Filter/Pump Wiring Question

nobbyv

Member
Jun 29, 2010
10
I am in the process of installing a 15x26 Sharkline Matrix AGP. I wanted to make sure my plan for the electrical is OK.

I currently have an outdoor outlet on the side of my house. It is a weathertight, in-use, GFIC outlet. The issue is that it is 20 feet from where I want to put the filter/pump. My plan is to tap off that outlet, then run three 12G THHN conductors through PVC conduit in the ground, and then up and directly to the pump. Since that run is not protected, I would install a 20A GFIC breaker back at the main panel for that circuit. There isn't much else on that circuit, just a few outdoor lights, so the load shouldn't be excessive.

My thought is that the existing outlet now becomes my "convenience outlet", and since it is 20' away I don't need any special twist-lock type plug. Plus, its GFI-protected via the breaker. Any thoughts?
 

nobbyv

Member
Jun 29, 2010
10
John,
I thank you for the link, I downloaded the guide and read through it.

Now, having read through it, I still think I am OK with what I propose. The limit for a convenience outlet is 20', which is how far my outlet is located. It is also less than 6.5' from grade, so I should be OK there too. The guide says a "cord-and-plug_ connection is permitted; it does not say it is required. I would think that hardwiring the pump directly back to the convenience outlet would be more secure than even a locking type plug, so I think that should be OK.

Am I missing something here? I left out about bonding the pool, which was done using an 8G bonding wire connected from a bolt on the pool wall "ends" to a supplied terminal on the pump housing. The rest of the pool (uprights, connectors, etc.) is resin, so there should be no need for additional bonding.
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,475
SW Indiana
Should have worded that differently. If it's 20ft from the filter, it won't qualify as a convenience outlet unless the filter isn't directly between the pool and outlet. The outlet has to be between 10-20ft from the water itself, which is usually described as the inside wall of the pool.

If you are hardwiring the pump, you have to have a "disconnecting means", which is a switch, and it has to be at least 5ft from the pool and within 50ft of the pump and visible from the pump.
 

nobbyv

Member
Jun 29, 2010
10
I should have mentioned, I also have an outdoor-rated timer (hardwired type, not a plug in type, see link) that will be installed inline, located next to the existing outlet. It offers a simple on/off switch, in addition to the on/off switch on my pump itself (Hayward Matrix for a XStream cartridge filter).

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/sto ... rketID=164

Does that seem adequate?

I definitely appreciate the help. I want to do this right, but like anyone else I don't want to do anything that I don't have to. :lol:
 

Ohm_Boy

TFP Expert
May 1, 2007
1,344
Orlando, FL
I currently have an outdoor outlet on the side of my house. It is a weathertight, in-use, GFIC outlet. The issue is that it is 20 feet from where I want to put the filter/pump. My plan is to tap off that outlet, then run three 12G THHN conductors through PVC conduit in the ground, and then up and directly to the pump. Since that run is not protected, I would install a 20A GFIC breaker back at the main panel for that circuit. There isn't much else on that circuit, just a few outdoor lights, so the load shouldn't be excessive.
If the existing circuit is wired with #12, you should be good, however it may very well be #14 wire on a 15 Amp circuit, and if that is the case, you will have to respect that it is limited by the wire size to a 15 amp circuit.
 

nobbyv

Member
Jun 29, 2010
10
Ohm_Boy,
Thanks for mentioning that; I actually replaced the existing outlet with a GFI outlet (house was built in '87, assume before GFI required for all outdoor outlets?) in preparation for this and noted that it was 12/2 that was run there. 15A breaker though, which is strange. Haven't looked at the rest of my wiring too much, maybe there was a sale and they wired the whole house w/ 12G? :wink:
 

Ohm_Boy

TFP Expert
May 1, 2007
1,344
Orlando, FL
Make sure it's #12 at the breaker, too. I have seen add-ons done w/ 12 onto an existing 14 circuit, and there were either (in a few cases) a size change at a device somewhere along the line, or (in one case in particular), in a junction box which had been added in the crawl space to make the connection. They all had one thing in common - they gave the appearance of being a #12 circuit when there was at least some measure of #14 at the head end. I think that all had 15 amp breakers though. I chalked them up to someone doing refit work with wire they had at hand, or someone thinking "if 14 is good, then 12 will be better". Either way, they were dangerous situations due to the possibility of someone coming along later and making a bad assumption of the circuit capacity. That's why I bring it up - something to check on. You have to make sure that you don't exceed the capacity of the smallest limiting component, so you must make certain of the full run of wire before upgrading the breaker.
Also, if it's a 15 amp circuit, you cannot install a 20 amp receptacle. (There is a difference between the blade orientation of a 15amp plug and a 20 amp plug so that a 20 amp plug cannot be inserted into a 15 amp outlet.)

Sorry to be so long winded. Hope it helps.
 
Jun 6, 2009
22
I'm not an expert, but I'd make two points:

Consider spending a little more to bury it in rigid steel conduit for safety. You won't have to bury it as deep, either. If you do use the PVC, though, make sure you bury it at the code-required depth, which I believe is 18".

And, you probably already know this, but you can't route the conduit beneath the pool.

Good luck with the install!
 

Ohm_Boy

TFP Expert
May 1, 2007
1,344
Orlando, FL
I would suggest PVC conduit if you are burying, as it is impervious to more than metal, and does not corrode or rust. In some jurisdictions, steel is not allowed for burial. And burial depth must be below the frost line, with 18" being a nominal depth. Codes vary. Check yours first.
 

nobbyv

Member
Jun 29, 2010
10
So after more investigation, it turns out the wire back to the panel on the circuit was NOT 12G all the way. I ended up adding a new, dedicated circuit, with its own 20A GFI breaker, and a new run of 12/2 Romex inside the house, connected to the existing GFI outlet on the side of my house, then transitioning to three 12G THHN conductors buried in PVC conduit at 18" for the fifteen foot run to the pump. Its probably how I should have done it in the first place; now the outdoor outlet and pump are on their own circuit. Got everything re-wired this weekend, and the pump is running like a champ. Thanks guys!
 

nobbyv

Member
Jun 29, 2010
10
Ohm_Boy said:
Also, if it's a 15 amp circuit, you cannot install a 20 amp receptacle. (There is a difference between the blade orientation of a 15amp plug and a 20 amp plug so that a 20 amp plug cannot be inserted into a 15 amp outlet.)
Ohm-Boy,
Thanks again for your help. One question on this: the 20A GFI breaker I bought seemed to snap right in where the 15A breaker was. As mentioned in the update post, I ended up putting the 20A GFI breaker in a new location at the panel and putting the original 15A breaker back where it was. Just curious, though: is it a regional thing with the different blade orientations? Age of the house? Mine was built in '87 and I noticed no difference. Thanks again!
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
23,036
SouthWest Alabama
It's not the breaker that's different, it's the plug/receptacle. The 15 amp will have parallel blades and the 20 amp will have perpendicular blades.
 

nobbyv

Member
Jun 29, 2010
10
Bama Rambler said:
It's not the breaker that's different, it's the plug/receptacle. The 15 amp will have parallel blades and the 20 amp will have perpendicular blades.
Ah, understood. I noticed my GFI outlet has provisions for both. Don't think I've ever actually seen a 20A plug. What are those used for? 110V clothes dryers (if there is such a thing)?
 

Ohm_Boy

TFP Expert
May 1, 2007
1,344
Orlando, FL
Oops. Late to the party, I see.
So... yeah, the 15 vs 20 configuration thing is for the plug and receptacle. The normal receptacles in the US are NEMA 5, which is a 125 volt rated grounded connector. There are 15 and 20 amp versions. These are the regular 3-wire grounded receptacles you'd find in residential and commercial installations. The 20 amp receptacles have a 'sideways-T slot' for the neutral side, so that either a 15 amp or a 20 amp plug may be inserted, but a 20 amp plug cannot be inserted into a 15 amp receptacle.

Here's an image I found on the internet at one time:
[attachment=0:qtz5kf60]NEMA-5-15-5-20.jpg[/attachment:qtz5kf60]

Just to keep things geeky, the full nomenclature for the devices are:
5-15P = NEMA 5-15 Plug
5-15R = NEMA 5-15 Receptacle
5-20P = NEMA 5-20 Plug
5-20R = NEMA 5-20 Receptacle
They actually have 30 and 50 amp versions, but you really shouldn't see them around.
 

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Ohm_Boy

TFP Expert
May 1, 2007
1,344
Orlando, FL
I noticed my GFI outlet has provisions for both
Just noticed this. GFCI outlets are different, naturally, from a GFCI breaker. You seem to have a breaker. The GFCI outlet is designed to install just like a regular receptacle.
Here's a tidbit of info on these... GFCI outlets are designed to protect both the embedded receptacle and a downstream circuit, if needed. They are available in 15 and 20 amp versions. It is common for a 15 amp device to provide a 15 amp local receptacle and protect up to a 20 amp circuit downstream. This does not mean that you can arbitrarily upsize the downstream circuit - it may be no larger than the upstream feed.

I feel like this is common sense, but if I told you that I have seen a 15/20 amp GFCI installed in a 15 amp circuit with #14 wire, and since "it said it was 20 amps for the load side", it had been wired with #12 on the load, you wouldn't be surprised.

Again, a case of not really knowing. It would have been fine forever until someone actually threw a 20 amp device on the circuit, or in this case, an over-abundance of smaller devices which tripped the breaker. It was, naturally enough, a "I don't know why there's a 15 amp breaker on that circuit - it's supposed to be 20. I checked and it's #12 wire..." situation.
 

nobbyv

Member
Jun 29, 2010
10
Ohm_Boy said:
I noticed my GFI outlet has provisions for both
Just noticed this. GFCI outlets are different, naturally, from a GFCI breaker. You seem to have a breaker. The GFCI outlet is designed to install just like a regular receptacle.
I actually have both a GFI breaker and a GFIC receptacle. I suspected that tapping off the GFIC receptacle for the downstream run to my pump was probably adequate, but also installed a 20A GFI breaker on that circuit just to be on the safe side. And its all 12G wiring, from breaker to receptacle to pump.

Thanks again for the sage advice!
 

Ohm_Boy

TFP Expert
May 1, 2007
1,344
Orlando, FL
So... the GFCI breaker feeds a pump and a GFCI receptacle? Ummm...... OK.

I don't think that there is anything expressly WRONG with having a GFCI receptacle fed by a GFCI breaker, but you may have some inconveniences that you didn't count on.

In a daisy-chain installation like that, there is no guarantee as to which device will trip upon the detection of fault leakage current. Naturally, if a fault occurs between the breaker and receptacle, the breaker will trip, but what if it occurs after the outlet? Answer? It depends. It depends on how close in-tolerance the devices are manufactured and how well they maintain their specs over time. For devices designed to trip at 5 milliamps, the manufacturing tolerances may be (making up a number here - I have no real idea what the tolerances are) +- 5 percent. In that case, a breaker may trip at 4.75 mA and a receptacle may trip at 5.20 mA. Thus, you could press the test button on the outlet and have the breaker kick off. The only way to know is to try it.

By the same token, the actual response of a device may change over time, which is why it is recommenced to test them periodically.


Just more semi-useless trivial information, which is my specialty. :cool:
 

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