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Thread: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

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    GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    Hello Everyone,

    As part of my pool remodel, I am automating the pool with a Jandy Aqualink RS6 PS. The Aqualink will be located in a Jandy Power Center sub-panel (6614). The pool automation will control two pumps, pool lights, landscape lighting, and possible two outlets. There are two ways I can GFCI the devices attached to the Power Center.

    1. Put a 50A dual pole 240V GFCI breaker in the main panel, and then run power to the Power Center. That means that everything in the subpanel will be GFCI. This is the least expensive way. However, troubleshooting ground fault will be more difficult.

    2. Put a 50A dual pole 240V non-GFCI breaker in the main panel. Then in the sub panel, use GFCI breakers for the equipment. This more expensive than the first option. But since each breaker is it's on GFCI, trouble shooting problems may be easier.

    Based on those two options, which one would be a better option?

    Thanks
    Minh

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    Propbndr's Avatar
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    Re: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    I would go with the GFCI in the main panel option, that way you are protecting the sub panel feeder line too. Troubleshooting will be no more difficult as each component could be isolated by will its own breaker in the sub panel.
    Steve
    32 X 16 inground, 17260 gallons, Vinyl Liner, Triton II TR-60 filter,
    Sta-Rite 1hp pump Model #MPRA6E-147L, CircuPool SI-30 Plus SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    cowboycasey's Avatar
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    Re: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    I have been debating this same thing... My electrician and the pump and intermatic manual said to only put 1 device on its own GFCI circuit... something about the pump being sensitive to other equipment and the GFCI trips....

    Hopefully an electrician on here can say for sure....
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
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    Re: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    A 240 GFI at the main will most likely trip due to both 240 volt and 120 volt loads. If you are running, say, a 240 volt pump and another120 volt load. the main will trip due to the 240 volt side will monitor the current between the two hots and the 120 volt load will go out on one hot and come back on the neutral. This will show up as an imbalance and cause the trip
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    Pool & Spa electrical connections are covered under Section 680 of the National Electrical Code

    https://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarc...s~20021227.htm

    I know it requires the individual branch circuit for underwater lights to be GFCI protected, so if you have an underwater light which is supplied power from the sub-panel it will have to have a GFCI in the sub-panel. As a GFCI supplying power to another GFCI isn't proper, this means all GFCI would be in the sub.

    Electricians who don't deal with pools and spas regularly will probably scratch their heads.....

    When dealing with issues that are potentially life threatening I am always willing to pay an expert.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    You can only have 1 GFCI per run or they will constantly trip. If you have the GFCI on the first line out of the panel (or a GFCI breaker) than that will protect all others on the same run.
    18' x 36' vinyl steel wall pool with deep end, 2 lights and 6' steps, main drain, SWG, Cartridge Filter, 320,000 BTU Rheem heater, 3/4HP 1 stage pump - Ontario, Canada

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    Re: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    Thanks Everyone. I talked to the electrician/plumber from the pool builder, and he recommends that I run a 50A from the main breaker panel to the sub panel. Then in the subpanel, I will have a GFCI breaker to the pool light. However, he recommends that the pump not be on GFCI since he said he seen a few variable speed pumps trip GFCI. He said it's not always the case, but he's seen quite a few.

    So based on what I hear, I am going to with a a non-GFCI from the main breaker panel to the subpanel.

    Thanks again everyone for your suggestions.

    Minh

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    Propbndr's Avatar
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    Re: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    Quote Originally Posted by diverminh View Post
    However, he recommends that the pump not be on GFCI since he said he seen a few variable speed pumps trip GFCI.
    Interesting, where I live, all pool electrical systems must be GFI protected. Before you install anything, you may want to call your local codes compliance (inspectors) office to be sure your final installation will be correct.
    Steve
    32 X 16 inground, 17260 gallons, Vinyl Liner, Triton II TR-60 filter,
    Sta-Rite 1hp pump Model #MPRA6E-147L, CircuPool SI-30 Plus SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    The pump needs to be on a GFI. This is a safety issue.
    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: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    I decided to put a non-GFI breaker from the main breaker panel to the subpanel. And then every cirucit in the subpanel will be on a GFCI. This will isolate any issues that occurs. It's more expensive, but the safety factor makes it worthwhile. Also - since the pump is installed by the pool builder, so any problem will be covered by the pool builder and warranty.

    Thanks again

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    Re: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    You need the GFI on the pool pump also.
    Inground 22k gallon gunite 15x31 main pool, 15x7 wading pool/sunning deck, hot tub/with overflow (9' octagon with limestone top) & slide NSWG, Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen
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    Propbndr's Avatar
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    Re: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    Smart move! You can never be too safe with electricity whether or not it is around a pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by diverminh View Post
    I decided to put a non-GFI breaker from the main breaker panel to the subpanel. And then every cirucit in the subpanel will be on a GFCI. This will isolate any issues that occurs. It's more expensive, but the safety factor makes it worthwhile. Also - since the pump is installed by the pool builder, so any problem will be covered by the pool builder and warranty.

    Thanks again
    Steve
    32 X 16 inground, 17260 gallons, Vinyl Liner, Triton II TR-60 filter,
    Sta-Rite 1hp pump Model #MPRA6E-147L, CircuPool SI-30 Plus SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: GFCI at main breaker box or at subpanel

    Quote Originally Posted by carpenter333 View Post
    You can only have 1 GFCI per run or they will constantly trip. If you have the GFCI on the first line out of the panel (or a GFCI breaker) than that will protect all others on the same run.
    Exactly putting in a gfci behind another will cause them to trip each other.

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