Septic system-electrical

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  #1  
Old 04-22-11, 04:20 PM
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Septic system-electrical

Greetings:

I have a situation that requires some troubleshooting and guidance. My sisterís house was built in 1995. (Summit county Ohio) She just replaced the septic system pump and all this time the original pump was running on a 14-2 gauge UF, which was wired into a j-box along with several other branch circuits. I am curious why the new pump isnít getting enough power to operate. ( I can feel a mild pulse of electricity at the plug connections. Could there be a short in the feeder? Am I using the correct female connector?) I know that this needs to be on a dedicated circuit. I wired in a new female adapter at the UF next to where the pumpís grounded connector is located. I also plan to lay in new UF to the pump and need guidance on whether I should use 14-2 or 12-2 UF?( about 75 ft distance) Can I dig an 18 inch deep trench and bury this feeder or should I encase this in pvc conduit? I plan on hooking this up to a GFCI which would then be on a dedicated circuit. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you.
 
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Old 04-22-11, 04:38 PM
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Could there be a short in the feeder?
A true short will cause a breaker to trip.

I also plan to lay in new UF to the pump and need guidance on whether I should use 14-2 or 12-2 UF?
Assuming the F/L amps of the pump is 15a or less I would suggest 12-3 and abandon the existing cable. At the breaker box you would use a 240v, 2-pole 20 amp breaker. This is called a multi-wire circuit. It provides two 120v 20 amp circuits. One circuit for accessories and a utility receptacle and one circuit for the pump .If you use a GFCI breaker burial depth can be a shallow as 12". If a regular breaker then depth must be 24" or greater.

All this though depends on F/L amps of the pump and the total amps for associated equipment. Give us those figures and we can give you a more precise answer. Is the pump convertible to 240v?
 
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Old 04-22-11, 04:56 PM
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I would disagree with Ray a bit on this one. A 12/3 would not be needed in this situation. While I tend to like having options of extra power here and there, having it at the septic system is not a location I like to "hang out". I would suggest a 12/2 would be just fine which you could run a 120v or 240v pump. If you are in sandy soil or have gophers around your area I suggest using PVC. Also remember you should have an alarm in your tank that may also nee to be wired. This is, in most cases, low voltage.
 
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Old 04-22-11, 05:01 PM
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I don't think there is an alarm in the tank. also, we talked to the manufacturer and recommended either 14-2 or 12-2, a GFCI and a dedicated circuit. my concern with the wire gauge was about the distance from the house to the pump.
 
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Old 04-22-11, 06:01 PM
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my concern with the wire gauge was about the distance from the house to the pump
That depends on the full load amps of the pump.
 
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Old 04-22-11, 06:04 PM
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My only reason for suggesting 12-3 was my lack of knowledge of modern septic tanks. I thought their might be other devices that also needed power.
 
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Old 04-23-11, 09:09 AM
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Mine is 12/3. One 120v for pump, one for 120v alarm. But mine is in 3/4" pvc and I used thhn wire.
 
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Old 04-23-11, 11:48 AM
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Does anyone know if I am required to use pvc? (according to the code)
 
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Old 04-23-11, 12:07 PM
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You do not need conduit if you use UF cable. If you use conduit best practice is to use individual conductors such as THWN. It is not a violation to use cable in conduit but it is harder to pull then individual conductors. Conduit in short lengths is used to protect the cable where needed such as above ground.

PVC is the most commonly used conduit because of cost, durability, and ease of installation. EMT is not normally buried because it corrodes too easily. RMC is very good but usually not used because of cost and difficulty of installation. Preceding applies to general use. Specific conduit types may be needed in special circumstances. PVC should be OK for your purposes.
 
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Old 04-23-11, 10:20 PM
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All our septics are wired with 12/3 115v in conduit.
The pumps we use are 115v and draw 11 to 12 amps.
The alarms are 24vdc low voltage.

Thought this info may help you.
 
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Old 04-25-11, 04:28 PM
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Ok, I have more information about the pump. It's rated at 115/120 volts, 8.7 amps and is 1/2 hp. What I plan on doing is to use 1/2 or 3/4 inch pvc conduit and run 12 gauge wire to a GFCI on a dedicated circuit. My questions about this are as follows: The pump has a three prong plug that would plug into a female adapter, (which I would secure the wire to). The wire I am planning to use THHN. Is this ok, any suggestions? I would like to put an alarm at the pump with the audible inside the home, which would mean one more hot wire. Where do I purchase this type of alarm and where does it terminate? If I'm using a GFCI mounted to an interior wall, where does the alarm hook into? Or is there a standard that requires another method? I know these questions may be numerous, but I need to be clear on this. I thank everybody for their replies; you've been very helpful to me.
 
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Old 04-25-11, 05:27 PM
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The pump has a three prong plug that would plug into a female adapter, (which I would secure the wire to).
Why? A receptacle is what you would noemally use.

What I plan on doing is to use 1/2 or 3/4 inch pvc conduit
1/2" is ok.

The wire I am planning to use THHN.
Yes, that is OK.

I'll let the pump pros answer the rest.

[pump's] rated at 115/120 volts, 8.7 amps and is 1/2 hp.
So you could use #14 on a 15a breaker but I'd go with #12/20a as you planed.
 
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