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Old 08-10-2008, 08:24 PM   #1
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Outlets behind the drywall for Sump Pump plugs?


I recently had two sump pumps installed in my basement on the exterior walls. The cords were run under the concrete and are behind the baseplate/studs of the wall... so, instead of running the cord out of the drywall and plugging into a normal outlet, I was hoping I could install something behind the drywall so the cord is hidden but easily accessible through an access panel. I need easy access in case of a power outage so I can plug the sump pumps into a generator.

My concerns here are heat generation but I'm not sure if it's enough to cause alarm. Is this even a sensible approach? Are there products specifically for this application?

I don't want cords visible since it'll be an eyesore or they can get damaged/unplugged.

Your thoughts?

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Old 08-11-2008, 01:33 AM   #2
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Outlets behind the drywall for Sump Pump plugs?


Just like a GFI for a Jacuzzi in the wall behind an access panel, you're fine. But 3 things you need to worry about.

1. The outlet near anything flammable ie: insulation, too close to sheetrock.
2. If the pump stays on a lot then the outlet can stay hot.
3. If you have those pumps on with other stuff in home.

As far as other idea, not sure at the moment.

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Old 08-11-2008, 08:52 AM   #3
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Outlets behind the drywall for Sump Pump plugs?


1. The area the outlet would be at is in a wall cavity that is well insulated. I was thinking I could section off that area by two horizontal 2x4 just to keep the insulation out of the way. The wall cavity would be about 5" Deep, from the normal 2x4 Construction and then a 1" Gap I left between the rear of the wall and the vapor barrier. It would be close to the drywall; however, it wouldn't be touching.

2. We had to get the sump pumps installed because we had 9" of rain in about two days... so, the pump will seldom come on. We do get the occasional hurricane that'll dump that much rain and knock out the power and that's why I need easy access.

3. The pumps will be on their own 20A Circuit and if the power fails, the pumps will be connected to a generator along with the refrigerator. If the power IS NOT out then the pumps will be running with a million other things.

Hope this clears some things up.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:20 AM   #4
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Outlets behind the drywall for Sump Pump plugs?


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Originally Posted by Eturnal View Post
I recently had two sump pumps installed in my basement on the exterior walls. The cords were run under the concrete and are behind the baseplate/studs of the wall... so, instead of running the cord out of the drywall and plugging into a normal outlet, I was hoping I could install something behind the drywall so the cord is hidden but easily accessible through an access panel. I need easy access in case of a power outage so I can plug the sump pumps into a generator.
Cords run underneath the concrete. What do you mean by this? Cords are not allowed to run underneath concrete. Certain cables can be run underground under concrete.

If your installation is up to code, just install a single receptacle flush mounted in the wall for each pump.
We would need to know the current rating of both pumps to advise you on the circuit capabilities.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:39 AM   #5
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Outlets behind the drywall for Sump Pump plugs?


They had to install a water diversion system which trenched all around the basement perimeter. Before they installed the pipework in the trench, they ran the pump cord under the pipes and against the wall, so when the concrete was poured, it was hidden from sight. There is about 4 ft. of cord coiled up above ground that I would have tucked into the wall.

I'll provide images and details on the pumps tomorrow.

Thanks for the replies thus far.
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:06 PM   #6
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Outlets behind the drywall for Sump Pump plugs?


The installation is not legal. Can't have the cords from the pumps under concrete, even though the receptacles are above the slab. You cannot conceal a receptacle or any box in the wall without providing reasonable access, such as a door or removable panel.
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:42 AM   #7
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Outlets behind the drywall for Sump Pump plugs?





So the wire is under the concrete and I guess that's against the law in Virginia? Does it need to be in a conduit? I'm not entirely concerned with that at the moment as I can make a call and have it taken care of (I hope)... But, I need an idea on how to hook this baby up to power in the mean time and after the problem is fixed.



Is this a viable option? The studding is only 2x3 at this point in the wall and I was thinking about having a 20A run into a junction box, with the female end of an extension cord connection to the 20A Circuit. This would give me an easy way to connect the sump pump to a power source and still have easy access if I need to plug it into a generator via an access panel. So, should I try this or is there another option?
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:13 PM   #8
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Outlets behind the drywall for Sump Pump plugs?


I would think that the way you are proposing to use the end of an extension cord idea would be more of a violation than just putting in an outlet box inside the wall.

How do you plan to replace the pump when it fails and needs replacing? I've seen it happen, its got moving parts inside it and it WILL eventually fail and require replacement.

I have seen in some basements where a small cabinet is built around the pump where the drain plumbing and outlet are enclosed (and therefore out of sight) but with an access panel big enough to reach in, unplug the pump and replace it in the event it fails. I can't say if this is even a "code legal" solution, because technically the cord and plug are concealed behind a wall, but with an access panel. I would think this option would be better however than running the cord under the concrete slab and up through a wall. I'd just build a small cabinet in that corner, with the space above the pump hole being at least 2 feet tall to accommodate replacing the pump; then put in like some shelving above it or something.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:15 PM   #9
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Outlets behind the drywall for Sump Pump plugs?


This is a illegal installation. As said above "you cannot bury cords and you cannot feed receptacles that are in the wall with cords". It's too bad you waited to let them pour the concrete before you came here? You need to re wire the whole installation. Sorry
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:25 PM   #10
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Outlets behind the drywall for Sump Pump plugs?


If you had just used a standard duplex to plug in to you could have removed the cord when you needed to use the generator.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:45 PM   #11
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Outlets behind the drywall for Sump Pump plugs?


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If you had just used a standard duplex to plug in to you could have removed the cord when you needed to use the generator.
Yea, I think that's what we might need to do although we wanted to stay away from exposed wires so kids or pets don't accidentally unplug the wires. The sump pumps are located in two planned to be finished rooms.

So, now that I need to get this fixed... how do I go about finding out the code for this installation? What am I violating and how do I reference that when talking to the installation company? Is it at a county level, state level or federal level?

Looks like this is going to be a bumpy ride... thanks for everything thus far.

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Old 08-19-2008, 02:23 PM   #12
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Outlets behind the drywall for Sump Pump plugs?


UPDATE: I called and spoke with the county about this install and they said the company should've gotten a permit for this work. Permits come with inspections (I guess) and I don't remember an inspection, so I guess there was never a permit. I called the companies main office and the first question I asked was if they obtain permits for every job: The girl said "Yes"... so now I'm waiting for them to respond. I can't imagine this being a huge job to fix? Just break up some concrete, move the wire and have it feed from the top, then patch your holes. Also, the company is a multi-state company so I doubt they'll resist or fold over this seemingly small fix.

Now, the wife and I will have the wires plugged into the walls for the pumps... in one room we're going to get the pump covered with carpet. Can the wire run under the carpet for about 8 inches?

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