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Thread: Pump trips the breaker after 15-20 minutes running

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    Pump trips the breaker after 15-20 minutes running

    A new mystery as my pool starts to clear up.

    My pump has taken on a new trait. Every 15-20 minutes or so, it trips the 110V/20AMP breaker and shuts itself off. This just started happening in the last few days.

    It's not the timer, as the time pins have been removed. It's definitely the breaker, as I have to reset it.

    Pump seems to pump great in filtered, bypass or waste mode for those 15-20 minutes. I put my hand on the motor and everything seems only moderately warm. There's no big spark or pop or anything when it shuts down.. it just powers off with the breaker.

    Skimmer and main drains are both on. Both the pump catch can and skimmer are free of debris. There's plenty of water getting into the pump, as I can see by it splashing around violently inside when the pump is on.

    So... what could be causing my pump to trip the breaker?

    Denis
    Clearwater, Florida

    12,000 gallon kidney shaped gunite pool
    Pentair Whisperflo 3/4HP Pump
    Pentair CCP420 420sq/ft Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Intellibrite 5G 120V Pool Light

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pump trips the breaker after 15-20 minutes running

    That could be a faulty breaker or a faulty pump, and it isn't always very easy to figure out which one it is without replacing one or the other. Breakers do go bad, especially GFI breakers. Pump motors can also go bad, developing intermittent shorts and other related problems. Once in a while, getting the pump wet can cause this, and drying the pump out can solve it, but usually one or the other is broken. If it is a GFI breaker, I would replace that first before trying anything else, since GFI breakers are especially prone to failure.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Pump trips the breaker after 15-20 minutes running

    Jason - I switched out the breaker after seeing your reply. It tripped within 20 minutes of switching out.

    Then I tried something I haven't tried before. I turned the main drain completely off, the skimmer on full and let it run. It ran for an hour plus with no problems. I turned it off for the night to let the floc do it's job, but it seems that I may be onto something with the skimmer on full and main drain off.
    Clearwater, Florida

    12,000 gallon kidney shaped gunite pool
    Pentair Whisperflo 3/4HP Pump
    Pentair CCP420 420sq/ft Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Intellibrite 5G 120V Pool Light

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Pump trips the breaker after 15-20 minutes running

    There's plenty of water getting into the pump, as I can see by it splashing around violently inside when the pump is on.
    No, that indicates your pump is sucking air....not a good thing. If you find that air leak and fix it, you should not be able to see any splashing whatsoever in your pump basket.

    I'm doubtful that was the cause of the breaker tripping but you should fix that air leak.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pump trips the breaker after 15-20 minutes running

    You have a 2 HP pump on 110v/20 amp? Seems like a very small circuit for a pump that size.
    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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    Re: Pump trips the breaker after 15-20 minutes running

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406
    You have a 2 HP pump on 110v/20 amp? Seems like a very small circuit for a pump that size.
    You may be right. The manual says 15/30 AMP, so I think it may very well mean 30AMP@110V and 15AMP@220V. Seems weird that it has worked this well for this long without enough power going to it.
    Clearwater, Florida

    12,000 gallon kidney shaped gunite pool
    Pentair Whisperflo 3/4HP Pump
    Pentair CCP420 420sq/ft Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Intellibrite 5G 120V Pool Light

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    Re: Pump trips the breaker after 15-20 minutes running

    I dont think its getting enough power. Also, 2 hp is awfully big for a 12,000 gallon pool. How many feet of head do you have? 3/4 HP would be plenty, I would think.
    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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    Re: Pump trips the breaker after 15-20 minutes running

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406
    I dont think its getting enough power. Also, 2 hp is awfully big for a 12,000 gallon pool. How many feet of head do you have? 3/4 HP would be plenty, I would think.
    Feet of head? Do you mean how far it is from the skimmer and main drain to the pump? Around 20-25 feet each. The tubes used in both are 1 1/4", that go to a combined 2" pipe that feeds the pump. The rest of the piping to the filter and bypass are both 2" and they go down to 1.5" pipe that returns the water to the pool.

    2HP is the only decent deal I found on a used pump when I was scrambling to put this into action. The more I read, the more I'm considering a 3/4 horse 2-speed pump.
    Clearwater, Florida

    12,000 gallon kidney shaped gunite pool
    Pentair Whisperflo 3/4HP Pump
    Pentair CCP420 420sq/ft Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Intellibrite 5G 120V Pool Light

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Pump trips the breaker after 15-20 minutes running

    The operating point of the pump is probably close to 96 GPM @ 65' of head and 2400 watts. So if the voltage is below 120v, it will likely trip the breaker. Given the current draw, the voltage probably is below 120v. Also, IMHO any pump over 1 HP (full rated) should be run on 220v.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Pump trips the breaker after 15-20 minutes running

    It's possible the pump is just getting old. You said the pump is used, do you know how old it is? As a motor gets older, it develops more resistance in the windings (this also happens as the motor heats up, to a lesser extent). As the resistance increases, so does the current draw. Coupled with an undersized breaker, it could result in the breaker tripping on a fairly regular basis.

    If this is a GFI breaker, it's sort of the same situation. A lot of motors have a very tiny current leakage (what the GFI detects), and as they age, they leak more and more current to ground, to the point where it will trip the breaker.

    Both situations require replacing the pump, however for now, you can (and should) replace the breaker with one of the proper size. Make sure the wiring is the proper size for the current draw too!

    One question: When you reset the breaker, does it run for another 15-20 minutes before shutting off again, or is the time shorter or longer than that?

    EDIT(forgot one thing): If you have a multimeter, check for voltage while the pump is running. Across the hot and ground, it should be 120v or within +/- 10% (132-108). If too low, the pump is drawing excess current and tripping the breaker. If that's the case, check that your wiring is sufficient. IIRC, for 30 amps of current, the wire needs to be at least 10AWG. Across hot and neutral, it should be the same. Across ground and neutral, there should be no voltage detected.
    John

    24' round Vogue AGP 12,000 gal. Flotec AT251001-01 1HP pump, Hayward S310T2 sand filter, Aquarite SWG T-15
    TF-100 (found at TF Test Kits) with Speedstir and Samplesizer

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    Re: Pump trips the breaker after 15-20 minutes running

    Cheddar - All good stuff to check. I'll be home tomorrow and will look at it then. Thanks for the list!
    Clearwater, Florida

    12,000 gallon kidney shaped gunite pool
    Pentair Whisperflo 3/4HP Pump
    Pentair CCP420 420sq/ft Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Intellibrite 5G 120V Pool Light

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