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Thread: Circuit Breaker for Waterfall Pump Trips Without Even Turning on Waterfall Pump

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    Circuit Breaker for Waterfall Pump Trips Without Even Turning on Waterfall Pump

    I have a rock waterfall that runs on a Pentair pump that is separate from the main filter pump. The whole system was installed well over two years ago and we never had a problem with it until about three or four months ago. It simply refused to respond to the remote control, so I checked the panel and the circuit breaker (for the waterfall pump only) was popped and could not be switched back on. I made an appointment with a repairman, but before he came out I checked the circuit breaker again and was able to flip it on, and all was well again. I checked it several times after that and it was always fine, but I stopped checking a few weeks ago. Today I wanted to turn it on again. Same thing, circuit breaker popped and wouldn't go back on. Fast forward a few hours. It's nighttime now, and I went and checked the box and lo and behold, I was able to flip the breaker again and all is well again.

    Does anyone have any idea what could possibly cause something that worked fine for almost two years to suddenly develop a problem without even using it or touching it? It's not rain or moisture, because this is Vegas, there hasn't been rain in months and there are no leaks or water drips anywhere around, and the wiring is above ground in conduits and hasn't been touched. Today was a really hot day, but it wasn't hot the last time this happened, so heat isn't causing it. And what the heck prevents me from flipping the circuit breaker to the "on" position when this happens? If it was an electrical issue, one would think I could flip it on and then it would break the minute I turned on the pump, but noooo, when this happens I can't even flip the circuit breaker on -- it just stays in the middle. Then a few days (or in this case, hours) later, it operates normally again.

    I don't really want to pay a repairman to try to diagnose an intermittent issue like this, especially when we rarely turn on the waterfall in the first place and it seems to resolve itself anyway -- but it is annoying to try to show off your waterfall and it won't work!
    19,000 gal IG pool with Pebble-Tec, in-floor system, solar heat, waterfall, and spa with spillover
    Also SWG, variable-speed pump, cartridge filter, and water softener for feed line
    Water Testers: Taylor TF-100 and LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7

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    Re: Circuit Breaker for Waterfall Pump Trips Without Even Turning on Waterfall Pump

    I'm afraid you are going to have call an electrician. You are saying the breaker trips with no load, then won't reset.
    If the waterfall pump is the only thing on the curcuit then you need to troubleshoot the circuit.

    It sounds to me that something is overheating and shorting. Your motor connection is a good suspect.

    I would bite the bullet and call the electrician
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Circuit Breaker for Waterfall Pump Trips Without Even Turning on Waterfall Pump

    John,

    While I agree with gwegan about bringing in an electrician, there are a couple of things that you could try on your own, if you wanted too.

    The first thing I would do is ensure that the connections at the Circuit Breaker and at the pump are tight, they can become loose over time. I assume the waterfall Circuit Breaker is a GFCI? If so, you could replace it. Most likely not bad, but you would eliminate that possibility. And finally, you could open and inspect any junction points between your CB panel and the pump, if any exist.

    If none of the above are the cause of your issue, then about the only thing left is the pump.

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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    Re: Circuit Breaker for Waterfall Pump Trips Without Even Turning on Waterfall Pump

    Jim's comment reflect what mine are. I will ask this though...When the breaker is tripped, are you switching it to the OFF position before trying to reset it? My suspicion is a bad breaker or a dead short in the system. I would start the troubleshooting by disconnecting the wires from the breaker and seeing if it will reset and from there systematically move down the line to each connection point.


    Dan
    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: Circuit Breaker for Waterfall Pump Trips Without Even Turning on Waterfall Pump

    gwegan said, "Something is overheating and shorting." Normally I would agree, except that this is happening without me ever turning on the pump, and when the pump does run, it's usually only for a few seconds.
    danpik said, "When the breaker is tripped, are you switching it to the OFF position before trying to reset it?" Yes, definitely, but when it trips, it won't snap back to the "on" position even if I do this. Never known a circuit breaker to behave like that.
    Jimrahbe said, "The first thing I would do is ensure that the connections at the Circuit Breaker and at the pump are tight, they can become loose over time." Well, I just checked and everything seems tight, but then everything is inside a conduit anyway.

    It seems like a bad GCFI is the problem, although why it would develop a fault after two years and then only randomly display the fault is a mystery. At least it's still working good this morning.
    19,000 gal IG pool with Pebble-Tec, in-floor system, solar heat, waterfall, and spa with spillover
    Also SWG, variable-speed pump, cartridge filter, and water softener for feed line
    Water Testers: Taylor TF-100 and LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7

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    Re: Circuit Breaker for Waterfall Pump Trips Without Even Turning on Waterfall Pump

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsimion View Post
    Never known a circuit breaker to behave like that.
    45 years doing this stuff I have seen my share of them. Usually though, once they do this they never reset again.
    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: Circuit Breaker for Waterfall Pump Trips Without Even Turning on Waterfall Pump

    I know this thread is a little old, but here's my 2 cents. I have a dual 20-amp GFCI breaker inside my Intellitouch panel that randomly trips. When it does, the pump and chlorinator are off, but there is no indication of that on the panel display or on the remote display, so you think all is well until you hopefully notice that no water is coming out of the returns! Here in Austin, we are now having an extended rainy period, and I noticed that my pump was off. I could not reset the breaker. So, I removed it, put it in the toaster oven on the metal pan at 150 for about 30 minutes, and then re-installed it. It is working now, but obviously I have now realized that it is sensitive to high humidity (it is an Eaton brand). The Intellitouch panel is outside and always closed and latched, but has enough gaps that I suppose humidity can still cause a problem. I guess I will replace the breaker, probably with a Siemens brand, because it must be defective if it is that sensitive to humidity.
    Bill Long
    Jack of all trades / Master of none
    14,000 gal. 34'X12' gunite w/SunStone quartz aggregate plaster, Hayward 425sf cartridge filter, IntelliFlo VS-3050 pump, IntelliChlor IC-40 SWCG, EasyTouch controller, Polaris 280 cleaner (w/booster), Rheem 5350 heat pump, PoolSkim

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    Re: Circuit Breaker for Waterfall Pump Trips Without Even Turning on Waterfall Pump

    Pentair recommends use of specific Siemens breakers with certain VSPs.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Circuit Breaker for Waterfall Pump Trips Without Even Turning on Waterfall Pump

    A quick update on my circuit breaker experience. The Eaton breaker failed again during our next humid period, so I replaced it with a Siemens QF220A that I bought online from Zoro. They had the best price, and even a further discount if you subscribe to their mailing list. The Siemens breaker makes the Eaton version look like a toy--larger, and better constructed. The pool installer's electrician probably used the Eaton brand because it was cheaper. We have just had another rainy few days, and the Siemens has not tripped.
    Bill Long
    Jack of all trades / Master of none
    14,000 gal. 34'X12' gunite w/SunStone quartz aggregate plaster, Hayward 425sf cartridge filter, IntelliFlo VS-3050 pump, IntelliChlor IC-40 SWCG, EasyTouch controller, Polaris 280 cleaner (w/booster), Rheem 5350 heat pump, PoolSkim

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