Newly Designed Electronic Water Level Controllers Provide Significant Benefits

In the early 1990s, the first electric water controllers appeared on the market to help industry professionals accurately and reliably track water levels in cooling towers, waste water tanks, boilers, irrigation lakes and other large capacity water systems. They were hailed as a great advance in technology versus the original “toilet tank” float design.

Engineers soon realized that these new water controllers were not designed for long-term use. Although they were more accurate than their predecessor, problems soon arose. These new units had no intuitive user interface to enable operators to easily verify operation or trouble-shoot when problems arose.


With no built-in diagnostics function, it was impossible to identify the cause of the failure or even which parts had failed. This meant that the entire unit had to be replaced at considerable expense.

Another cause of potential poor durability with the electric water level controllers was the use of high voltage (up to 600 volts) in a wet environment. Use of high voltage in a wet environment causes electrical parts to fail quickly and often. Sensing probes rusted at a fast rate which would cause inaccurate readings. Water with high mineral content would often plate to the probes causing failure.

Electronic Design Increases Reliability

Solid state electronics in new electronic water level controllers help to eliminate the durability problems found in earlier electrical models. The only moving parts in the new models are the relays, which can be easily tested and inexpensively replaced by any electrician or skilled operator. This advanced modular design eliminates the need to replace the entire unit—creating considerable savings over the lifetime of the unit.

Solid state electronics also enable the use of extremely low voltage (less than 1 volt). This minimal voltage is safer and helps to minimize or eliminate the rusting, mineral fouling, plating and deterioration of the sensor probes—significantly extending the useful life of the electronic water level control. In most cases, the total lifetime cost of operation, and replacement parts, for the new electronic water level controller is less than the original “toilet tank” float design.

Integrated electronics now controls all functions of the relays. It enables operators to easily verify proper operation with a simple visual scan of the LED lights associated with each function. The integrated firmware and dry-contact digital circuitry allows the new electronic water level controllers to easily and quickly connect to building automation systems for continuous monitoring. As a result, the new solid state electronic water level controllers with integrated electronics now offer hassle-free installation, superior performance and minimal cost of operation for many years (much longer than the lifecycle of original electric designs).

What to Look for in an Advanced Electronic Water Level Control System

Whether you’re a specifying engineer, service technician or building maintenance supervisor, here are the key features to look for when selecting your next electronic water level controller:

  • Solid state electronics - no moving parts or mechanical floats to break or rust will help ensure extended life, durability and easy, trouble-free maintenance
  • Advanced modular design – saves money by making it easy to replace individual parts instead of replacing the entire unit
  • Dry-contact digital circuitry – helps make it easy to integrate with existing building automation systems
  • Easy to install – helps save time and labor costs with a quick-connect design (should install in less than 1 hour)
  • LED indicator lights – helps make it easy to quickly view the current status of all functions
  • “Press to Test” feature – one push of a button starts a complete validation cycle to ensure all systems are working properly
  • Reliably accurate – compensates for wave action and manages water levels to within 1/8” of operating range which helps conserve water
  • Built to last - minimum 15 year average duty cycle with 1% failure rate if installed and operated according to manufacturer's specifications
  • Warranty – look for a minimum of 5 years on all major components
  • Superior tech support – find a source or service provider where you can talk directly to experienced staff. Ask difficult questions so you can decide the company’s level of competency with the technical aspects of installing and maintaining the water line controllers.

Recommending, specifying or installing an electronic water level controller with the above features will help guarantee hassle-free installation, superior performance, providing satisfied users and low-cost operation for many years.

Article courtesy of Waterline Controls.

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