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Thread: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

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    GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    Hi all,

    Both the property and pool inspectors reported a non-working GFCI breaker for the pool light. Rather than pay the quoted $300 for the pool guy to fix it, I figure with TFP's help, I can tackle this! Computer geek by trade and second time homeowner, so I have some experience replacing indoor switches and receptacles.

    The pool has a dedicated subpanel, with one GFCI breaker labeled "light." The light itself is supposedly 500watts. I'll probably want to replace/update this later on with something more efficient...

    Seems straightforward enough, but just hoping for validation that I've got this right.
    1) Cut power at the main panel
    2) Remove the bolt at the bottom of the subpanel
    3) Remove the old 15-Amp GFCI breaker, detaching the ground wire
    4) Bring it to Home Depot and purchase a $40 replacement of the same type/size/amps
    5) Clean off the old grounding location with some sandpaper
    6) Attach the new ground wire and fasten the new breaker
    7) Close up the subpanel, turn on the main, turn on the light
    8) Press the button to confirm it trips the circuit

    Does it seem odd that the light is controlled solely by a breaker and not a separate switch?

    Thanks!
    Ed
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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    Sounds about right. But, its not a ground wire you detach, its a neutral. Both the black wire and the white wire (neutral) from the light get connected to the breaker. The white "curly cue" wire on the breaker gets connected to the neutral bus.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    While I don't like that people use breakers for switches, it's not uncommon to see it.

    As BK said, you'll have three wires to disconnect/reconnect on the breaker.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    While you have everything shut down and taken apart, why dont you add an exterior switch off to the side of the breaker box for the light and stop using the breaker as a switch - this could extend the life of the breaker.
    20,000 IG WetEdge Satin Matrix Northshore Plum, Filled 8/24/12

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by shuye
    While you have everything shut down and taken apart, why dont you add an exterior switch off to the side of the breaker box for the light and stop using the breaker as a switch - this could extend the life of the breaker.
    +1
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    Update on this:

    I removed the old breaker unit yesterday (took ~10 minutes), and bought a replacement at Home Depot.
    "Square D by Schneider Electric Homeline 15 Amp Single-Pole GFCI Circuit Breaker" - $36

    Putting all back together this weekend, and will let you know how it goes.

    I'll definitely think about getting a switch wired when I do the upgrade/replacement of the pump and solar controls.
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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    That is a QO style breaker. Make sure that your GFCI breaker is a "QO" style
    20X40 30,000 gallon gunite pool

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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    Your homeline breaker will not work.
    As racket said it has to be a QO style.
    It will have the two clips on the back.

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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    Yup, first trip to Home Depot was failure. As you guys said, Homeline is not compatible.

    They stock the QO 20-amp GFCI, but not the 15-amp model. The electrical aisle guy suggested an electrical supply shop instead. Apparently the one I need isn't that common anymore.

    Try, try again. Thanks,
    Ed
    19k gal IG gunite w/ spa, Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS, Sta-Rite System:3, Polaris 3900 Sport w/booster pump, Heliocol, EasyTouch4

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    nedchavez's Avatar
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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    Are you sure that the GFCI breaker is actually bad? You might have an actual ground fault in your light fixture. I would put the breaker back in and NOT reconnect the light, then see if the GFCI will reset. If it does, test with the trip button.
    16' x 32' IG vinyl liner w/ hopper bottom (12,500 gal), Single-speed 1 HP Sta-Rite pump, and 300# Cristal-Flo sand filter, TF-100 test kit

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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    What gauge wire is the light circuit wired up with? If it is 12 gauge (copper) or larger, you can use a 20A breaker.
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    CraigMW, 12 gauge copper to the light. 10 gauge from the main circuit breaker. The Home Depot guy asked if it was 12 gauge also, but I wasn't sure until i checked it just now. Sounds like I'm ready for a 3rd trip back!

    Nedchavez, with the old gfci breaker in and in the on position, pressing the test button didn't seem to do anything.
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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    Yeah, a 20A breaker should be fine then. The breaker itself is just to ensure that the wiring doesn't overheat. Since the breaker didn't trip with the test button, it definitely sounds like a breaker issue. This is probably from repeated use as a switch, which it is not designed for. Adding a switch and box should be reasonably trivial.
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    Re: GFCI circuit breaker replacement

    Breaker replaced with a Square D QO GFCI 20A unit. Light works, and the test button trips the circuit like it should.

    Next step will be to add a switch the setup.

    Thanks for all the advice!
    19k gal IG gunite w/ spa, Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS, Sta-Rite System:3, Polaris 3900 Sport w/booster pump, Heliocol, EasyTouch4

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