizontal float switch. In instances where you can’t access the sides of the tank, vertical, or side-mounted float switches, are the best choice. These are mounted through a hermetically sealed hole on the side of a tank.

However, when the top or bottom of the tank can’t be accessed, vertical fluid switches are a better choice because they are mounted in two parts. First, the stem is put either at the top or bottom of a tank or vessel along with a float and reed switches on the inside that send signals to the outside of the tank when the levels of the float and reed switch align.

SMD Fluid Controls offers sensors ideal for an array of applications and uses including corrosion-resistant level switches, non-contact ultrasonic models, and more. Contact us today to speak with one of our switch and sensor experts to find a solution to fit your needs. Speak with a PRO!


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