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Old 06-05-2012, 11:21 AM   #1
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Sump Pump Circuit


Hi,

I'm in the process of adding an additional outlet into a back finished room of our basement.

So, when running the electrical I found my sump pump isn't on a dedicated circuit. It appears the old owner tapped the sump pump outlet into a circuit which runs upstairs to power the range Microwave, Overhead kitchen island light (two 27w bulbs), kitchen mudroom overhead light (one 72w bulb), and two garage overhead lights (two 72w bulbs) all on a 15a circuit (minus the pump, this circuit is original from the builder in 2000)

I'm assuming this is bad practice?

Since I can't run a new dedicated circuit due to the basement being finished, is it better to run the sump pump on the same circuit as I'm putting the freezer on?

Please see my old thread here: Chest Freezer Circuit

The sump pump never runs as we never have enough water to make it go off, but I'm not sure how I feel having it tied into such a busy circuit upstairs.

Last edited by adgjqetuo; 06-05-2012 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:24 AM   #2
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Sump Pump Circuit


without running new circuits there is no way to address all the issues that would bring it up to current code.

However, the lesser of two evils is to tie the sump pump to the circuit you are adding the freezer to. That receptacle, being in an unfinished area needs to be/should be GFCI
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:26 AM   #3
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Sump Pump Circuit


The outlet would be in a finished area. The current outlet for the pump is outside of the small sump room. The wire is fed through the wall and plugs into the finished section.

I suppose what I could do is make the sump outlet a duplex plug and move the freezer to the wall where the sump outlet is. I can re-wire that outlet to branch from the main area's circuit as per the original plan.
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Sump Pump Circuit-backroom.jpg  

Last edited by adgjqetuo; 06-05-2012 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adgjqetuo View Post
The outlet would be in a finished area. The current outlet for the pump is outside of the small sump room. The wire is fed through the wall and plugs into the finished section.

I suppose what I could do is make the sump outlet a duplex plug and move the freezer to the wall where the sump outlet is. I can re-wire that outlet to branch from the main area's circuit as per the original plan.
All I can say about plugs through the wall is yikes.

What you proposed is simple and will work, and, being in a finished area I wouldnt GFI it.

To meet code, based on what you have said would be:
1. run a new circuit to get the lights etc off the kitchen receptacles
2. get the cord out of the wall and plug into a new gfci rec in the finished area. if you were doing #1 you'd run 1-2 new circuits for the fridge and sump or combined

I know you dont plan on doing all that and I understand the difficulty but I feel obligated to tell you not just what would work but what is safe/code.

I really dont like the plug through the wall business but....
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice.

Just to clarify though the lights and stuff upstairs aren't on the kitchen outlets (I have two separate 20a GFI circuits for the kitchen outlets), the microwave is the only thing tied into the lights. I believe (based on our neighbors) originally the house had a standard range hard wired into the circuit and a microwave with a plug inside the above cabinet was added instead.

I definitely think taking the sump off the upstairs circuit would be the best plan, I just wanted to clarify with it now being attached to the freezer and few other outlets in the nicer side of the basement.

I will consider putting in a GFI in the sump room at some point, but I'm still not sure I can get that on it's own separate circuit without tearing down the entire basement ceiling since the box is on the complete opposite side of the basement with the joists running across and not along the line of travel.

I can submit a picture of the sump when I get home, but basically the sump is in it's own small room with a door. The walls in that room are only about 6' high with it's own ceiling. There is a small square cut out of the drywall and the pump plug feeds through that hole and plugs into the outlet in the main utility room.

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Old 06-05-2012, 01:23 PM   #6
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Sump Pump Circuit


I think you need to consider running circuits back to panel and not propagating these band-aide solutions. The sump pump is required to have a dedicated circuit and not amount of rationalization will matter when you have the 20 rainfall and the sump fails because it and the freezer kicked in at the same time.

I seems you might want to put a sub-panel in your utility room to feed all these misc needs. Just pull a 8-3 or 10-3 cable back to panel and you can run new circuits from the sub panel in utility room.

If you have pot lights in the ceiling you can unscrew the cans and push them up into the space (or pull them down and through). This then gives you access about the drywall every few feet to fish cable. Failing that drywall repair is not that difficult ona flat surface. If you stay a way from the edges and corners its pretty easy to get an invisible result.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:24 PM   #7
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You can test your current setup - arrange for the pump and the freezer to kick on at the same time.

If it works, add loads until you trip the breaker. These additional loads as indicated on the name plates are your 'headroom.'

Decide how much headroom you want and need.

No?
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:36 PM   #8
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That's exactly what I did. I filled the sump up with water and plugged in the freezer. I then turned the breaker on so both would kick in at the same time and they both ran for a good 30 seconds until the sump emptied and it didn't trip at all - so I should be good to go because the circuit I plan to move it to is more free. I'd also like to note the pump has yet to kick on by itself since we lived here - even during the hurricane last year with all the rain.

So, as I was looking to wire this together, I found that the old owner mixed 12 gauge and 14 gauge on the outlets in the basement. The one I was working on had 12 going in, but 14 going out. The breaker is a 15a breaker - but is this still legal?

I pulled back some other misc. outlets downstairs and found the same story. I guess he just used whatever he had laying around.

Can I run 14 to the sump and freezer from the 15a circuit like I had intended even though the circuit has 12 mixed in and out of it?

I thought about labeling the breaker box so that anyone in the future knows not to insert a 20a breaker.

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Old 06-05-2012, 07:51 PM   #9
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Sump Pump Circuit


you can mix wiring all you want but the presence of any 14 gauge circuit wiring means it is limited to 15a
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:55 PM   #10
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Right, well that's a good sign. Like I said it appears the old owner used both when daisy chaining all the outlets. I'll mark the breaker box 15a only due to presence of 14 gauge wire.

BTW - here are the photos from the sump plug I spoke about earlier.
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Sump Pump Circuit-photo.jpg   Sump Pump Circuit-photo-1-.jpg  

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Old 06-05-2012, 08:08 PM   #11
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Nice picture.

It shows the code violation clearly. As the others said, do it right and run a new circuit.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:13 PM   #12
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Sump Pump Circuit


the picture is even worse than i imagined it.

i am sure i hate patching drywall more than you do, having ripped the out of my house to rewire it. however, please please do not leave it like this - run the new circuits or better yet the subpanel curious B suggested - To allow future growth/expansion. I would run 6-3 with ground and add a 50 amp subpanel. this is what i would do
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:14 PM   #13
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I wonder why the home inspector and township inspector never said anything about this? Weird...

Besides the risk of it tripping the breaker, does this pose any fire or safety risks? If so, how or what?

If the sump wasn't in a closet or if the right wall in the closet was open, would that make it in code?

i'm not trying to be arrogant, i'm just trying to understand the full scope of risks involving this.

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Old 06-05-2012, 08:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adgjqetuo View Post
I wonder why the home inspector and township inspector never said anything about this? Weird...

Besides the risk of it tripping the breaker, does this pose any fire or safety risks?

If the sump wasn't in a closet or if the right wall in the closet was open, would that make it in code?

i'm not trying to be arrogant, i'm just trying to understand the full scope of risks involving this.
you are not being arrogant. you are asking ther right questions. i see the primary danger as physical damage to those cords hanging in free air. they are a trip hazard as well. not to mention ugly.

your home inspector was like mine - dont blow the sale by pointing out too much. or it just wasnt on their radar. my house had worse DIY wiring than this and my inspector only flagged a few small things. house never burned down or shocked anyone but it could have, easily.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:24 PM   #15
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Sump Pump Circuit


Those cords are subject to physical damage and a trip hazard? You are going to have to do better than that.

I am in the process of figuring out if this truly is a code violation as I am under the impression that cords aren't allowed to be run thru walls because they are not rated to be concealed. However, without drywall on the backside of the sump closet, the cord wouldn't be concealed.

(If someone has a code reference for running cords thru walls, it would make my searching much quicker)

Found it...it is specifically illegal...400.8 (2)
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Last edited by k_buz; 06-05-2012 at 08:27 PM.
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