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chas1022 10-01-2012 08:38 PM

2 pole GFCI
I bought an older home. It has an irrigation system for the lawn. The pump is 240 volt and is powered by only 2 wires, no neutral or Ground wire from a 20 amp 2 pole breaker. I would like to replace the old breaker and install a 2 pole GFCI 240 Volt breaker. Is this OK or must I run new conductors.

mpoulton 10-01-2012 10:54 PM

That's a great idea, and will definitely make it a safer installation. You do not need to run new wire. However, 2-pole 20A GFCI breakers are uncommon and tend to be very expensive. If the pump is close to the panel, it may be cheaper to run new wire with ground rather than install a GFCI breaker. Also be aware that the GFCI may instantly trip (or at least occasionally trip) from a ground fault that you don't know is already there. Of course it's just doing its job and shutting down a hazardous situation, but it may create a lot more work for you if you discover that the pump motor has an internal fault. If this happens, don't just switch back to the non-GFCI breaker - fix the fault! Few GFCI trips are really "nuisance" trips - it's usually a real ground fault that just hasn't killed anyone yet.

Just to be sure... The pump isn't fed by two wires in metallic conduit, right? Because if so, the conduit is the grounding conductor and there's really no need to do anything to improve it as long as the conduit is intact.

chas1022 10-02-2012 08:39 AM

Thank You for your responce to my question.
No metallic tubing, Pump is not grounded in any way. Really a dumb way to install the pump. There is a motor starter relay and a 240 volt manual switch located at the pump. I thought that a GFCI breaker would protect every thing. GFCI 2 pole 20 amp = $145.00. Cheap if it saves a life.

mpoulton 10-02-2012 11:21 AM

Go for it. If it trips, then you'll probably have to replace the pump. But that's a better way to discover a ground fault than by leaning against the pump while it's running.

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