Pool Heater Hook Up Q

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Old 06-11-09, 06:52 PM
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Pool Heater Hook Up Q

I recently acquired a used pool water heater (gas/propane fired) which uses 120 VAC for ignition, blower motor, etc. The manual specifies that it be plugged into a GFCI watertight outdoor receptacle (as one would expect). It also says "the heater must be electrically grounded and bonded in accordance with local codes or NEC ANSI/AFPA 70". Am I correct that they are referring to an independent ground of the heater unit itself to a ground rod or equivalent? I mean obviously the GFCI outlet will ground things via the breaker box so this is in addition to...?
 
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Old 06-11-09, 07:18 PM
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The heater would need to be bonded with a piece of copper no smaller than #8. The bonding would connect to the existing bonding around the pool.
 
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Old 06-12-09, 09:12 AM
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No ground rod is needed, but you should connect the heater to the existing bonding grid with a solid #8 copper wire and brass compression clamp.

If this is an above ground pool, you may not have a bonding grid. An in ground pool should have one evidenced by a solid copper wire connecting to a brass lug on the pump frame. You can use a brass compression clamp to tap on to the pump bond wire and extend a solid #8 copper wire to the bonding lug on the heater frame.
 
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Old 06-12-09, 10:29 AM
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It is an above ground pool. I'll check and see what the pump motor connections look like. Thanks. Do the pump and heater have to have dedicated circuits (provided the draw does not exceed breaker amperage)? It would be great to not have to run a separate line out there....
 
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Old 06-12-09, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike C5 View Post
Do the pump and heater have to have dedicated circuits (provided the draw does not exceed breaker amperage)? It would be great to not have to run a separate line out there....
They can share a circuit as long as neither the pump nor the heater draws more than 50% of the circuit ampacity; and combined they draw less than 80%. Do you know the amperage of the circuit and of the pump (horsepower, watts or amps)? The heater should have very low requirements, but it can't hurt to post those too.
 
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Old 06-13-09, 07:01 PM
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The pump motor is 1 hp, 12 amp and heater is rated at 2 amp. It's 12-2 romex in conduit going out there. Now for the strange part... I assumed the pool outlet (which is GFI) would be a dedicated circuit. Wrong. It turned out it is controlled by the electric dryer breakers. I haven't pulled the cover off the breaker box yet but it appears the P.O. kluged the feed by running it to 1 leg of the dryer 220V feed.... And instead of the normal double breaker you would expect for a 220V dryer circuit, 2 pairs of 20/30 amp split breakers (the kind that give you 2 breakers in the space of 1 normal sized one) are used and ganged together with a plastic handle . I suspect the dryer is on the 30 amp side and the pool pump on one of the 20's or what?.... Cover will have to come off.. nothing is ever easy.
 
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Old 06-15-09, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike C5 View Post
The pump motor is 1 hp, 12 amp and heater is rated at 2 amp.
I think since both the heater and pump are cord-and-plug connected that they can share the same GFCI receptacle and 20A circuit. Most of the special pool codes are geared toward hard-wired equipment, and a quick scan doesn't reveal anything about cord-and-plug heaters.

It's 12-2 romex in conduit going out there.
I hope it's actually 12-2 UF-B, which is waterproof. Regular romex NM-B will eventually rot underground. UF has a heavy plastic/rubber jacket (often gray) whereas NM has a thin PVC jacket (often white or yellow) with paper sleeves inside around the wires.

Now for the strange part...2 pairs of 20/30 amp split breakers (the kind that give you 2 breakers in the space of 1 normal sized one) are used and ganged together with a plastic handle . I suspect the dryer is on the 30 amp side and the pool pump on one of the 20's or what?.... Cover will have to come off.. nothing is ever easy.
It sounds like the pool is fed from a quad (dual-tandem) breaker, which is safe and legal assuming the breaker is listed for use in that panel model. The individual handles are actually separate circuits just in a smaller slot, so the pool and dryer are probably separate. Switch off just the 30A handles and see if the pump still operates.
 
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Old 06-16-09, 05:52 AM
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Thanks ib. I'll have to dig down a bit and see if it's conduit all the way to the house or just on the post. Hopefully it is all conduit so regular romex will survive.
 
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Old 06-16-09, 06:30 AM
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Mike,

Please don't use regular NM-B, romex, cable outside. It is for normally dry locations only. A conduit outside is a wet location. Please use individual conductors in the proper colors rated THWN in a conduit system.
 
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Old 06-16-09, 08:30 AM
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Mike, what you are missing, what many miss, is that conduit isn't intended to, and doesn't, protect from moisture or even filling with watter. Even if it were perfectly sealed below ground air will enter above ground where the conductors exit. Over time moisture condenses from the air that enters. Some moisture may evaporate but not all. You could eventually wind up with water filled conduit.
 
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Old 06-16-09, 11:50 AM
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Thank you Ray & PC, I was assuming the conduit could do the job of moisture protection. I will be checking this weekend to see what kind of cable it really is. I'll install the proper stuff if need be.
 
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