Sump pump trips GFI but doesn't seem to be a water issue

Old 02-22-05, 04:38 PM
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Sump pump trips GFI but doesn't seem to be a water issue

I have a sump pump that used to run well (and frequently when it rained) and then it tripped the GFI circuit breaker. The breaker feeds quite a lot of outlets and lights, etc. I assumed water was getting in but after doing some sealing and drying and greasing around the plug end that gets submerged, I am starting to think that it's not a water issue. The other main clue is that the pump will run for about a minute when I go back and plug it in (without having taken it out of the water) then it triggers the GFI. I can reset it and it will run for about 5 seconds and trigger it again. So I'm thinking it heats up to a certain point and then something happens in the motor. Maybe static build-up? Maybe "leaky" brushes or something? I have the feeling that I could plug it into a non-GFI and it would run forever but I don't want to risk it. I have considered wiring up a GFI outlet on another circuit and trying it there to see if it's a sensitivity issue or if the old lines in the house are adding to the sensitivity or something. The pump seems to be a pretty good one. I'm trying to save the $100 of getting a new one.

Old 02-22-05, 05:27 PM
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Whenever a GFCI breaker (rather than a GFCI receptacle) trips, it's not easy to tell whether it tripped because of a ground fault or because of an overload. However, sump pumps pull a lot of power and are therefore normally placed on a dedicated circuit by themselves (which is not normally GFCI protected since its ability to operate in wet conditions is critical to its function).
Old 02-22-05, 06:12 PM
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Sump Trips Gfci

The sump should never be on a gfci it should be pluged into a " SINLGE " outlet. The sumps are to prevent if they are on a gfci and trip you will have a flood.

Old 02-23-05, 06:18 AM
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Thank you

I appreciate your advice. It's funny that it didn't occur to me that maybe it was just a circuit overload. Maybe the pump is just getting older and draws more current. I think my electric panel is maxed out already but I could try running a more dedicated line to it. I feel a little nervous having a non-gfci outlet down in a potentially wet area. It's currently plugged into a light fixture with a three pronged outlet. I'll also try it with the light turned off and see if it goes for more than a minute. But turning it on, I don't recall any dimming of the light. And I would expect the biggest draw to come immediately upon plugging it in. I'll try a few things. Thanks again.
Old 02-23-05, 06:34 AM
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If you can get your hands on an amp probe you could check the circuit to see what the current draw is during initial startup as well as while it runs. If you do this watch to see if the current increases the longer it runs. This may spell it out for you. I'd check around and comparison shop for a replacement pump-easier to be proactive than reactive....

But I agree with the others-you don't want to lose your pump if the gfci trips.

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