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Thread: Pump trips GFCI breaker

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    Lana537's Avatar
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    Pump trips GFCI breaker

    Hello all, I need your ideas....

    DH came home late last night (after huge storms and tons of rain) to find pool pump not running. I am stuck in NYC until Monday. He has no working computer with him, so I am writing this....

    We know from online monitoring that the pump was happily running along on Friday.

    It is a one year old (renovation completed May 2010) Jandy Stealth 2HP single speed pump/motor controlled by Pool Pilot. Breaker in box on pool pad is tripped. Reset breaker, DH hears a split-second of tiny noise from pump, then the breaker trips. If he resets breaker and turns on pump, the breaker trips right away--doesn't even get that tiny noise any more. Other items fed by breaker panel are fine, but pump is only two-pole load, I think. I should ask DH if heat pump is fed by this box or by the house heat pump supply.....

    There is nothing at all clogging the system. Heck, the loop-loc has been on the spotlessly clean pool for months; skimmers clean, pump strainer basket very clean, nothing visible in the impeller window.

    Our builder's pool service guy hasn't returned our calls--he must be at the beach for the long weekend.

    What are the things that can be wrong? We came up with one idea: possible problem with big capacitor on pump motor, maybe. What else could it be? Any suggestions as to what to try that we can investigate on our own would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you~~

    Lana
    23,600 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 2 hp variable speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Pump trips GFCI breaker

    Believe it or not.............breakers can just go bad by themselves.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
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    Lana537's Avatar
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    Re: Pump trips GFCI breaker

    Hi Woodyp~

    Hmm. In some of my workplaces, I've had standard breakers fail open/off and thankfully never fail closed/live, but the switch part just flaps around in those cases and the bad breaker could not be turned all the way off and then reset. Our pump's breaker can be turned off and then nicely reset. It trips when we turn on the pump via our Pool Pilot, which is the normal way to turn on our pump.

    I think I will try to find a replacement breaker and install it and rule out that possibility--it can't hurt to have a spare breaker around, and it if IS the fix, that would be wonderful.

    Lana
    23,600 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 2 hp variable speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Lana537's Avatar
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    Re: Pump trips GFCI breaker

    Holy Cannoli friends!

    DH just phoned and said that he decided to try once more to get the pump going, and the thing started up no trouble. He and I are thinking that all that rain soaked something, and then that something dried out enough that it is not tripping the breaker any more.

    Fingers are crossed that this was just a very unusual day; we run that pump 24/7/365, and this is the first encounter with the circuit breaker problem. Thank you for reading, and here's hoping that I don't come back to this thread with a sad follow-up....

    Happy Swimming All~~

    Lana
    23,600 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 2 hp variable speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Pump trips GFCI breaker

    If it's a GFCI breaker, then yes, it is avidly possible that it was just wet. It takes very little 'leakage' current to trip a GFCI.
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

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    donaldm823's Avatar
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    Re: Pump trips GFCI breaker

    I had a similar problem after a rain. I found the box (it was in a separate external box) the GFCI bkr was in was full of water. Caulked the box weather cover and never had another problem 5 yrs later. But on my pool, the GFCI bkr only protects the pool light. The pump (230v) is protected by a normal breaker (two since 230v).

    revision 5/30/11-apparently the national electrical code was changed in 2008 requirirng GFCI protection for hard wired pool pumps 115v or 230v. My pool was built per code in 2006 which did not require GFCI for hard wired pool pumps, but did require for receptacles
    Don SW Florida
    10,000 gal in ground concrete pool
    Pentair Cartridge filter, Pentair SWG, Pentair Intelliflow VS pump (11018)
    FAFCO solar panels w/Pentair SolarTouch controller
    using BBB for pool chemistry/Lamotte ColorQ tester for daily testing

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    Re: Pump trips GFCI breaker

    I have had similar experiences with GFI breakers and have sort of a love/hate relationship with them.

    I'd put my money on ohm_boy's advice and say you've discovered the problem.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pump trips GFCI breaker

    Donald,
    The necessity of GFCI protection on pool pump circuits is regulated by the National Electrical Code. You absolutely should have that circuit protected by a GFCI of some type, be it a circuit breaker or seperate unit. It is there to protect personnel both using the pool and operting it's associated equipment. If you have a pump seal leak, that is another issue that should be dealt with. Ideally, electrical parts of a pool never get wet and leak current to ground. Realistically they do. When they do, the GFCI is there to protect whoever the poor soul is who becomes the "alternate path to ground." They can be a hassle at times, but ask yourself this: how much hassle is your or your family members life worth?
    18'x24' (10,000 gal) above ground pool, 19" Proline sand filter (45 GPM), Jacuzzi 1.5 HP 2 speed pump

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    Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Pump trips GFCI breaker

    Newer motors rarely have GFCI issues. With older motors, sometimes the insulation begins to break down slightly, and the leakage currents start to go up. In sheltered motors, dust collecting in the windings can contribute to leakage too, as it impacts the insulation breakdown. Vacuuming or blowing the dust and crud out of a motor can help. Naturally, outdoors, there will be water, and you may see the occasional GFCI trip when it gets in the motor.
    When it gets to a point where it's no longer a nuisance trip here and there, you really should have the motor tested for insulation breakdown or look at replacing it.
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

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    Lana537's Avatar
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    Re: Pump trips GFCI breaker

    Lots of good conversation here. Thank you all~~

    Lana
    23,600 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 2 hp variable speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Re: Pump trips GFCI breaker

    I've been lurking long enough. Time to post up. And since this problem appears to be unusual and I HAD THE EXACT SAME ONE!! Seems like a good occasion.

    Just yesterday I switched the pump back on after emptying the skimmer it turned on for a second and then shut off. Flipped the switch off and back on again.. nothing, checked the outlet and it had tripped. I unplugged the pump to make it easier to reset. I also have a gas heater that was plugged in too. Plugged the pump back in (while it was off of course) and CLICK, immediately it trips again! After tinkering I made a few observations.

    -Outlet will trip with both pump and heater plugged in, regardless of which is plugged in on top or bottom
    -Either one by itself wouldn't trip it
    -Pump would run fine without the heater plugged in
    -I'm also thinking that only the bottom plug would work without tripping (but I can't remember for sure)

    I left the heater unplugged and just ran the pump (thankfully the water was about 87 )

    Hours later I decided to check and see if it was just a temporary thing and luckily enough, it was!! I wondered about it getting wet too, but seeing as how it ran all last season without a single trip I figured something was wrong. Hopefully we don't have this problem again.
    Aaron
    [ Vogue Vectra 24' AG | Hard plumb: Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 1HP 2-speed, 27" sand filter & Pentair MiniMax 100 NG | Taylor K-2006 | Central IL ]
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