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Thread: New VS pump and GFCI question

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    New VS pump and GFCI question

    My old pump was getting noisy, and I thought it was failing. I posted on another thread asking about VS pumps, and was advised to replace the motor with a 2-speed.

    I found out that the noise was likely bearings, and decided to rebuild instead. Unfortunately, it was so badly corroded, it was unsalvageable. All 4 through-bolts snapped, as did screws holding on other parts, despite a letting PB blaster work on them. I then found the seal plate was cracked where the brass nuts attach, and the square flange on the motor had one of the 4 holes corroded completly away.

    When I priced buying a 2-speed motor, and added in a new seal plate and a timer to handle the 2-speed, I was up to $450. I bought a Hayward Max-Flo VS for $650, and with a $200 rebate, it's about break-even for the new pump.

    So, my question...

    My old pump, installed with the pool in 2006, did not have a GFCI breaker. There is a double-pole 20-amp breaker feeding the pump pad, powering both the 240 and 120 volt parts (with a neutral from the panel as well). 240 to the motor and SWG, 120 to a GFCI outlet at the pump and 120 to a light in the pool.

    I installed the new pump using the same wiring, but now I'm reading the manual and it says that a GFCI breaker is mandatory.

    Doing some research, my understanding is that the code change in 2008. Reading various electricians who have posted about it, if the circuit is 20-amps or less, a GFCI breaker is required. Mine is 20-amp, so I believe I need it. I have no objection to the $100 to ensure safety, but a quick google on it shows many people with nuisance trips using a VS motor, so I want to make sure I am understanding it correctly.

    Glen
    26,000 gal, IG, vinyl, DE Pentair FNS Plus36, Hayward SP2302VSP Max-Flo VS Pump, Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG , Installed 2006

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    I think you are understanding correctly, that the code (in some places) requires the GFCi circuit breaker. Never a bad idea.

    But, we have seen a good number of false trips as you state. It seems that if you used the "correct" breaker manufacturer, then things work fine. I don't suppose the manual lists approved manufacturers for the breaker?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    The manual does not specify brands. However, I have a Cutler Hammer CH style panel. I don't think I have a choice of brands. It looks like Eaton is the only one making them, as they are now the parent company of Cutler Hammer.

    My other option would be to install a small outdoor breaker panel and put in a Siemens GFCI breaker, that from what I've read have better success with Hayward VS pumps.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also, does anyone know whether I will have a problem that my double-pole circuit is used to power both 120 and 240 volt devices? In other words, the 240 will draw current across both hot lines, and the 120 will draw from 1 hot line across the neutral. Will the GFCI be thrown off by that?

    Glen
    26,000 gal, IG, vinyl, DE Pentair FNS Plus36, Hayward SP2302VSP Max-Flo VS Pump, Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG , Installed 2006

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    You can not use the GFCI breaker to supply the equipment subpanel (that will certainly trip due to the imbalanced load on the 2 LINEs). You have to use the GFCI breaker on the direct feed to the motor.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    You can not use the GFCI breaker to supply the equipment subpanel (that will certainly trip due to the imbalanced load on the 2 LINEs). You have to use the GFCI breaker on the direct feed to the motor.
    Thanks for the info. That may settle my decision then. If I leave the main panel breaker a standard 20-amp, I can put in a small subpanel at the pool with a GFCI breaker just feeding the pool pump.
    26,000 gal, IG, vinyl, DE Pentair FNS Plus36, Hayward SP2302VSP Max-Flo VS Pump, Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG , Installed 2006

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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    GFCI breakers were not required in 2006 when your first pump went in. The 2014 NEC now requires GFCI breakers for pool pumps (120 or 240 VAC). Pretty much all of the electrical manufacturers make GFCI breakers. They are more expensive though. For example, I have a Square D panel with QO breakers. A 2 pole 30 amp 240V breaker is $15. That same breaker with GFCI is $103. Quite a difference, but I believe the prices should come down as they gain wider acceptance and are used more over time.

    Jason is correct, you do not want a GFCI feeding a sub panel. You could use a normal breaker in the main panel to feed the sub panel, and divide up the circuits there with the correct breakers.

    Keep in mind, that some variable frequency drives (VFD, this is what enables a motor to be variable speed), do not play nice with GFCI breakers, and can nuisance trip on startup.
    J.R.

    20K IG gunnite pool
    2HP Hayward single speed pump
    Cartridge filter

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    With your description of supplying 230V and 120V circuits ... how do you NOT have a subpanel already ... unless your current setup is not right.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    Thanks for the replies. I found this interesting article, which seems to say that some 2-pole GFCI breakers are designed to handle combined 120/240 volt loads, and sum all power across the 3 lines. See page 11, 22.

    http://www.nema.org/Products/Documen...esentation.pdf

    If one of the hot legs has more amperage due to powering a 120v circuit in addition to the pump, the return amperage on the neutral balances it out. E.G. Hot 1 is 6 amps, Hot 2 is 4 amps, and the neutral has the other 2 amps, and the GFCI doesn't trip.

    I don't know if the CH breaker works that way. I may take the chance and find out. Worst case, I return it and get the subpanel.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    With your description of supplying 230V and 120V circuits ... how do you NOT have a subpanel already ... unless your current setup is not right.
    Yeah, I think it's a bit of cheap setup. Then ran 2 hots, neutral and ground into an outlet box, tapping into 1 hot and the neutral to power a GFCI outlet and pool light. Then they run the two hots and ground up a conduit into an Intermatic timer powering the pump and SWG with 240.
    26,000 gal, IG, vinyl, DE Pentair FNS Plus36, Hayward SP2302VSP Max-Flo VS Pump, Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG , Installed 2006

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    There is no way that is a legit setup. I would add the subpanel.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    Just as an FYI, Pennsylvania is currently on the 2008 NEC code cycle. Local areas may have adopted a newer version. If there is any question on this you should contact the local AHJ.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    Yep, pool pump should be the on its own breaker, like other large appliances (dryer, range, A/C, etc). Only exception to this I believe are the smaller 120V pumps that plug into an outlet, which should be a GFCI outlet.

    A sub panel should be used to make your install correct. If your area is still on the 2008 NEC like danpik says, you can still go above the minimum requirements and install a GFCI breaker on your pump.
    J.R.

    20K IG gunnite pool
    2HP Hayward single speed pump
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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    What about the SWG? Can that share the breaker with the pump? If not, then I'll need a subpanel that can hold 2 double-pole and 1 single-pole. I guess I could use a 4 slot panel, with a half-width double-pole for the SWG, so it would only take 1 slot, assuming the SWG doesn't need to be on a GFCI also.
    26,000 gal, IG, vinyl, DE Pentair FNS Plus36, Hayward SP2302VSP Max-Flo VS Pump, Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG , Installed 2006

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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    If by half width you are talking about a tandem breaker, those are for two 110 circuits and isn't a double pole. Those breakers sit on only a single phase.
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    Quote Originally Posted by NeedMoreSun View Post
    If by half width you are talking about a tandem breaker, those are for two 110 circuits and isn't a double pole. Those breakers sit on only a single phase.
    They also make half-width double-pole breakers. I believe they actually straddle 2 breaker positions, so you need a 1/2 width single-pole on either side to fill the 2 slots:

    Connecticut Electric THQP230 Thin Series 2-Pole 30-AMP Circuit Breaker for Use In General Electric Load Center - - Amazon.com

    I think it may also depend on whether the panel design supports it, so I'll have to research whether the small 4-position panels can handle that.

    Glen
    26,000 gal, IG, vinyl, DE Pentair FNS Plus36, Hayward SP2302VSP Max-Flo VS Pump, Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG , Installed 2006

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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    So what about putting the SWG and Pump on the same GFCI breaker? Should there be any issue with that?
    26,000 gal, IG, vinyl, DE Pentair FNS Plus36, Hayward SP2302VSP Max-Flo VS Pump, Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG , Installed 2006

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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    Quote Originally Posted by glenwill View Post
    So what about putting the SWG and Pump on the same GFCI breaker? Should there be any issue with that?
    I just talked to my brother who works in an electric supply, and he said they should be on separate circuits. Panel ordered and I've got some work this weekend!

    Thanks all for your help.

    Glen
    26,000 gal, IG, vinyl, DE Pentair FNS Plus36, Hayward SP2302VSP Max-Flo VS Pump, Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG , Installed 2006

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    For non VS pumps, typically the pump breaker feeds a timer and then the pump and SWG are hooked up to the timer. You only want power to the SWG when the pump is on.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    For non VS pumps, typically the pump breaker feeds a timer and then the pump and SWG are hooked up to the timer. You only want power to the SWG when the pump is on.
    Thanks Jason. I have a current-sensing relay coming tomorrow, and plan to use that to switch the SWG on and off with the pump. In the meantime, I left the pump on it's default program which runs 24-hours/day.

    But that does probably suggest that a GFCI powering both is probably ok, since in the arrangement you describe it would have to. I think it's probably more flexible to have a panel large enough have some options anyway, so I might as well put it on a separate GFCI. Maybe that will also help avoid nuisance trips.

    Glen
    26,000 gal, IG, vinyl, DE Pentair FNS Plus36, Hayward SP2302VSP Max-Flo VS Pump, Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG , Installed 2006

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    Re: New VS pump and GFCI question

    I decided to gut my electrical hookup, and put in a sub-panel with GFCI breakers for the pump, SWG, light, etc.

    Here's a pic of the old hookup:
    Copy of 20150715_183532.jpg

    And here's pics of the new hookup:
    Copy of 20150725_134747.jpg

    Copy of 20150725_134752.jpg

    It's a lot better looking, and having it at the back opens up the front area.
    Last edited by glenwill; 07-26-2015 at 09:38 PM. Reason: Fixed pictures
    26,000 gal, IG, vinyl, DE Pentair FNS Plus36, Hayward SP2302VSP Max-Flo VS Pump, Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG , Installed 2006

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