GFI Breaker in New Subpanel

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  #1  
Old 04-06-06, 07:29 PM
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Question GFI Breaker in New Subpanel

I just finished installing a new subpanel, 50A, 12 circuits. One of the new breakers is going to be a 20 Amp GFI. It will feed a sump pump just to the right of the new subpanel a floor level.
1. Is a GFI correct for the sump pump or should it be a standard breaker?
2. Does the wire coming out of the GFI go to the GROUND bar in the new subpanel or does it connect to the neutral bar with all the white wires?
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  #2  
Old 04-06-06, 08:26 PM
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A GFI breaker is certainly permitted to supply a sump pump. However it is not _required_ for a sump pump. While GFI receptacles are generally required in unfinished basements, they are not required for 'equipment fixed in place'.

If you elect to use a GFI breaker, then the pigtail connects to the neutral bar.

If this is in an unfinished basement, and you elect not to use the GFI breaker, then you must use a _single_ receptacle for the pump (rather than a regular duplex receptacle), or you must otherwise make sure that the non-GFI-protected receptacle isn't available for general purpose use.

Many people would argue that it is better to permit a bit of leakage current to flow, than to have the sump pump stop working in a storm. The other side of the coin is that electricity and water don't mix well, and that it would be better to provide the shock protection. A strong argument is that if the equipment is functioning properly it should not trip a GFI breaker.

You have to decide what is more important for you.

I personally would _not_ use a GFI breaker for this pump, unless there were some alarm if the breaker should trip.

-Jon
 
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Old 04-06-06, 09:33 PM
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> Many people would argue that it is better to permit a bit of leakage
> current to flow, than to have the sump pump stop working in a storm.
> The other side of the coin is that electricity and water don't mix well,

Which is actually another argument against a GFCI for a sump pump: a flooded basement is a far worse electrical hazard than a little leakage inside a sump pump.

If you stand in the sump without unplugging the pump first, that's crazy, GFCI or not.

As for me, I prefer to stay dry; I feel much safer this way.
 
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Old 04-07-06, 10:51 AM
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My preference is no GFCI protection and a simplex receptacle for the sump pump. A false trip of this GFCI could be very expensive, and a properly grounded sump pump should pose no shock risk.
 
  #5  
Old 04-07-06, 11:13 AM
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The installation actually uses 2 120 Vac receptacles. One is for the main sump pump, 1/2HP, which has a piggyback receptacle for a backup DC pump. (sort of like Christmas tree lights). The battery charger plugs into the second outlet.
I guess the best advice appears to be to go with no GFCI and I need to use a duplex 120 Vac receptacle to supply power for both units.
The backup pump, `12 Vdc, operates if the 120 Vac goes out. The car like storage battery supplies about 2 hours of backup.
 
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