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bsmith6356 03-17-2013 09:22 PM

Splice or replace entire wire? Septic Pump
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Hi there. I live in NC, house built in 1988. Outlet next to septic tank (for pump/float plug in) was at ground level and kept getting mud and water in it. I went ahead and dropped in a post and mounted a new outlet 12" off the ground.

Luckily there was enough wire (power) underground to reach new outlet. The next thing was getting the piggyback plugs to reach the new outlet, figured I was going to have to splice. As I was (gently) digging around the 2 pump wires coming up from the ground, I noticed that it had some slack in it so I pulled at it (again, gently). Enough wire came out to reach the outlet, so I plugged them in, and the pump fired up. Felt good, saved some money!

Then I saw a little smoke, and the pump wire was hot. I saw a nick about 5 inches from the pump plug, so I figured I'd cut at the nick and splice in a small junction box next to the outlet on the post. Had no problem splicing the float wire (only had a black and white wire in it, by the way). Here's where I'm having a problem, it's with the pump wiring. Every time I try to strip the plastic wire coating, it takes some of the wire with it. It seems really dry/brittle. Even tried using a lighter to melt away the plastic, but as soon as I go to peel it, same thing. I finally got a good enough connection long enough to drain the septic tank (didn't seem to heat up the wire), but am now too close to the plug to splice in a junction box.

So here's my dilemma. Obviously I need to buy a new pump wire, but I'm trying to avoid having to run it all the way down to the pump. I'm not above putting on some gloves and boots and getting a little nasty, I'm just worried that may be getting a bit out of my league. I have no idea about the pump system/float, any of that. My concern is more about the wiring. I'd prefer to get a new plug and wire (assuming I can find one), and try again to splice about 2 feet from outlet. Am I having such a hard time stripping the wire because of it's age, or is that kind of wire not meant to be stripped? Am I wasting my time, because the wire heating up could potentially mean there are problems elsewhere along the cord? Or potentially be where the wire goes into the pump? I felt hopeful after getting a connection on the last try without the wire heating up, but don't know if I'd be comfortable enough to put on some wire nuts, close up in a box and walk away (for fear of causing bigger problems).

Does anyone have any advice? BTW, I think it's a single float, and it's 110
Attaching some pics...
Thank you!
Charlotte, NC

jbfan 03-17-2013 09:40 PM

If you are going into the pit, might as well change the pump.
Not sure why the wire would be hot with just a nick in it.

al_smelter 03-18-2013 10:07 AM

There is no reason you can't do what you want to do. There are some very good heat shrink products out there that will make a very nice watertight joint. However, it sounds like your wiring is becoming brittle.

Since you kind of indicate that you haven't messed with this pump since 1988, I would replace the entire pump, not just the wire. By my calculations, if you get a good quality unit like the one you have, you wouldn't have to mess with it again until about 2038.

Just sayin...

stickboy1375 03-18-2013 06:32 PM

12 Attachment(s)
Huge pet peeve when people butcher these electrical installations inside a pump tank...

electures 03-18-2013 06:41 PM


Originally Posted by jbfan (Post 1139776)
If you are going into the pit, might as well change the pump.
Not sure why the wire would be hot with just a nick in it.

Also be careful of methane gas.

stickboy1375 03-18-2013 06:44 PM

12 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by electures (Post 1140304)
Also be careful of methane gas.

I know these are simple residential pump pits, but I never install the wiring inside the pit.... the corrosive atmosphere wrecks havoc on any electrical installation inside the pit.

This is generally how I wire the pumps I do.

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