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DanDaMan 04-20-2011 11:46 PM

sump pump keeps tripping breaker after about 5 minutes of running
Bought a new-to-use house about a year ago which has a sump in the crawl space, as the water table is high and crawl space is below city sewage.

Just noticed today that the sump was 99% full and no water was draining. Checked the breaker and sure enough it was tripped, so I reset the breaker and it worked fine again (saw and felt the water draining as normal). However after about 5 minutes the breaker tripped again. I reset it again, and again it worked for another 5 minutes until it tripped again. Done this now routinely at least 5 times, and always the same thing. And yes, the sump is still quite full, so the pump is not tripping due to running dry. And yes I have confirmed that when it is running it is constantly pushing out water at a fast pace (no air pockets or nothing).

So I suspect I either have a bad pump that is shorting, and being in water is tripping the breaker. Or perhaps sump pumps are not designed to run constant, so maybe this is normal?

Any ideas? I suspect it is a bad pump, but just find it odd that it trips almost exactly after 5 minutes all the time.


nap 04-20-2011 11:52 PM

neither the being in the water or running for more than 5 minutes should be tripping the breaker. I suspect it is due to an overload for some reason. The first thing I would do is turn off the breaker, remove the pump, flip it over and look to see if something has gotten jambed up in the impeller.

frenchelectrican 04-21-2011 12:05 AM


If the OP did have subismable sump pump then the seal in the pump is pretty much done for it due water get inside the motour and toast it up I have see it before quite few time.

For pedstal type pump { motor above water line } the bearing or bushing is pretty much done for it when it get hot.

If the impeller is good then the motor is pretty much done for it.


Is this circuit is shared with anything else in the house or not ??

And do it have GFCI there as well ?


nap 04-21-2011 12:13 AM

I figured that since the only thing that was done to make it run was trip the breaker and it then ran for 5 minutes, I didn't figure the seal is bad. If it was due to internal water leakage, it shouldn't even allow the breaker to be reset.

Due to the runs for 5 minutes thing, I figure something is caught in the impeller slowing it down so that it never gets to full speed and as such, draws high current.

DanDaMan 04-21-2011 01:27 PM

I do not think it is an impeller problem, since when it does run it is spewing water out the 1 inch diameter hose at full blast (the fire department could use the flow to put out a house fire). If it was the impeller I'd think the pump would be somewhat ineffecient?

Not sure what other devises are on the same circuit, but I know that I have never had problems with it pump/breaker in the past 12 months and nothing has changed. Plus I'vbe tried it both during morning, day and night and same happens.

I do not think the circuit is GFI. At least the breaker isn't and the outlet which the pump plugs to isn't. It still is possible if the outlet if feed via a GFI outlet, but due to age of house (about 25 years) I doubt it.

During the 5 minutes of running, as stated it works great and makes no funny noises or anything. But always after running 5 minutes it trips the breaker.

I suspect the pump somehow got damaged during the winter due to a recent finding I had with the pump. Snow is now melting fast causing high water table - I went into the crawl space and found my sump 99% full and the breaker tripped. When I first reset the breaker I could hear the pump go, but no water was emptying from sump. The pump is connected to a hose running outside and then into the ground where it empties approx 100' away in the yard. Although the hose is supposed to have heat trace, we have had a cold winter and I suspect the hose is frozen. So the pump has been (for an unknown amount of time) trying to empty the sump but was blocked. I suspect this puts alot of stress on the pump. But I've now disconnected the 90 degree elbow (hose attachment) outside, and as I said when the pump turns on, the water flowiing out the end of the hose (beside the house) is full stream.

Could this have damaged the pump?


bob22 04-21-2011 04:28 PM

"Could this have damaged the pump?"
It could have.
I'd spend the cash and replace the pump. Keep the old one if you want as an emergency backup (understanding its 5-minute run capacity).

brric 04-21-2011 06:43 PM

Perhaps your discharge hose is too small. I've never seen a sump pump with less than a 1.25" outlet.

joed 04-21-2011 07:23 PM

Sounds to me like the motor might be running on the start windings.

a7ecorsair 04-21-2011 07:26 PM


Originally Posted by brric (Post 634068)
Perhaps your discharge hose is too small. I've never seen a sump pump with less than a 1.25" outlet.

I was thinking the same thing. The OP did mention the hose size:

when it does run it is spewing water out the 1 inch diameter hose
(bric, cut and paste even works on April 21st:yes:)

Does 1" mean inside diameter? Those sump pumps are not made to build pressure so too small of discharge hose could be too much load on the motor.
It isn't mentioned in the posting what size circuit is supporting this pump - 15 or 20 amps not do we know the HP of the pump motor.

frenchelectrican 04-21-2011 11:32 PM

Most common type of sump pump typically have 1.5 or 2 inch discharge port and if you use very small pipe like one inch it will reduce the amout of flowage and in fact the motour will not work very hard due less pressure on the impeller the centifuage impellers the chartasice to get them overload is open the discharge port like nuts that will get them.

If you throttle the discharge like smaller pipe or very long run it will not affect due the current drawing will no where near the max rating but the cooling effect on the motour with submersable pump the water must be surround the motour housing to keep it cool if only half depth it will get hot and some pump may have thermal cut off switch { I know few did have it } so check it out as well

And you may want to come up a idea how to prevent the discharge port frezzing up again espcally in cold weather season so during summer to fall time it will be a good time to figure it out and prevent that happend again.


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