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Thread: Water feature pumps causing circuit breaker to trip

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    wpbucher's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
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    South-Central Pennsylvania
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    Water feature pumps causing circuit breaker to trip

    My electrical setup: 100 amp circuit breaker (CB) in the panel in side the house. 100 amp sub panel at the pool pad. All pumps are wire 230v.

    I have a Intelliflo VF pump for filtration. That pump runs with no issues.

    I have a 2 hp Whisperflo for the waterfall and a WhisperFlo FX pump for the spillover spa jets.
    All pumps installed in June 2013.

    I have noticed that whenever I run the waterfall pump the CB inside the house trips after a period of time.
    It seems like the time until it trips has shortened since the pump was installed.

    More background: When the pump was installed it was very noisy. Three inch pipe was used on both suction and return for the pump. The PB contacted a Pentair rep and he said the pump was "freewheeling" due to lack of pressure. I have valves on both sides of the pump. I partially closed the return side valve to buildup pressure and that did quiet the pump.


    This also occurs when I run the spa jet pump. The spa jet pump, however takes a very long time to cause the CB in the house to trip.


    Any ideas?

    Thanks TFP.
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
    25K IG vinyl pool with Alps spillover spa and waterfall. Build Date: June 2013
    Triton II TR100 Sand Filter, Pentair Master Temp 400 natural gas pool heater, Intellichlor SWG, Rainbow Chlorine Feeder
    Pentair VF filter pump, WhisperFlo 2 hp WFE-8 waterfall pump, WhisperFloFX 2 hp spillover spa pump
    Intellibrite 5G (2 pool and 1 in spa) lights :: TFT-100 test kit, Taylor K-1776 test kit

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    Re: Water feature pumps causing circuit breaker to trip

    I'm not sure what's going on but lets see if someone can help you trouble shoot this.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: Water feature pumps causing circuit breaker to trip

    Does the breaker trip when the pumps are operating while the Intelliflo is operating?
    Is it a GFCI breaker?
    What is the amp draw on the motor.
    Have you checked all wiring connections/junctions?
    Have you checked for a voltage drop from the breaker to the motor?
    Have you checked voltage from each leg to ground?
    Have you checked Mega ohm reading from case to winding terminals?(you will need megger, or insulation resistance meter)
    If the breaker is a GFCI and it's located outdoors, is it exposed to high humidity or moisture?
    What is the temperature of the breaker while motor is operating?
    It may simply be a bad breaker...
    24k gallon inground vinyl liner pool, 8'-3' depth, 2 skimmers, 3 returns, basic 5 chem kit.
    Hayward: DE-60 filter, Superpump VS, AquaRite salt chlorinator w/T-Cell 15, TigerShark QC robot. Jacuzzi hot tub ~350gal. Air blower type, w/8 jets.

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    Re: Water feature pumps causing circuit breaker to trip

    a 230v motor should draw about 12amps. does the breaker handle seem loose? breakers are only made to trip a certain amount of times then they lose resistance. i would replace breaker to be safe, when it stops tripping is when problems occur. im assuming this is wired to a 20 amp branch breaker which should trip before the 100amp breaker. check the wire size also it should be at least #14ga wire rated for 15amps preferably you would like to use 12ga wire
    32000 gal , gunite pool, de filter weber gensis and tiki bar

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    wpbucher's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
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    Re: Water feature pumps causing circuit breaker to trip

    Here is the layout of breakers. All are non-GFCI except one.

    100 amp in house panel --> 100 amp at sub-panel at pool equipment pad.
    Sub-panel contains:
    20 amp (double pole) GFCI for Intelliflo VF pump.
    20 amp (double pole) for waterfall (WhisperFlo)
    20 amp (double pole) for spa jets (WhisperFlo XF)
    15 amp single pole breaker for heater
    15 amp single pole for lights (I think this feeds a GFI outlet then the lights....though I'm not sure).
    15 amp single pole for outlet at pool equipment pad. Outlet is GFI.

    The sub-panel is outdoors on a post with a little roof covering. Nothing looks wrong...no rust...looks brand new.
    The connections are all in conduit. I pulled the panel off the sub-panel...everything looks fine.

    Checking voltage drops is getting a bit out of my range of expertise.

    The only breaker tripping is the 100 amp in the house.

    I put an infrared thermometer on the breaker in the house this morning. The top portion was 93 and the bottom half was 76. I was going to conduct a test running the waterfall a few hours later. The first step was to check the breaker temp. Both parts of the breaker was 76 degrees......weird. I've checked a few more times...each time...breaker is 76 degrees.
    I ran the waterfall for 10 minutes....no change in temperature.

    I think I'm going to purchase another 100 amp breaker for in the house before I do more rigorous testing....lest the 100 amp circuit fail and not reset.

    If replacing the breaker doesn't fix the problem, then I'll have to bring in some expertise. I'll let you know how I make out.
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
    25K IG vinyl pool with Alps spillover spa and waterfall. Build Date: June 2013
    Triton II TR100 Sand Filter, Pentair Master Temp 400 natural gas pool heater, Intellichlor SWG, Rainbow Chlorine Feeder
    Pentair VF filter pump, WhisperFlo 2 hp WFE-8 waterfall pump, WhisperFloFX 2 hp spillover spa pump
    Intellibrite 5G (2 pool and 1 in spa) lights :: TFT-100 test kit, Taylor K-1776 test kit

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Water feature pumps causing circuit breaker to trip

    93 is pretty warm for a breaker indoors.
    I think you're on the right track replacing the breaker.
    24k gallon inground vinyl liner pool, 8'-3' depth, 2 skimmers, 3 returns, basic 5 chem kit.
    Hayward: DE-60 filter, Superpump VS, AquaRite salt chlorinator w/T-Cell 15, TigerShark QC robot. Jacuzzi hot tub ~350gal. Air blower type, w/8 jets.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Water feature pumps causing circuit breaker to trip

    you should call an electrician to change your main house breaker, unless you can pull your meter. the wires coming into the breaker are live. you need to disconnect at meter, you may need the utility to do that. does any of the wiring look loose or rusted?
    32000 gal , gunite pool, de filter weber gensis and tiki bar

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