Well pump power


Old 04-21-07, 12:40 PM
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Well pump power

Does anyone know why the NEC does not require a GFI breaker for well pumps? I was watching a TOH rerun today and they were replacing a submersible pump. According to the well tech, the pump had spun in the casing and worn the insulation off the wires. He commented about the possibility of getting a shock from the houses water.

Years ago (pre GFI days) I got a shock in a flooded basement because the well pressure sensor switch was partially submerged and the breaker hadn't tripped.
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Old 04-21-07, 01:45 PM
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the well pump and any metal should be bonded to ground. That provides a 0 voltage reference so you do not get shocked when you complete a circuit between the fault carrying conductor and earth ground.

I realize there may not be enough current to trip the breaker but that is not of concern. What you are doing is removing the potential, nothing else.

The difference of potential is the problem, not current flow.

It is similar to the neutral. If you remove the neutral ground bond (including anything provided by the POCO), you will read voltage to ground and can get shocked from it. As long as there is 0 potential, no shocks.

that is why I can lay hands on any voltage as long as there is no voltage difference (potential) between me and the conductor touched safely and without injury.

I would like to hear more about how you got shocked before commenting on that incident.
Old 04-21-07, 05:35 PM
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All I know is you will NOT normally get shocked by the water alone. I was unknowingly in a flooded basement with the well pump pressure switch ON, not tripped. The switch was submerged, completely, and I was about 4' away. I did not feel a thing.
Old 04-21-07, 07:42 PM
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My basement had about 6" of water in it. When I stepped off the stairs into the water I got a shock.

I never could figure out how or why since I wasn't touching anything except the wooden handrail when I stepped off into the water. I know the well switch was almost completely covered and the breaker hadn't tripped. Since that was the only submerged electrical device I assumed that was the source of the shock. The basement was soaked having been wet for nearly two weeks.
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