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Thread: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

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    Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    This is my first winter with a filled pool. We didn't actually have a freeze last night, but it got cold enough to set off the freeze protection. Unfortunately, I awoke to find no power to my pool equipment due to a flipped breaker. I have my main pump plus 3 waterfall pumps that are all set to come on with the freeze protection. All pumps run fine simultaneously, but I realized that I have never tried to start all 4 pumps at the same instant. I think this happened when the freeze mode kicked on, and since the pumps draw more amps on startup I suspect the circuit overloaded and the breaker flipped. Has anyone encountered this problem before? I know the simple solution is to call an electrician/PB and get a larger breaker installed. I'm just looking for any suggestions in the mean time other than purely manual control. I'm going to try to set my main pump to run at night, so hopefully with one less pump to startup I might get lucky...
    30X40' free-form gunite/plaster pool, 4-8' deep with flagstone beach entry, gunite "rock" retaining wall with multiple small waterfalls/planters, grotto/slide/waterfall combo, 18" raised spa with waterfall into pool

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    This is one of the reasons I do not like to rely upon freeze protection. Often times, it triggers way too soon and well before it is needed and it is susceptible to power outages. But there are a couple of other options.

    1) Probably right now the temperatures are not severe enough to even worry about pipes freezing. From my experience, my plumbing has done just fine in temperatures down to 25F and below freezing for as much as 8 hours without freeze protection. Smaller diameter hoses used for cleaners could freeze sooner so I would just disconnect those and drain them.

    2) For colder weather, cover the equipment pad with a tarp and put a 60 watt light bulb underneath the tarp. This is more than enough to prevent anything under the tarp from freezing (unless you are up north). But this is still susceptible to power outages.

    3) For really cold weather, drain the equipment pad. This is a sure proof method and is not affected should power go out. But it is a bit of hassle so I would reserve that for very severe weather or long periods where water temps are below 50F and you don't really need to run the pump.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    Excellent advice, thank you! I did a little testing this evening by raising up the freeze protection set temp so it would enter freeze mode while I was awake. With the main pump already running, it started another pump but flipped a sub-breaker for the 2 other pumps. I have everything running now after resetting the breaker and starting each pump individually. Unfortunately, I have exposed pipes related to the water features that are remote from the equipment pad. Draining is still an option, but it becomes quite the chore unless I just close down the water features for the season. I considered this but I'm worried about rainwater freezing the the drain pipes within my gunite waterfalls (they are hard to plug). Honestly, I will usually be here to just manually start everything on really cold nights, but I'm just trying to be extra careful and make allowance for vacations or my own forgetfulness.
    30X40' free-form gunite/plaster pool, 4-8' deep with flagstone beach entry, gunite "rock" retaining wall with multiple small waterfalls/planters, grotto/slide/waterfall combo, 18" raised spa with waterfall into pool

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    Your wiring or breakers might be undersized for the system. It would probably be worthwhile to get the electrical supply evaluated by an electrician. It could also be that a pump or breaker is going bad.

    Can you describe the supply breakers (amps and what they go to?)

    What do the pump labels say for amps on each pump?

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    I think JamesW's questioning has determined the problem. My pumps alone draw 56.4 amps according to the labels on the pumps. (I assume this is peak draw which would correspond with pump start up, but I'm not sure). My entire pool equipment (control box, heater, lights) is on a 60A breaker. The 60A breaker is in a main breaker box that feeds to the pool equipment control box. This control box has breakers inside of it that go to the various pumps, etc. 2 16.4A pumps are on a single double pole 30A breaker. I'm no electrician, but my math does not add up here, and it looks like I need to ask the PB to replace both the main 60A breaker and the 30A breaker with 2 big pumps on it. I think the amperage draw decreases after initial startup, so that's why I never had a problem all summer long when I started pumps individually. Hopefully the wiring itself is of sufficient guage to avoid rewiring. I guess the moral of this story is that you're never really done with your pool build until you've gone an entire 4 seasons from completion to ferret out all the hidden problems.
    30X40' free-form gunite/plaster pool, 4-8' deep with flagstone beach entry, gunite "rock" retaining wall with multiple small waterfalls/planters, grotto/slide/waterfall combo, 18" raised spa with waterfall into pool

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    What freeze protection device are you using? You may want to look at that also as I believe they too have amp limits. I have separate freeze protection devices for two different pumps.
    30,000 plaster in-ground pool with spa; 2.5HP single speed Centurion pump; Raypak RP2100 propane heater; Polaris 280 with pump, waterfall with separate pump, Triton II commercial sand filter; TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    The breakers are usually slow response so start up current should not affect them. The rated amps on the motor label is at full load, not start up which is several times full load but is very short in duration.

    Part of the issue might be that sometimes pump motors actually run slightly above rated amps so although the rated amps is 56, actual amps might be over 60. Normally it is a good idea to put pump motors on separate breakers. Something to consider.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    The math doesn't add up there. The number on the nameplate is the current draw while the motor is running. They will draw up to 6x that on startup, but only briefly. One option, if your wiring is not capable of handling a larger breaker, is to have a time delay relay wired in to sequence the motors' start. That way one starts, maybe a minute later another starts, and so on until they are all running. Just a thought.
    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    The Intermatic freeze protection box I have is limited to 3HP. You'll want to check your device.
    30,000 plaster in-ground pool with spa; 2.5HP single speed Centurion pump; Raypak RP2100 propane heater; Polaris 280 with pump, waterfall with separate pump, Triton II commercial sand filter; TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    On a related note, I suspect that the pumps are probably oversized or even the wrong pumps for each application. That's a very large power demand for a residential pool. I suspect that a better design could cut the power demand by at least fifty percent.

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    My freeze protection is via my Hayward Prologic controller. I thought about some kind of time delay - I just didn't even know if that was a "thing". I agree with separate breakers for each pump - wish my PB did that originally. With regard to the pump size, I have a 40' long wall of waterfalls ranging from 3-9 feet above the surface of the pool, and the waterfall structure is uphill from the equipment pad. (Link to my pool build thread for pics: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...ld-in-progress ) I would definitely love to get by with less HP if I could, but I don't know if it would make it. Aside from freezing weather, the 3 waterfall pumps only run when we have a party or want to use the slide. It gets kinda loud with all that water crashing down. I still may ultimately end up just draining/winterizing the waterfall pumps if I can't get to a satisfactory end point with this mess. Freeze protection would be working perfectly if all I was doing was running the main pool filter pump. It switches every 30 minutes between pool and spa mode to ensure that everything is getting flow, so it's better than me just manually turning stuff on.
    30X40' free-form gunite/plaster pool, 4-8' deep with flagstone beach entry, gunite "rock" retaining wall with multiple small waterfalls/planters, grotto/slide/waterfall combo, 18" raised spa with waterfall into pool

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    Watching with high interest as I am having the exact same set up installed right now. Wonder if I should request a separate breaker for each pump?
    Done! Pool build thread here
    38 x 18 free form, IG gunite with all gunite waterfall/slide/grotto
    18" raised spa, waterfall into pool
    Hayward 3hp Tri Star Pump x 3, 525sqft Swimclear filter, Polaris 280 cleaner
    Hayward LED pool lights, Hayward LED accent lights, 400K BTU Heater

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    So PB came out today and replaced 2 breakers (I was at work). He replaced the main 60A breaker with a 70A, and replaced a double pole 30A breaker with 40A - but not the one that had flipped... Either way, I forced it into freeze protect mode and everything worked fine (for now). HOWEVER, somehow after the work they did my Hayward Prologic main controller board is now completely unresponsive. I have some basic control with the wireless Aquapod, but all advanced features are now gone, including ColorLogic lights, water feature pump control, Polaris control, etc. Fortunately, the water feature pumps DO still come on with freeze protection mode, which is good since it will get down to 23 degrees tonight. I swear, I didn't think the frustration with my build could reach any new heights, but here we go again... Is there some law of pool building that says that any problem fixed must generate 3 new outstanding problems?!?
    30X40' free-form gunite/plaster pool, 4-8' deep with flagstone beach entry, gunite "rock" retaining wall with multiple small waterfalls/planters, grotto/slide/waterfall combo, 18" raised spa with waterfall into pool

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by Twolabs View Post
    Watching with high interest as I am having the exact same set up installed right now. Wonder if I should request a separate breaker for each pump?
    One word answer: heck yes. Ok, that was two words actually....but I think you get the point.
    23' x 37' IG 18.5k gallon SWG w/ raised spa, Build Thread -->Here
    Wet Edge® Pearl Matrix®, Hayward® SwimClear™ 525 ft², Hayward® Goldline Controls® PS-8
    4x Hayward® TriStar™ pumps, Paramount PCC2000® ICS, TF-100 w/Speedstir

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by ryno98 View Post
    is there some law of pool building that says that any problem fixed must generate 3 new outstanding problems?!?
    indeed there is!
    14K Freeform Gunite w/60% Blue Quartz plaster, Quad DE filter, Intelliflo VS Pump + Booster for Cleaner, Aquacal Heat Pump

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    I think that this is the rule that you're talking about.

    This is from the Contractor's Handbook. Eighteenth edition

    Title XXI: Problems, Complaints and other such Nonsense.

    Problems should never be acknowledged or fixed in a timely manor as that could set unrealistic expectations in the future.

    The contractor should never respond before three days, and then only to deny that there is a problem.

    Should the customer persist in their complaint, the contractor shall send someone out to confirm that there really is no problem.

    If the customer further insists in pursuing the complaint, the contractor shall send someone out to do the repair.

    However, the service person shall be required to create one or more problems that are equivalent to at least three times the original problem.

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    Ha!!! Perfect!!
    14K Freeform Gunite w/60% Blue Quartz plaster, Quad DE filter, Intelliflo VS Pump + Booster for Cleaner, Aquacal Heat Pump

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    I have to give the PB some credit. The workers were here at 7:30 this morning to fix the dead controller issue. Turns out to be a loose wire to the controller that got knocked off when they were replacing the breakers underneath. So aside from some of the virtual buttons for unused Aux functions now cluttering up the Aquapod (they were previously hidden), everything seems to be in working order. For now.
    30X40' free-form gunite/plaster pool, 4-8' deep with flagstone beach entry, gunite "rock" retaining wall with multiple small waterfalls/planters, grotto/slide/waterfall combo, 18" raised spa with waterfall into pool

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    So THAT'S where they were today
    Done! Pool build thread here
    38 x 18 free form, IG gunite with all gunite waterfall/slide/grotto
    18" raised spa, waterfall into pool
    Hayward 3hp Tri Star Pump x 3, 525sqft Swimclear filter, Polaris 280 cleaner
    Hayward LED pool lights, Hayward LED accent lights, 400K BTU Heater

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    Re: Freeze Protection throws breaker - multiple pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by Twolabs View Post
    So THAT'S where they were today
    For 10 minutes, anyway...
    30X40' free-form gunite/plaster pool, 4-8' deep with flagstone beach entry, gunite "rock" retaining wall with multiple small waterfalls/planters, grotto/slide/waterfall combo, 18" raised spa with waterfall into pool

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