Sump Pump code GFI or no GFI?


Old 01-24-11, 03:19 PM
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Sump Pump code GFI or no GFI?

I just had a french drain installed in a basement, and this includes a sump pit and sump pump. Please settle a discussion I have had with other rehabbers like myself. Since the receptacle that the pump will be plugged into is less than 6 feet from the sump pit, I think that the receptacle should be a GFI. Another rehabber, with far more experience than me, has told me that I should NOT use a GFI receptacle there. He also says it is not required by the Code.

Can anyone here give a definitive answer on this, and point me to the section of the code that covers this question? Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-24-11, 03:34 PM
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As of 2008 NEC, all 120V 15A and 20A receptacles in all unfinished areas require GFCI protection, even those that power dedicated equipment like sump pumps or freezers. Distance to the sump pit is irrelevant. Previous versions of the code allowed dedicated receptacles to be non-GFCI, but that exception has been removed from the code. The article is NEC 210.8(A)(4-5) covering basements and crawlspaces.

There have been cases of people walking into a flooded basement or reaching into the pit to fix a faulty pump, getting knocked unconsciousness by a shock and drowning in the few inches of backed up water. GFCI makes very good sense in this case.
Old 01-24-11, 06:54 PM
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If in doubt, check this handy guide from Mike Holt on GFCI and AFCI protection.

Last edited by CasualJoe; 01-24-11 at 06:54 PM. Reason: typo
Old 01-24-11, 11:24 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NE Wis / Paris France{ In France for now }
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Also check with your local officails for latest code change due some local codes will not allow GFCI for sump pump.

I know in Wisconsin they still not allow GFCI for sump pump if you used single plex receptale but duplex then you must use the GFCI protection.

So I don't know about other states may have simauir requirement or not.

so the safest bet is inspector or building dept they will know the latest code verison.

{ Note : this may change due I haven't check the most recent change on state code due I am in France for a quite awhile }

Old 01-25-11, 09:49 AM
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Years ago my basement flooded while we were on vacation. All because the GFI outlet feeding my sump pump tripped. When we got home the basement had 6" of water, soggy insulation and mold all over. I had thousands of dollars of damage including losing some items that were irreplacable.

I removed the GFI and installed a non GFI, simplex receptacle to power my sump pump. I have since installed another sump that is not fed by a GFI receptacle. All of this at the suggestion of my local building inspector.

When somebody can cite an instance where there was a fatality as a result of a faulty sump pump and a flooded basement I might rethink that.

I am curious why the control circuitry for my hardwired pressurizer tank isn't a heck of a lot more dangerous. It's only 2-3 inches off the floor and has been totally submerged on a couple of occasions.

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