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Thread: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

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    DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    I am pretty handy with most projects and I am evaluating if doing the electric is one part of our pool budget where I can save cash by DIY. I have done home electrical work but not at this scale. I have 200 amp Eaton main panel in my garage which is on the opposite side of the home where the sub panel and pool equipment would be. Unfinished basement and the wall with the main panel in garage is unfinished, so wire fishing is simple.

    Does this sound like a rough list of everything I need:

    1. Add a 100 amp Eaton breaker in the main panel to feed the sub panel ($40 home depot)
    2. Approximately 80' of 1-1-1-3 Aluminum SER cable ($220) or 3-3-3-5 Copper SER ($470)
    3. Eaton outdoor 125 amp sub panel (Range from $50 to $100, so many to choose from, don't really know the differences)
    4. Eaton breakers for 60 amp heat pump, 15 amp GFCI breakers for pool pump and LED light ($100 for all?)
    5. Conduit for 1-1-1-3 or 3-3-3-5 wire coming out of brick and Liquitite conduit for power running to heat pump ($100 for conduit?)
    6. Approx. 25' of Conduit and wire ran to LED pool light ($100)

    At first glance, it looks like $600-$900 worth of electrical components depending on whether or not I run 80 feet of aluminum versus copper SER. Am I missing anything major here?

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    Jason,

    I can't help with the wire size... but everything else looks pretty good to me...

    Minor issue, but all the ins and outs of your conduit and whips will need mounting adapters

    If you use aluminum wire I think there are some special rules on connections...

    We have some pretty sharp electrical experts that should be along soon...

    Not sure how it is there, but where I live, the homeowner can do all the work as long as it is inspected by the city before use..

    Sounds like a great project..

    Thanks,

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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    Re: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    Since now is the time to add items to the wish list, I have always said that if I could do it again I’d really wish I had an additional convenience outlet (120V) near the pool. Now there’s lots of extra details on that with a weatherproof enclosures, proper setbacks from the pool edge, etc, etc. But, like a friend of mine once said, you can never have too many electrical outlets.

    I’m sure I’m not alone on this but I do prefer copper wiring to aluminum BUT cost can be an issue so I get that. Copper wiring just makes me happy for some reason....
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    It looks like you have a good grasp on what you need to run the sub panel.
    The first thing to do is get a set of rules from your locality and make sure it's ok for you to DIY it. Some places will let you, but require a licensed electrician to inspect and sign off on the installation before the inspector will sign off on it. Some places don't have a problem at all with you DIYing it, and some places require a licensed electrician to do the complete install.

    Unless your AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) prohibits aluminum wire, it's perfectly fine to use it to feed a sub panel. Make sure the panels and breaker(s) are rated for Al/Cu, and use Noalox compound in the connections.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    I would for sure do it if it was me. I think this should save you on the order of $5k. Make sure you know your code for buried cable and other items like proper grounding. Definitely go copper wire. Also keep in mind if you are going with automation, most of those systems include the sub-panel that you will use. It would help a lot if you knew a qualified electrician to bless your design.
    29k Gallon Free Form Gunite Pool, 3 floor returns, 2 wall returns, 1 vacuum pressure port, 2 skimmers, Main drain, Jandy 2.7HP VSP, Jandy JXI400N Gas Heater, Jandy CV340 Cartridge Filter, FusionSoft 1400 SWG, 2 Watercolors LED, iAqualink with PDA, Sheer Waterfall, Rock Waterfall, 9' Deep End w/Diving Board, SunDeck, Polaris 9650iQ, TF-100 - Pool Build - 2017 - Google Photos

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    Re: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    PB was one that inspired me, said our area I can write “self” as installed for electric inspection, no license needed. Apparently copper is easier to maneuver so I may go that route. As long as my variable pump, heat pump etc are all by the sub panel, the only cable that needs to be buried is power going to LED at the pool, right?

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    Jason,

    Assuming your sub panel is mounted to the house, then your pump and heat pump can be connected above ground by the Liquid-tite flexible conduit.. If close by...

    I can't see how you could get to the pool light without going underground.. You might do some research in this area, as it is not as simple as wiring a normal light or switch.

    Thanks,

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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    Re: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    First and foremost is if you are required a licensed electrician and an inspection. When we built our that was a requirement and I found a guy that was willing to let me do some of the grunt work and he did the connections in the panels and the ground, cost me less than a grand. The pool light probably needs a conduit from the pool back to the panel or atleast ours did, this you could connect without an electrician to the light controller or timer. The grounding around the pool, pump, railings etc. needs to follow the NEC standards.
    18x36 Vinyl, sports depth, 8' Roman steps at each end. Hayward 1.5hp 2speed pump, catridge filter, 2 skimmers, no main drain, 3 SR Smith Treo LED lights

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    DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    Great post! I have been debated doing this DIY as well. Do you need to run conduit from the sub back to the main panel? I learned in my area that the AHJ requires conduit back to panel for pools.

    Just curious- did you calculate your load at 100 amps?

    I used 2-2-2-4 SER for my basement subpanel. Just use Noalox on the lugs. I used a main lug only panel.

    Make sure to check the bonding strap requirements in the panel. If I recall, it needs to be separated so the neutrals and grounds are not running together.

    I had a rough quote from the PB electrician for approximately $2500 for a amp panel to serve the pool , heater and a hot tub, so my incentive to DIY this is shrinking, especially having to deal with trenching and inspections. He attaches his work to the main permit vs having to do it all on my own with the county.

    Good luck! I will be following along !
    18x36 vinyl liner ,19k gallons, Hayward Sand Filter, Maxflo VS pump, Hayward VS Omni automation, Rheem 115k Heat pump, Colorlogic LED. Dolphin M400 robot

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    Re: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    So I spoke with an electrician today that is a friend-of-a-friend to run my general plan by him and he immediately told me using SER (either 1-1-1-3 Aluminum or 3-3-3-5 Copper) would be out of code because pool subpanel / equipment would require an insulated ground... and the ground inside SER cable in not insulated.

    More research to do.

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    Re: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    I didn’t think about the insulated ground. Would that mean you have to pull #3 Cu THHN? A quick search of the orange box site shows it’s about a buck a foot.

    I have an electrician coming in Thurs night for a quote on a 100amp sub. I’ll let you know what he specs.


    18x36 vinyl liner ,19k gallons, Hayward Sand Filter, Maxflo VS pump, Hayward VS Omni automation, Rheem 115k Heat pump, Colorlogic LED. Dolphin M400 robot

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    I read article 680.25 from the 2017 edition of NFPA 70, and it states that if the feeder is installed in corrosive environment (680.14 says that's where chemicals are kept, adjacent to or abutting pool, or under open decks) then an insulated ground is required. If the sub panel isn't in close proximity to those locations then regular wiring practice is allowed. However your jurisdiction may be more strict than the current NEC.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    I will give you the quick information I have retained on when I upgraded the panel in our shed for our new heat pump. We pulled 4 individual wires for service so we had an insulated ground. They were copper and I believe 10ga, replacing 12ga per code. Used copper wire and it went through 3/4" conduit that was already in place. It was not the easiest pull but we got it done. If possible oversize the conduit and keep bends to a minimum to make it easier on you. Our code stated the heater needed to be on a gfci breaker. I am not sure why when the pump is not on one, but for a little extra money it was worth the peace of mind.

    For other people that may be doing something similar, even though I could have slid this in without a permit my uncle who is an electrician recommended getting one. If anything went wrong in the future and it had not been inspected there would have been major problems. It helps that the permit was only $40 also.
    18 x 36 In ground vinyl pool 8' deep end
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    DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    Met with my electrician on Thursday. He spec’d a 60 amp panel using #6 copper for heater, pool pump, light and convenience outlet. Requires THHN due to the insulated ground. Performed a rough load calc on the house. Will have enough left in the panel to run a 20 amp circuit for low voltage lights and possibly an run to the shed for a light and outlet

    He spec’d a separate run to the hot tub. Also using #6 copper.
    18x36 vinyl liner ,19k gallons, Hayward Sand Filter, Maxflo VS pump, Hayward VS Omni automation, Rheem 115k Heat pump, Colorlogic LED. Dolphin M400 robot

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    Re: DIY Pool Electric --- Adding 100 amp subpanel for pool pump, heat pump, light

    I didn't see any mention of bonding to the equipment and around the pool. Around here, the electrical contractor not the pool builder would do this.

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