Can I just wire my pump to plug into a regular outlet?

Crepes

Active member
May 31, 2018
30
Wheeling, WV
Okay, I know I can do that, because the pump I have is wired that way. From the looks of it, the pump here has been wired that way since it was built in the 90s. Everything is very old and in awful shape. I'm actually scared to attach this picture to be honest.

However, I guess a better question is whether I should wire my pump to plug into an outlet. I ask because I'm getting a new pump Monday and I want to improve this setup. The pump is on the other side of the fence in the picture. Clearly the exposed switch is not ideal. The broken blue conduit that is literally just wrapped in electrical tape is embarrassing to even address. What are my optimal actions here?
 

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Mdragger88

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Jun 1, 2018
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Get some actual conduit to replace whatever that sheathing is - wire the pump as it is done right now (on the same terminations) & get a new weather proof cover & possibly a new switch since that one has been exposed for some time & is possibly brittle. Lots of people have their pump wired to a switch this way.
Another option is get rid of the switch & upgrade to an intermatic timer instead since you’re gonna be redoing things anyway.
 
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Major_in_MS

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Get some liquid tight conduit and run your new wire through an uninterrupted run of conduit from the pump to the breaker box. The pump should not be connected to a switched outlet like this picture shows.

If you want to use a switch, you should use this type of outdoor switch.
 

Mdragger88

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Get some liquid tight conduit and run your new wire through an uninterrupted run of conduit from the pump to the breaker box. The pump should not be connected to a switched outlet like this picture shows.
I was under the impression that the pump was directly connected to the switch & that outlet was for something else. Hopefully the op will clarify.
 

Crepes

Active member
May 31, 2018
30
Wheeling, WV
No, the outlet in the picture is the pump, and the switch turns the outlet on. That's why I asked about plugging the pump into a regular outlet, because that's what happening currently. I wasn't joking about being embarrassed about how awful the current situation is. Also the wiring is running from my garage under a bunch of concrete, I'm not sure how I could access that...
 

Major_in_MS

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I was under the impression that the pump was directly connected to the switch & that outlet was for something else. Hopefully the op will clarify.
I think that broken blue conduit is the power drop coming into the switch and then to the outlet and the pump is plugged into the outlet.
 

Mdragger88

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No, the outlet in the picture is the pump, and the switch turns the outlet on. That's why I asked about plugging the pump into a regular outlet, because that's what happening currently. I wasn't joking about being embarrassed about how awful the current situation is. Also the wiring is running from my garage under a bunch of concrete, I'm not sure how I could access that...
U will need to put a box or a condulet at the break - then go from there. It should get secured to the wall as that is obviously fragile
 

Major_in_MS

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With that conduit broken like that, and not knowing the condition of the wiring under the slab. It would be safest to disconnect this circuit from the breaker at the main panel and then forget that it exists. Run a new circuit from the main panel to the pump area. That conduit is probably full of water and mud all the way under the slab.
 

Crepes

Active member
May 31, 2018
30
Wheeling, WV
I feel like I should explain the entire wiring situation because I have nothing accessible outside as far as breakers go.

My wiring is coming off of a fuse box inside my garage. Yes, fuse box. This particular circuit runs from the fuse box to a GFCI outlet. Then it runs from that outlet, out of my garage in some fashion in that blue sheathing, under the concrete around my garage and under part of my yard (which you can see the landscaping fabric in my picture). I could dig out the blue sheathing and replace it with that ultratite but I wouldn't know how to get that under the concrete area around my garage. It's essentially a wide sidewalk, perhaps 3 ft.
 

Major_in_MS

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I just want to clarify, I am not an electrician, my advice comes from 18 years as a professional firefighter and seeing the end result of shoddy electrical wiring, which is usually a house fire. Please consult/hire an electrician and make sure your wiring meets electrical code.

Those old fuse boxes are especially dangerous and cause a lot of house fires because when a fuse blows and the homeowner does not have a new fuse, they will often put a penny into the socket and screw the bad fuse back in. The result is a house fire.
 

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Crepes

Active member
May 31, 2018
30
Wheeling, WV
Thankfully the fuse box will be replaced with an actual breaker soon. Unfortunately that is a month away. However a new breaker isn't going to fix the horrible outside electrical situation. I may just start digging and take the walls out of the inside of my garage to find out what I'm working with as far as the blue sheathing, I don't think there is any alternative as far as that goes. Maybe it will be easier to replace than I'm expecting.
 

Major_in_MS

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Yes, and if you do end up hiring an electrician to run that new pump circuit for you, you may save some money because you have already dug a trench and opened the walls.
 

Crepes

Active member
May 31, 2018
30
Wheeling, WV
Oh, I should mention that I'm fairly sure that the wire in the conduit is UF wiring. So I feel like there is a good chance it's fine despite the break.
 

Mdragger88

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The big issue is that it is run from a gfci outlet & not directly from the fuse box/ panel. Your pump should be on a dedicated circuit as per the nec.
I agree that you should have a new feed run from your new panel w/ a gfci breaker when it is installed & scrap this whole deal if possible. Or If you can afford it feed & install a sub panel in the equipment area. It would invaluable & allow you all the power u would need for anything else you may add in the future. Either way it needs to be on a dedicated gfci circuit- as far as i know there’s nothing wrong with it being on a switched outlet so long as it’s a heavy duty 20amp switch in a weather proof enclosure.
 

fishwater

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2015
60
Rochester/NH
My wiring is very similar to yours but mine has a GFCI breaker in the panel, my pump is plugged into an outlet at the pool pad. I just replaced the outdoor box with a new double gang set up, wired a switch in one gang that feeds a WiFi outlet in the other so I can manually kill power to the outlet for service needs. I have the pump plugged into the lower outlet & will plug the SWG into the top outlet, each outlet is controlled by Alexa or the app so I can set independent schedules. I don’t expect the smart outlet to last real long but I’m trying it for now & seems to be working great so far.
 

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Mdragger88

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Jun 1, 2018
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My wiring is very similar to yours but mine has a GFCI breaker in the panel, my pump is plugged into an outlet at the pool pad. I just replaced the outdoor box with a new double gang set up, wired a switch in one gang that feeds a WiFi outlet in the other so I can manually kill power to the outlet for service needs. I have the pump plugged into the lower outlet & will plug the SWG into the top outlet, each outlet is controlled by Alexa or the app so I can set independent schedules. I don’t expect the smart outlet to last real long but I’m trying it for now & seems to be working great so far.
Interesting- is your smart outlet 20 amp?
 

Crepes

Active member
May 31, 2018
30
Wheeling, WV
Mine is only 15 amp also. I'm not going to make any changes until my electrician gets here in July to replace my fuse box with a breaker. I am not comfortable making a change like this without having a professional look at it, especially since he will be switching this over to a 230 volt double pole shortly. I will just hook my new pump up as the old one was for now. It has worked for 30 years that way, a few more weeks should be okay. Thanks everyone
 
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ImpalaSS

Well-known member
May 5, 2020
108
Southern Maryland
We refer to that blue conduit as "Smurf Tube". By the looks of the photo they are using that as a sleeve for the UF cable. In todays standards thats not legal but you don't have to bring every old installation up to code, but you do have to make sure its safe.

The basis of what you have explained and shown makes sense. There is nothing wrong with having the pump cord plugged into an outlet. I would take the advice of whatever local licensed electrician you hire has and to make sure that your new pump is GFCI protected and bonded at a minimum.
 
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