broken pool electrical lines

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Old 04-12-11, 03:21 PM
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Exclamation broken pool electrical lines

I was hoping that someone can point me in the correct direction for fixing some broken electric lines going to my pool filter/pump. We hit the line digging while trying to replace some plants in our backyard. The line was directly running along with some other plants that were already established so we had no clue they would be there. Unfortunately, we hit it with the shovel and broke the lines and popped the breaker. The lines are in some sort of conduit I believe, it is hard to tell. It is wrapped with some sort of tape as well. It also looked as if there was already some damage on it because the area surrounding where we hit it was very brittle and broke away quite easily compared to the other sections of the pipe. I cant imagine we broke thru the conduit by just stepping on the shovel if the conduit was fine. The ground was soft from recent rain so there was hardly any pressure needed to dig. 2 of the 5 wires inside are broken. I cannot tell what kind of pipe it is. Whether it is metal or pvc. Either way, I need to replace this section of the wire so I need to know what gauge of wires usually run thru this conduit and also what to use to replace this section of the conduit to make it safe to re-bury. Any help would be appreciated. I was thinking of connecting the wires with waterproof end caps (sorry, I dont know the technical term for them) inside whatever I use for pipe to be extra safe. I have pics as well if anyone would like to see.
 
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Old 04-12-11, 03:29 PM
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You'll need to expose some of the conduit to see what type of pipe it is to know what to replace it with. The broken wires are junk. Those will need to be pulled out from the junction boxes and new conductors pulled in; it makes sense to replace the others in the pipe too if there is a suspicion of damage or if they are of advanced age. The old insulation will not hold up to being pulled out and pulled back in. If the conduit is really in bad shape (rusted through) you may need to replace it all; but if it is intact you can probably just repair it and clean it out before repulling new conductors.

Open up the pull boxes on either end of the conduit to get a good look at the conductors going into the pipe to see what you are dealing with.

Generally it is best to get an electrician involved when dealing with a pool circuit because of the added complexity of codes for safety beyond normal household wiring; however we can help you do it if you're confident in your ability. It would help a lot if you could post pictures to an image sharing site and give us the URL to see them.
 
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Old 04-12-11, 03:37 PM
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I am pretty confident I can fix it. I was just try to avoid pretty much what you just said. I was hoping to just repair this area and open up the pipe to expose good wire and replace that section of wire without having to run all new wire thru the pipe. My circuit box is on one side of the house and the pump is on the other. (why would it be any closer to the box, right??). I am seeing my only options here are to see if I can repair this area or dig up the entire line and replace it. That wouldn't be extremely bad, it would just take forever and be alot of manual labor digging it up. Am I risking any electrical issues just repairing this section by jumpering the wires that are broke (or all in the section) and then maybe installing a new section of conduit over it?
 
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Old 04-12-11, 03:53 PM
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Am I risking any electrical issues just repairing this section by jumpering the wires that are broke (or all in the section) and then maybe installing a new section of conduit over it?
Splices in conduit are not code compliant even if there was room. You could bring the conduit up out of the ground at both sides of the bad area and install a Jbox above ground at each spot then run new conduit and wire between the Jboxes and make splices in the Jboxes.

This conduit is at least 18" deep isn't it?
 
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Old 04-12-11, 04:04 PM
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ok, so basically I can splice them back together just not in the conduit. Makes sense. You say to use a Jbox to do this. Can I just install a box in the ground and splice them together inside of it so I can bury everything out of sight again? Or does this have to be above ground with the Jbox? Is there anything I can use like this that is made to be buried? The line is just about 18" deep. It is pretty shallow as far as I am concerned. I totally didn't expect it to be right where it was. Especially since there are established plants at least 8 years old right next to it. When I dug around it, there are roots and such around the area so there was obviously something planted there before. Is there anyway to put some pics on here without uploading them to a site?
 
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Old 04-12-11, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by satrrt View Post
replace that section of wire without having to run all new wire thru the pipe.
How could you cut a conduit or install fittings with wires running through it?

My circuit box is on one side of the house and the pump is on the other.
There should be a pull box or LB fitting where the conduit exits the house and turns toward underground. You should be able to pull the wires back there and replace the LB with a junction box if you need to make a splice.

see if I can repair this area or dig up the entire line and replace it.
Try to pull back the old conductors to see if the pipe is intact. Trust me if it's collapsed and filled with soil the wires won't budge. You'll need to disconnect everything at the junction box on the pump side of the conduit. Take very good notes about how everything is connected and take digital pictures if you can.

Am I risking any electrical issues just repairing this section by jumpering the wires that are broke (or all in the section) and then maybe installing a new section of conduit over it?
Yes, hopefully the least trouble would just be a breaker that trips all the time, but you could introduce current into the ground and shock people in or near the pool.
 
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Old 04-12-11, 04:30 PM
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Pictures by poolguy7 - Photobucket

 

Last edited by ray2047; 04-12-11 at 05:15 PM. Reason: Embed photo.
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Old 04-12-11, 04:59 PM
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Thinwall EMT was used when rigid should have been used. The pipe needs to be replaced in its entirety.
 
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Old 04-12-11, 05:04 PM
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Nice. I guess that would explain why it looked rusted out to me in that section. So, if that is the case, can I get this at a Home Depot or Lowes? If so, what do I go in there and ask for? Will the wire be inside the conduit or do I need to purchase that separate? If so, what gauge am I looking for? (I guess I can just take some with me once I get it out.)
 
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Old 04-12-11, 05:23 PM
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PVC conduit is easy to work with and does not corrode like the metal.

The proper gauge is going to depend on the breaker size. You can buy the correct type of THWN by the foot or on spools. Looks like you need a white, a green and two blacks.
 
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Old 04-18-11, 04:43 PM
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Just wanted to update this. Thanks to everyone for all the advice. I dug up the entire line this weekend (approx 100ft) and installed new rigid pipe with new 12 gauge wires. I tried to actually put a box in the section where it was broke but as soon as I dug up some more of the pipe, I saw that other areas were rotting as well. One section actually broke just from me lifting it up out of the ground. I am glad I replaced the entire line. There were alot of areas that were messed up and damaged. It was alot of work but worth it to be safe. Thanks again for the advice. I appreciate it.
 
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Old 04-18-11, 04:45 PM
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Thanks for letting us know.
 
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Old 04-18-11, 04:58 PM
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one last thing. what is the black pipe tape actually for? I had to buy alot of it and it took forever to wrap each pipe and connection so I want to be sure that I actually had to buy it. Could I have just left the pipe as is and buried it without using the tape? Just want to know for future reference. Thanks.
 
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Old 04-18-11, 05:03 PM
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Never heard of wrapping conduit with black tape. Some gas lines are wrapped with anti-corrosion tape but unless you use EMT metal conduit corrosion isn't a problem and you really shouldn't bury EMT outside any way because of corrosion as you learned from the old conduit.
 
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Old 04-18-11, 05:08 PM
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Awesome I only did it because the old pipe had it on it. Which I realize now was because they used the wrong pipe to begin with. Well, mine is extra secure now I guess Wont be worrying about doing that in the future if I ever need to run anything like that again. Thanks.
 
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Old 04-18-11, 06:55 PM
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Just curious, you said you installed new rigid pipe. Was it rigid heavywall threaded pipe or rigid PVC schedule 40 pipe?
 
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Old 04-18-11, 07:04 PM
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it was rigid heavywall threaded.
 
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Old 04-18-11, 07:09 PM
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That should last you 50 years or so.
 
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Old 04-18-11, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by satrrt View Post
it was rigid heavywall threaded.
Wow! Way to go above and beyond! Most people would just have used electrical PVC.
 
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Old 04-18-11, 07:30 PM
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Remind me not to hire you to do work for me. I couldn't afford your quality of work.
 
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Old 04-18-11, 07:45 PM
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Most electricians I know wouldn't even do close to that.
 
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