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Old 10-07-2008, 03:37 PM   #16
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new gfci on new circuit pops


other than the install-a-new-pump approach, is there any way to test the pump for leakage (other than sticking my hand in the sump pit - I'm not as adventurous as Dalziel's volunteers...) - sorry if that's a dumb question but with out a big red "pump test" button I'm pretty much a dead-in-the-water (no pun intended) DIY at this point

thing is - the pump is only a year old - maybe not top quality but I figured I'd get more than a year out of a submersible - it did push a lot of water in the rainy time last year but still.....
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Old 10-07-2008, 03:41 PM   #17
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new gfci on new circuit pops


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other than the install-a-new-pump approach, is there any way to test the pump for leakage (other than sticking my hand in the sump pit - I'm not as adventurous as Dalziel's volunteers...) - sorry if that's a dumb question but with out a big red "pump test" button I'm pretty much a dead-in-the-water (no pun intended) DIY at this point

thing is - the pump is only a year old - maybe not top quality but I figured I'd get more than a year out of a submersible - it did push a lot of water in the rainy time last year but still.....

A megger would tell you if the pump was good or bad.
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Old 10-07-2008, 03:41 PM   #18
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Local areas modify the NEC. Might want to ask if your area requires a GFCI for a sump pump.

Never a good idea.
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:06 PM   #19
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new gfci on new circuit pops


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A megger would tell you if the pump was good or bad.
i wonder if a pump shop or plumbing / electrical place could test it for me - without looking too hard, I'm betting a megger is worth about 20 times what the pump cost ....?
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:11 PM   #20
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new gfci on new circuit pops


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i wonder if a pump shop or plumbing / electrical place could test it for me - without looking too hard, I'm betting a megger is worth about 20 times what the pump cost ....?
Probably about the same depending on the type pump you bought. The service call alone would not be worth them telling you the pump is bad, My advice it just to buy a new pump.
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:24 PM   #21
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new gfci on new circuit pops


new pump - better quality - thanks all for the replies - learned a lot in this thread - appreciate the help
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:49 PM   #22
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new gfci on new circuit pops


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Originally Posted by rtoni View Post
other than the install-a-new-pump approach, is there any way to test the pump for leakage (other than sticking my hand in the sump pit - I'm not as adventurous as Dalziel's volunteers...) - sorry if that's a dumb question but with out a big red "pump test" button I'm pretty much a dead-in-the-water (no pun intended) DIY at this point

thing is - the pump is only a year old - maybe not top quality but I figured I'd get more than a year out of a submersible - it did push a lot of water in the rainy time last year but still.....
While I respect the opinions of my esteemed colleagues here, I still would not rule out the GFCI. I have personally witnessed junk GFCIs from Harbor Freight trip for no reason. Having said that, it could be the pump too, or both. But if it never tripped before on the old GFCI, and hasn't tripped since on a new GFCI, and only tripped once on a junk GFCI, then... it may not be the pump.

You could try putting an ammeter on the hot and record the reading. Then do the same for the neutral. If they are different (beyond the natural fluctuation of the meter) then you have a leak. Assuming the meter has fine enough resolution. My meter will read down to 0.1 amp, which is alot more current than it takes to trip a GFCI.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:43 AM   #23
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new gfci on new circuit pops


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Never a good idea.
(Re: GFCI not required for sump pumps locally.)

In the Oregon amendments to the NEC, it says...

210.8...
...
(A) Dwelling Units...
...
Exception No. 2 to (2): Receptacle ground fault protection shall not be required for a dedicated branch circuit serving a single receptacle for sewage or sump pumps.
From (Page 17): http://www.cbs.state.or.us/external/...918-305_pr.pdf

I was thinking about this and it seems to me if a pump is leaking a *little* to ground (which electric motors tend to do), then the ground would provide protection from electrocution.

And if the pump is leaking a *lot* to ground, then the breaker would trip.

And a sump pump is not a handheld type of thing. Not something someone would have their hands on typically.

So is a GFCI really necessary in this situation?
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Old 10-08-2008, 10:58 AM   #24
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new gfci on new circuit pops


Under 2008 it would be required unless amended as Oregon state code has done. In the past gfci was never required for a sump pump unless locally required. IMO I would want gfci on a sump pump.
If the equipment ground protected you from being electrocuted from leakage current then why would we have the gfci requirement of 210.8? Give current an alternate path to the source and even if it is higher impedance some will take that path. It only takes around .01 amps to be at the 'can't let go current'. Around a sump pump and the dampness of the concrete would seem to elevate the risk in my opinion. I'm thinking of the unknowing going over to a sump pump and touching it during operation or not. You absolutely do not want sustained current flow on the equipment ground of a branch circuit at any level. You certainly wouldn't want it on the outside metal surface of a motor at levels that would trip a gfci as might be the case in this thread.
Now having said that you probably do see more sump pump branch circuits without gfci, but I suspect it is because it was not required and therefore unnecessary cost and the worry of a tripped gfci not allowing the sump pump to work during water invasion.
To be certain the right conditions would have to exist to electrocute you and they wouldn't be common by any means. But it is those few uncommon things or unknowing homeowners that worry me. Also it is my experience that gfci has no risk of tripping a motor that is not leaking excessive current to its frame. I actually find more ground faulted sump pumps that are tripping the circuit breaker than those tripping gfci's... and for those tripping gfci's I usually find a faulty pump due to insulation breakdown or other. For sure gfci's can be bad but I usually find it to be other than the electronics. For instance I had about a dozen levitons that would trip if I tapped the cover plate. So that's my new test after fighting my way through that dilema. If it holds when I tap it it's good......
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Old 10-08-2008, 11:26 AM   #25
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While I respect the opinions of my esteemed colleagues here, I still would not rule out the GFCI. I have personally witnessed junk GFCIs from Harbor Freight trip for no reason. Having said that, it could be the pump too, or both. But if it never tripped before on the old GFCI, and hasn't tripped since on a new GFCI, and only tripped once on a junk GFCI, then... it may not be the pump.
that's the kicker - never an issue on old gfci - suddenly an issue with new gfci - but only 1 trip (that Ive seen so far - won't be back to the site for another day or 2 - may find it off again)

interesting coincidence that the pump is starting to fail just now - but you never know. I'm hearing that you guys who do this for a living have seen some strange things. I guess from a least amount of effort point of view, swapping the gfci (only a few minutes and a few $ for the part) is probably the easiest thing to try. No more tripping supports the crappy gfci theory. I might have to wait on a rainy day to really test out with the swapped gfci - getting the pump to cycle a few times using the bucket test is hard on the back ).

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But it is those few uncommon things or unknowing homeowners that worry me.
Stubbie - for sure - my experience as a DIY is - when you least expect it - "zoink" . I'd rather sleep in a warm bed than on a cold damp concrete floor with one hand in the pit
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:17 PM   #26
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Um, here's a silly thought: if the pump works fine on another GFCI plugged in through an extension cord, it might be worth checking if that GFCI is functioning properly. If replacing the GFCI installed near the pump doesn't work (ie. it still trips with the pump) then the other GFCI (the one it was plugged into temporarily) is probably bad. Otherwise, if it does test good, and its a better quality (older GFCI) then maybe swap the two GFCI outlets...
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:19 PM   #27
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Um, here's a silly thought: if the pump works fine on another GFCI plugged in through an extension cord, it might be worth checking if that GFCI is functioning properly. If replacing the GFCI installed near the pump doesn't work (ie. it still trips with the pump) then the other GFCI (the one it was plugged into temporarily) is probably bad. Otherwise, if it does test good, and its a better quality (older GFCI) then maybe swap the two GFCI outlets...

I pretty much thought he already swapped out GFCI's but I'm not 100% sure.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:22 PM   #28
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I pretty much thought he already swapped out GFCI's but I'm not 100% sure.
What I meant was to take the GFCI from the other location (where he had to run the long cord to temporarily) and install that GFCI where the pump is located. Since the pump works and has worked on that GFCI outlet, it could be just cheaply made GFCI outlets that are not working well with the pump.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:25 PM   #29
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What I meant was to take the GFCI from the other location (where he had to run the long cord to temporarily) and install that GFCI where the pump is located. Since the pump works and has worked on that GFCI outlet, it could be just cheaply made GFCI outlets that are not working well with the pump.
I agree, that would not hurt, and definitely answer some of the questions.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:02 PM   #30
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If replacing the GFCI installed near the pump doesn't work (ie. it still trips with the pump) then the other GFCI (the one it was plugged into temporarily) is probably bad. Otherwise, if it does test good, and its a better quality (older GFCI) then maybe swap the two GFCI outlets...
the temporary gfci ? sort of a didn't-see-the-forest-for-the-trees kind of thing?

ok - so the plan is
1) swap sump gfci (the one that trips now) with another new unit out of the box

2) if the out of the box unit I just installed at the sump no longer trips, the odds are the sump gfci I just removed is likely bad and goes in the trash - the pump is likely ok and stays in the pit - at that point I have the option to swap the older gfci (my temporary extension cord gfci) with the "good" unit in the sump (the assumption being that the older one is a better unit - could be - it was purchased about 3 years back and I think it was a leviton but not 100% sure....) either way the problem is hopefully solved

3) if out of the box gfci (sump) that I just swapped in still trips, the gfci that I had the cord run to for temporary service may likely be the culprit (was bad all along) as you say and didn't kill the leaky pump. At that point the new pump goes in the pit, new gfci goes in the temporary location, and hopefully problem is solved. (If it still trips at that point - I dont' want to think about it right now )

my gut says it's (2) - just got a crappy gfci - but I'll run this "experiment" for sure this weekend and post results here - thanks all for all the help and replies
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