A flow switch is a mechanical switch that is switched on or off in response to the presence or absence of flow of fluid through it. Reed Switches are used in flow switches to detect a set value of flow. Flow Switches can be manufactured to either operate in a normally-closed or a normally-open form.
A sail switch, vane switch or flow switch is a mechanical switch that is switched on or off in response to the flow or non-flow of a fluid such as air or water. A sail switch typically operates through the use of a paddle which gets displaced due to the force of fluid moving past it. Sail switches find application in the detection of fluid flow and measurement of fan speeds. A sail switch might be used to protect a central heating system electric heating element from being energized before the air flow from the blower is established. Sail switches might also be used to alarm if a ventilation fan in a hazardous location fails and air flow has stopped. For some HVAC systems, a sail switch can activate an electronic air cleaner, a humidifier, or other equipment in response to airflow from the system fan.