sump pump power drain

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Old 02-21-06, 09:49 AM
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sump pump power drain

The house is about 35 years old so aluminum wiring is abundant. The sump pump which I believe is a 1/3 hp is on a 15 amp circuit with aluminum wiring. When the pump starts the lights in the house dim for a second. I know about the draw of an induction motor but even lights that aren't on the same circuit dim. Is this right? A 1/3 hp draw on start up shouldn't affect the entire panel should it? Could it be caused by the aluminum wire? Loose connections to the breaker in the box. I have a 1/2 hp water pump on another circuit and it affects nothing when it starts. Any help is appreciated.

The sump should be on a dedicated circuit by new code but I guess when the house was built, code was different. The water pump is on a dedicated circuit as a matter of information.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 10:12 AM
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There is no code dictating a sump pump needs a dedicated circuit.

The dimming of the lights when the sump pump kicks in is normal and expected.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by dave9526
The sump pump which I believe is a 1/3 hp is on a 15 amp circuit with aluminum wiring. When the pump starts the lights in the house dim for a second.
Is this something new or worsening?
If so, perhaps your pump is getting tired and has a hard time starting.

> I know about the inrush draw of an induction motor, but even lights that aren't on
> the same circuit dim. Is this right?
Perhaps or not.


> A 1/3 hp draw on start up shouldn't affect the entire panel should it?
Not really. But it can.


> Could it be caused by the aluminum wire?
The problem is where aluminum meets copper.
If you don't have that, it's probably not the fault of aluminum itself.


> Loose connections to the breaker in the box?
Possibly - maybe even a poor neutral back to the transformer. But you need to check some other things first.

Take it and plug it in somewhere else. Same problem?


> I have a 1/2 hp water pump on another circuit and it affects nothing when it starts.
Is it 240V? If not, this points to bad brushes, excessive impeller friction (wrapped with string or hair?), or something like that on the sump.

When was the last time you cleaned it?
 
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Old 02-21-06, 01:53 PM
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a cord and plug sump pump may need its own circuit based on 210.23(A)(1)or(2). if its not fastened in place it cant draw more than 80% of the amp rating. if it is fastened in place and shares a circuit with other loads mentioned in 210.23(A)(2) then it cant draw more than 50%. A 1/3 horse motor at 120 volts ac will draw about 7-8 amps. check the nameplate. how many other outlets are on this circuit? usually motors can draw up to 6 times the fla during start up whether its an induction motor or not.
 
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Old 02-22-06, 02:19 PM
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RACRAFT
Sorry if I'm wrong but I live in Ontario and was sure that I read I needed a dedicated circuit for the sump pump maybe it was just a gfci protected circuit. Hey, I'm no expert that's why I'm here.

TACH
I don't know how many outlets or lights are on the circuit. We just recently bought the house and I haven't traced the circuits yet.

BOLIDE
It's not a new condition or worsening but since we're having a wet winter rather than a cold one, the pump is running quite frequently which makes it more noticeable. It cycle about every 4-5 minutes on rainy days. It is an older pump since I can see a lot of corrosion on the column so age is probably a factor and now that you mention it I have noticed the hum of the pump change lately and it's never been cleaned.

Lights that I know to be on different circuits dim for the second. The water pump is 120v. I have a backup unit in place so I'm not worried about a flood but I may just reverse kick-in levels of the pumps and use the backup as a main and the old one as a backup after I clean it.

EVERYONE
Thanks for the help I'll try a few things and see
 
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Old 02-22-06, 03:04 PM
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I am not familiar with Canadian codes. If you need a dedicated circuit, then you need one. Whether you NEED one or not, it's a good idea to have one.
 
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Old 02-22-06, 03:05 PM
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Dave, please update your profile to list your location as Ontario. Otherwise, you'll never get the correct advice.
 
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Old 02-22-06, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by dave9526
... was sure that I read I needed a dedicated circuit for the sump pump maybe it was just a gfci protected circuit.
GFCI is usually nice and could be required in Canada - I have no idea.


In the USA I believe the way to avoid having to use a GFCI is to run a dedicated circuit for the pumps. (I personally would not use GFCI on a sump pump or deep freezer.)



> It's not a new condition or worsening but since we're having a wet winter rather than a cold one,
> the pump is running quite frequently which makes it more noticeable.
> It cycles about every 4-5 minutes on rainy days.

A wider diameter sump (hole) would be nice.


> It is an older pump since I can see a lot of corrosion on the column
> so age is probably a factor and now that you mention it I have noticed
> the hum of the pump change lately and it's never been cleaned.

If the impellor is not free, that drags out the start up time.

> I may just reverse kick-in levels of the pumps and use the backup as a main

This is a good idea to see how it performs.
If you can make the kick-in level higher than it was while keeping the cut out the same, that would be great.

> and the old one as a backup after I clean it.
I would put it back in service. If it doesn't work right, repair it. If it can't be repaired, replace it with the smallest, cheapest unit that has enough head (e.g., a 1/3 hp plastic pedestal pump).

In general, your smaller pump can be primary. The larger (e.g., 1/2 hp) backup will take over only when the small one can't keep up or if it fails.
This way you wear out the cheaper pump and a smaller pump starts and stops less frequently.
 
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Old 02-22-06, 03:46 PM
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In the US you can avoid a GFCI for dedicated receptacles when you use a simplex receptacle. Simplex means single receptacle, rather than the traditional duplex ones that are commonly used.

For example, for a refrigerator or freezer in an unfinished basement or garage, you can install a simplex receptacle and you avoid the requirement for the GFCI.

However, in the US a simplex receptacle, if it is the only item on the circuit, must be sized for the circuit. A 20 amp circuit with a dedicated simplex receptacle must be a 20 amp receptacle.
 
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Old 02-22-06, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
Simplex means single receptacle, rather than the traditional duplex ones that are commonly used.
Yes. But in his case he has two sump pumps located together. So in this case a duplex receptacle could be dedicated to fixed position appliances.
 
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Old 02-22-06, 07:50 PM
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the gfi exception for outdoors is outlets NOT readily accessible, supplied by a dedicated branch circuit for snow melting and deicing equipment. in basements the exceptions are outlets not readily accessible, a single outlet for an aplliance that has dedicated space and is not easily moved. or for burglar and fire alarm systems. for garages it is similar to basements. all gfci requirements and exceptions for dwelling units are in 210.8. the dedicated circuit does not apply to basements, but the outlet must be a single with dedicated space for the appliance thats not easily moved and is cord and plug
 
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Old 02-22-06, 08:30 PM
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NEC 210.8(5)ex2.

Clearly the two sump pumps cannot be moved in normal use especially given that there is only one sump in the basement.
The space is dedicated by virtue of a hole in the floor.

So under NEC (not Canada), I do believe that this exception fits just fine.
 
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Old 02-22-06, 08:34 PM
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a sump pump can easily be moved, so it does not fit the exception. the dedicated cirucit remark was not acurate either. an aplliance not easily moved with dedicated space for example would be a freezer, not a pump.
 
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Old 02-22-06, 09:02 PM
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Tach - My local inspector considers a sump as "not readily moveable". His logic was that the sump ain't going anywhere without the hole. This was after I had a GFI pop on one of my pumps while I was away and I came home two weeks later to find 8 inches of water in my basement. I replaced the GFI with a simplex receptacle.
I have two Flotec 1/3 HP 2800 cfm sumps. Each is on a separate 20A circuit. Full motor load for these pumps is 9.0 amps according to the manufacturer. My lights never dim since I put them on 20A circuits even though the mfg says 15A is minimum.
My suggestion - get a new pump, plug it in, light it off and see if your lights dim. If they do return the pump. If it solves the problem keep your old pump for a backup.
 
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Old 02-22-06, 09:06 PM
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Very few sump pumps are GFCI protected. Inspectors generally allow the "not easily moved" exception. The word "easily" has enough ambiguity to allow the inspector a lot of leeway. It doesn't really matter what you or I think the word "easily" means.
 
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Old 02-22-06, 09:53 PM
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Cool

Originally Posted by Wayne Mitchell
My local inspector considers a sump as "not readily moveable". His logic was that the sump ain't going anywhere without the hole.
I totally agree. The NEC even states "in normal use".

Unlike a portable air compressor or a portable welder, it would not be normal to move the sump pump around to use it. So it's not just a matter of how heavy it is (I can pick up my 7 cu ft deep freeze and carry it around), but whether in normal use it would be readily moved around.
If I moved the sump pump, it would no longer be in normal use.

Nor could I unplug the sump and set up a table saw in its place on account of the hole in the floor.
So the space is dedicated.
 
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Old 02-23-06, 07:31 AM
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I think that I got in deeper than I wanted. Unfortunately, the law is always subject to interpretation. It just depends on which inspector happens to show up at your house and whether or not he is in a good mood. I'll probably change to a dedicated copper circuit. I'll check with the local authority and see what they say.

Since I'm not on a municipal sewer and have no main drain in the basement floor I'm overly cautious. My backup pump is connected to a portable battery pack that recharges itself from a different circuit. Since my main pump drains to a drywell the backup drains straight to the outdoors by another pipe. I tried to cover all the bases here with pump failure, power failure, drywell backup or freezing etc. Wayne Mitchell knows what I'm talking about with 8 inches of water in the basement.

Anyways we're way off topic. Thanks for everyone's help
 
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