Pool pump circuit breaker keeps tripping

New2water

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 28, 2011
78
Stockton, CA
I was away for about 3 weeks and return to find out my B220 2Pole 20A breaker is broken. It could not be reset. Installed new breaker today and it trips as soon as I turn on the pump. The motor is probably 12 years old. I had the motor bearings replaced 2 years ago.
How do I troubleshoot it?
 

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kadavis

TFP Guide
In The Industry
Apr 5, 2015
1,640
tucson, arizona
Is there any noise coming from motor, if there is a hum before breaker trips make sure shaft turns freely. If it's okay then I would check the run capacitor on top of motor. Otherwise you could have a short in the motor which would mean a new motor
 

tstex

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2012
1,864
Houston, TX
how often do you run all 3 pumps?

is the spa a spillover or separate from pool?

w 3 3450rpm pumps, that could be up to 30-40amps at a time w all 3 going...

if the breaker is flipping each time, you definitely have a short unless [leaves from your equip pad] there are tons of leaves that got past your skimmer and have clogged/impeded your impeller...turn off the breaker and open up basket and see if your impeller moves freely? If yes, then it's something inside the motor.

Also, w the breaker turned off and motor off, open up where your wiring is to your pump and make sure all the connections are tight.

Last ques, how long has your pump been doing this? was it suddenly or on and off and not it's just stopped?
 

New2water

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 28, 2011
78
Stockton, CA
Is there any noise coming from motor, if there is a hum before breaker trips make sure shaft turns freely. If it's okay then I would check the run capacitor on top of motor. Otherwise you could have a short in the motor which would mean a new motor
There's no hum and the breaker trips immediately. As far as I can reach from the basket side, the impeller seems to rotate freely. Can a bad run capacitor trip the breaker? I can replace the capacitor and try again.

how often do you run all 3 pumps?
Never.

is the spa a spillover or separate from pool?
Spa is spillover to the pool.

w 3 3450rpm pumps, that could be up to 30-40amps at a time w all 3 going...
Agreed but I never have the three pumps running simultaneously.

if the breaker is flipping each time, you definitely have a short unless [leaves from your equip pad] there are tons of leaves that got past your skimmer and have clogged/impeded your impeller...turn off the breaker and open up basket and see if your impeller moves freely? If yes, then it's something inside the motor.
There's nothing inside past the skimmer basket and the impeller moves freely.

Also, w the breaker turned off and motor off, open up where your wiring is to your pump and make sure all the connections are tight.

Last ques, how long has your pump been doing this? was it suddenly or on and off and not it's just stopped?
The connections are tight. I don't know when it started doing during my 3 weeks away. It always worked without any problems and now suddenly it is stopped.
 

tstex

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2012
1,864
Houston, TX
Try testing the capacitor for continuity...if that's it, replace it..

Since you do not have unions, you can not plug and play to move the working pump that services your pool...when you replace your pump(s), make sure you use unions..also, since you stated you do not use all your pumps at one time, you could divide your pump requirements via a VSP. But, if it's just your capacitor, replace it and move on...if it's a short or more damage to motor, then you might strategize on looking how to more cost-effectively run and manage your water movement, esp since you are in CA..
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,058
Try putting one of the other pumps on the suspect breaker to see if the breaker works with a different pump. Just switch the wires at the breaker.

If the pump is confirmed to be bad, I would suggest that you replace the pump with a variable speed pump and eliminate the waterfall pump.

Just plumb the waterfall as a return and control the flow with a three-way valve.

How much flow does the waterfall require?

For California, the filter pump is supposed to be less than 1 hp or variable speed or 2-speed.

The only time that you would need more than about 20 gpm is when you are using the heater.

When the heater is on, you should have about 40 gpm. Otherwise, you will do well with lower flow.

You will save a lot on electrical costs.

Pentair has a rebate on the Intelliflo VS and the SuperFlo VS and your local utility might have a rebate as well.
 

tstex

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2012
1,864
Houston, TX
Try putting one of the other pumps on the suspect breaker to see if the breaker works with a different pump. Just switch the wires at the breaker.

If the pump is confirmed to be bad, I would suggest that you replace the pump with a variable speed pump and eliminate the waterfall pump.

Just plumb the waterfall as a return and control the flow with a three-way valve.

How much flow does the waterfall require?

For California, the filter pump is supposed to be less than 1 hp or variable speed or 2-speed.

The only time that you would need more than about 20 gpm is when you are using the heater.

When the heater is on, you should have about 40 gpm. Otherwise, you will do well with lower flow.

You will save a lot on electrical costs.

Pentair has a rebate on the Intelliflo VS and the SuperFlo VS and your local utility might have a rebate as well.
+1

-if your only problem is the capacitor, then I would replace capacitor and fire her up for now. But, I concur w James on reducing some of your pumps and being able to circulate your water longer on lower RPM.s via a VSP which will save you $$$, less noise, more space on the equipment pad, less PVC and Unions. Plus, since you do not have automation, you have been going to your equipment pad to turn on and off other than what's on the timer. you won't need the timer for the VSP bc it can all be handled on its own controller board - good luck
 

New2water

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 28, 2011
78
Stockton, CA
+1

-if your only problem is the capacitor, then I would replace capacitor and fire her up for now. But, I concur w James on reducing some of your pumps and being able to circulate your water longer on lower RPM.s via a VSP which will save you $$$, less noise, more space on the equipment pad, less PVC and Unions. Plus, since you do not have automation, you have been going to your equipment pad to turn on and off other than what's on the timer. you won't need the timer for the VSP bc it can all be handled on its own controller board - good luck
UPDATE: Thank you all for your valuable advice. These are all excellent ideas
I replaced the capacitor with a new one. The motor hums but the breaker doesn't trip. I tried it only for a few seconds. It may trip if I leave it humming but I don't want to damage the motor. I suppose the next step would be to remove the motor from the pump and see if it actually moves freely.
I have a local guy who rebuilds motors if I need to go that route but probably i could buy a new motor of the same kind/size for the same amount.

Certainly it would have been ideal to have unions but the original installer chose to keep it this way. It is very difficult in my area to find a knowledgeable person to work on pool equipment. I have been searching for someone to replace some coping bricks for more than a year without success.

The current motor is 1 HP so within the guidelines mentioned. I run this pump every day for about 5 hours and don't understand how a variable speed pump would make a difference. How would the pump know when to go fast and when to go slow and for how long to run?

The VSP's run north of $700 plus installation and I wonder if it makes economic sense for me to make the change while a new replacement motor is around $225.

Since I don't use the waterfall except when grandkids visit and want to have fun, I'm hesitant to put any money in doing anything to that pump and motor.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,058
The current pump has a total hp of 1.65. The hp x the service factor is the total hp.

You could swap the fountain motor for the filter motor. You would just unbolt the 6 outer bolts and remove the whole power end.

The motor, seal plate, impeller and diffuser pull out as one assembly. Just pull out the filter pump power end and insert the fountain pump power end into the filter pump.

If the flex conduit reaches, you might not even need to swap the electrical. Just swap at the breaker. Or, swap the electrical if necessary.

You don't need a separate fountain pump.

You can just plumb the fountain as a return and feed the fountain from the return line.

You can plumb the fountain suction into the filter suction or plumb it as a return or plug it.

Don't remove the 4 bolts that hold the motor to the seal plate.

First, try powering the fountain pump from the pool pump breaker to see if it will work.

A variable speed pump has a timer that can turn the pump on or off at specific speeds.

To coordinate with a heater, you usually need automation or just run at about 40 gpm any time you plan to use the heater and 20 gpm any other time.

A variable speed pump uses a lot less power than your current pump.

A variable speed pump would use about 200 watts on low compared to your current pump which uses closer to 1,500 watts.
 

New2water

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 28, 2011
78
Stockton, CA
You could swap the fountain motor for the filter motor. You would just unbolt the 6 outer bolts and remove the whole power end.
Thank you all for hand holding. I'm swapping the two assemblies. Will have the filter pump motor tested before installing it on the waterfall pump.

There's no model number on my motors. If I need to replace just the motor, how would I find a matching one?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,058
Have you tried checking the power with the wires disconnected from the motor to see if the breaker trips and to make sure that the voltage is good?

If there is a short in the wiring or switch going to the motor, the breaker will trip.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,058
If you go to a smaller motor, you only need to replace the impeller.

Impeller......Total HP.

073126.........0.95
073127.........1.25
073128.........1.65
073129.........2.20
073130.........2.60
073131.........3.45

If you're going to replace the filter pump motor, I would recommend that you step down to the 0.95 or 1.25 hp motor and corresponding impeller.

Technically, only the 0.95 hp motor can be used on a filter pump in California.

A two speed motor can be used, but the cost for a two speed motor is high enough that you would be better off replacing the pump.
 

New2water

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 28, 2011
78
Stockton, CA
If you go to a smaller motor, you only need to replace the impeller.

Impeller......Total HP.

073126.........0.95
073127.........1.25
<SNIP>
If you're going to replace the filter pump motor, I would recommend that you step down to the 0.95 or 1.25 hp motor and corresponding impeller.

Technically, only the 0.95 hp motor can be used on a filter pump in California.
Thank you.
My current motor is 1HP and pump plate has SF 1.65. If I go with 0.95hp motor and associated impeller, how does SF come into play?
Would this motor & impeller combination still get me the needed gpm? Would It need to be run for a longer time than the current combination?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,058
The 0.95 total hp is the rated hp x the service factor. Any combination of hp x sf that gives you 0.95 will work.

It should give you plenty of flow and it should not cause you to run the pump any longer than normal.

If you want, you can get the 1.25 total hp motor and the 073126 impeller. That way you can always upsize to the 073127 impeller if you feel like the 073126 is not providing enough flow.