Breaker tripping

rjb1211

Member
Jul 29, 2017
7
Harrisburg
This isn't about my pool but the Jacuzzi whirlpool bath in the house. Since the same principles are involved I thought I would ask here.

The unit is on a dedicated circuit with a GFCI breaker in the panel. It has worked flawlessly for 30 years. Now the pump runs until you turn it off (with a regular wall switch) and at that point the breaker trips. Reset the breaker and the same thing happens.

Is this likely to be a worn out breaker or a problem with the pump?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
22,224
Bedford, TX
rjb,

Could be either.. The GFCI should be the cheapest thing to fix...

My guess would be a bad pump, but it this were my system, I would replace the GFCI first, just to make sure..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
875
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
This isn't about my pool but the Jacuzzi whirlpool bath in the house. Since the same principles are involved I thought I would ask here.

The unit is on a dedicated circuit with a GFCI breaker in the panel. It has worked flawlessly for 30 years. Now the pump runs until you turn it off (with a regular wall switch) and at that point the breaker trips. Reset the breaker and the same thing happens.

Is this likely to be a worn out breaker or a problem with the pump?

You see this at times with shop equipment that has a spinning load, like a lathe. The GFCI senses the difference between the hot and the neutral. If there is a difference, then it trips (because it assumes the extra current is going somewhere else, like through your heart). When you turn off the switch to your tub, you open the hot. so nothing is flowing on the hot side and normally nothing flows on the neutral either. But if your motor keeps spinning after you turn off the tub, it is going to act like a generator and induce a current. This is what the GFCI sees, and then trips. Normally a tub does not spin the motor for any amount of time (the water in the pump pretty much stops it. Maybe it is your GFCI getting old, weak, and overly sensitive. Or maybe there is some oddball thing going on with the motor that I cannot think of.
 
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rjb1211

Member
Jul 29, 2017
7
Harrisburg
Thanks for the replies.

Before I started replacing things I thought I would do some tests. After waiting for things to cool off, dry off and sit overnight I:

- Quickly cycled it on and off dry. Breaker didn't trip.
- Put cold water in the tub and cycled it on and off. Breaker didn't trip.
- Ran pump for 30 seconds and turned it off. Breaker didn't trip.
- Ran pump for 10 minutes and turned it off. Breaker didn't trip.
- I left the bathroom door open and ran the exhaust fan to eliminate condensation. Put hot water in the tub and cycled it on and off. Breaker didn't trip.
- Ran the pump for 10 minutes. There was no condensation in the room. Turned the pump off. Breaker didn't trip.

At this point I thought I had the condensation tripping the breaker so I closed the door, turned the fan off, and ran the shower with hot water. When the room was steamed up I ran the pump for a few minutes and turned it off.

Breaker didn't trip.

I guess I need to take the access panel off the tub and check to see if there is anything obvious going on with the pump. From there I'll start replacing things until I get it figured out, assuming that tomorrow I have the problem again.
 

1Sammy

In The Industry
Jul 20, 2017
412
Windsor, Ontario. Canada
There you go, the guys on here are so good all you need do it Post and it is fixed.:)
I am guess this is a 120V, not 240? You said let Dry Out, what do you think is / was wet. It do not take much for GFCI to pop. Could be moisture in the switch box or a bad switch sparking when you flip it off. Good move on taking a look in and around the tub electrical.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
9,195
NY
+1, how old is the switch. We just moved and the 20 year old toggle type light switches sizzled a little when flipped. It went from not even a thought to ‘Day 2 project’ real quick.

For such a small investment to do so, I’d replace both the switch and the GFCI just because.
 

rjb1211

Member
Jul 29, 2017
7
Harrisburg
There you go, the guys on here are so good all you need do it Post and it is fixed.:)
I am guess this is a 120V, not 240? You said let Dry Out, what do you think is / was wet. It do not take much for GFCI to pop. Could be moisture in the switch box or a bad switch sparking when you flip it off. Good move on taking a look in and around the tub electrical.

By dry out I just meant the steam/condensation in the room. It is 120V and the switch is 30 years old.

I'll replace that, and then if needed the GFCI. I'll still take off the panel and inspect.

Thanks for the help.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
875
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
+1, how old is the switch. We just moved and the 20 year old toggle type light switches sizzled a little when flipped. It went from not even a thought to ‘Day 2 project’ real quick.

For such a small investment to do so, I’d replace both the switch and the GFCI just because.


When I moved in here, all of the outlets and switches looked pretty now. I changed out an outlet because it was getting a bit loose, and when I did I found out it was a bargain basement model with stab-loc connections.

Changing one outlet turned into replacing every switch and outlet in the house.
 
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