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Old 09-26-2011, 12:19 AM   #1
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GFCI for outdoor sub-panel (pool)


Hi,

I live in Ontario. I'm going to wire my new pool. The plan is:
- 40A/230V GFCI in the main panel inside the house
- 20A/230V non-GFCI breaker in the sub panel outside for pump and chlorinator
- 15A/110V non-GFCI breaker for other equipment (heater, light, utility outlet)

The question is - is this ok with the code to just have the GFCI breaker in the main panel? I read somewhere that each branch must have its own GFCI but that does not seem to make much sense.
Are there any other "gotchas" in the code? Do I need a separate interrupter or is the sub-panel considered enough (this is the AquaLink RS sub panel).

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Old 09-26-2011, 12:48 AM   #2
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GFCI for outdoor sub-panel (pool)


That would be code compliant in the US (NEC), and probably is in CA, but there is a potential problem: GFCI's trip from very little current. Running long lengths of GFCI protected cable almost guarantees nuisance trips due to current leakage in the cable (capacitive coupling to ground, technically). This is especially true for underground cables. Add in the normal miniscule leakage within the equipment connected downstream, and you've got a recipe for frustration. That's why nobody GFCI protects entire panels. GFPE would be a different story, since it has a ~8x higher trip current, but that doesn't satisfy the code requirements for a pool.

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Old 09-26-2011, 12:53 AM   #3
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GFCI for outdoor sub-panel (pool)


Thanks for your reply. In my case the main panel is in the basement about 15' cable length from the sub panel so I guess I should be fine in this respect.
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:04 AM   #4
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GFCI for outdoor sub-panel (pool)


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Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
That would be code compliant in the US (NEC)....
Not quite. If there is an underwater light present, you must have a GFCI device in the branch circuit. GFCI protection of feeders is not sufficient to comply.

See 680.23(A)(3)
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:26 AM   #5
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GFCI for outdoor sub-panel (pool)


There is a GFI inside the light transformer.
My concern was that I read somewhere that the GF protected wiring can not occupy the same enclosure or conduits with unprotected wires. Would this not apply to the main panel too?
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:16 AM   #6
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GFCI for outdoor sub-panel (pool)


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Not quite. If there is an underwater light present, you must have a GFCI device in the branch circuit. GFCI protection of feeders is not sufficient to comply.

See 680.23(A)(3)
Interesting. I can't see what the point of that rule is, except that they may not have considered that anyone might put the GFCI upstream of the branch circuit.
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:54 PM   #7
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GFCI for outdoor sub-panel (pool)


They put that rule in there for a reason.

Maybe to ensure continued GFCI protection in the event that an original installation of a feeder-protected GFCI might be bypassed due to nuisance tripping ...

Or something like that.

Who can fathom why those idiots on the CMPs implement the rules that they do? When many of the rules are the results of political pressures and intense lobbying efforts of special interests industries?

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