Problem With Well House Junction Box/Wiring

Reply

  #1  
Old 05-26-13, 04:09 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2013
Location: 27278
Posts: 3
Problem With Well House Junction Box/Wiring

Hi all,

I started having problems with my well pump yesterday. I opened up the junction box in the well house and found a broken (and corroded) wire, which I am assuming for now is the source of the issues. In the picture below, you can see three wires coming out of the conduit pipe, white, red, and ground. The black wire broke off right at the opening of the conduit.

Name:  IMG_7230 resized.jpg
Views: 6917
Size:  50.5 KB

So my question is if there is any easy way to reattach the wires. I tried tugging on the wires coming out of the conduit, but there isn't any more length to come out. Should I cut off a few inches of the conduit to get access to the black wire? Or is there something I'm not thinking of that would be easier? Either way, it looks like that junction box needs to be replaced.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 05-26-13, 04:22 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 46,277
Welcome to the forums.

If those are the wires that go towards or to the house maybe you can get slack from that end.

When you replace the box..... use a two gang weatherproof box and blank. They are available in 1/2" or 3/4" hubs.

I'm guessing there is a Franklin control box there too ?
 
  #3  
Old 05-26-13, 04:59 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
I would remove the box you have, cut back carefully on the conduit, replace the connector and safety bushing, allowing you to have enough wire to make the connections. What PJ said on the box type.
 
  #4  
Old 05-26-13, 07:23 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2013
Location: 27278
Posts: 3
Thanks, guys!! If all goes well, I'll get my water back tomorrow In answer to PJ's question, the Franklin control box is inside by the pressure tank. It appears to be working fine.
 
  #5  
Old 05-26-13, 09:28 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
While you're working on this anyway, it's an opportunity to replace that bare wire with a green insulated one. Especially since this sits in a wet, or at least damp, environment.

I think the code is, at best, ambiguous on this, but it is better practice to only run insulated conductors in conduit. Unless you want to bond the pipe to the grounding conductor at each end. That would work too.
 
  #6  
Old 05-26-13, 09:52 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 46,277
Bill.....If I didn't know any better I'd say that was three wire romex in that pipe.

Could be the reason it failed.....it got wet.
 
  #7  
Old 05-27-13, 04:26 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
And, maybe undersized. Difficult to tell, but it does look as if it is 12-3, and possibly on a 30 amp breaker. Need verification from cjspeterson.
 
  #8  
Old 05-27-13, 11:42 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2013
Location: 27278
Posts: 3
So, I cut back the pipe a few inches, and found a lot of burned rubber - the sheath was gone and the red wire was completely bare. Something must have shorted out and started a fire in there.

Then I started digging down where the conduit went into the ground, and it turns out that after about a foot or so of conduit, the conduit ends and the romex continues toward the house by itself--PJ and Chandler were right, it is 12 gauge, three wire romex. I didn't dig any farther, so I don't know if it goes back into conduit. I looked at the charts on the Franklin Electric site and it looks like 12-gauge wire should be sufficient - it's only a .5 hp motor and is about 100 feet from the house. The chart allows for 650 feet of 12 gauge wire, and I'm pretty sure the well isn't more than about 300 feet down.

Chandler, I just checked and it's actually on a 20-amp circuit.

So, a few questions, as you all have already been extraordinarily helpful:

1) If romex shouldn't be used inside the conduit, what kind of wire should be used?

2) Should I upgrade the circuit breaker? What size would you recommend?

3) If I have to cut the wire back enough that it no longer can reach the pump wires, can I put a junction box on the side of the well house? I'd be using a weather-proof box.

Thanks again!
 
  #9  
Old 05-27-13, 12:12 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
1. "Romex" shouldn't be used underground. Your cable should be gray in color indicating it is underground feeder, which is OK for direct burial.
2. Breaker size and wire are ok. I was concerned it was a 30 amp breaker with 12 gauge wire, and your wire became the "fuse".
3. Cut your wires back enough as you say to get solid wire with good covering, install it in a Jbox on the well house with a WP box and cover. Take off the bottom of the Jbox with a WP whip into the wellhouse to another jbox where you will connect all the wires together.
 
  #10  
Old 05-27-13, 05:40 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Bill.....If I didn't know any better I'd say that was three wire romex in that pipe.
Whoa! You could be right about that, Pete.
 
  #11  
Old 05-27-13, 06:51 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,065
And if the conduit is continuous to the house best practice is individual wires such as THWN.

Based on the fitting it almost appears to be EMT metal conduit. Best practice is not to use EMT for burial.
 
  #12  
Old 05-27-13, 06:52 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
1) If romex shouldn't be used inside the conduit, what kind of wire should be used?
You can use either Type UF cable, buried without conduit at a depth of 24", as Chandler suggested, or individual Type THWN conductors in rigid conduit at 6" or PVC conduit at 18". With GFCI protection on the circuit, the Type UF cable or the PVC conduit can be as shallow as 12".

2) Should I upgrade the circuit breaker? What size would you recommend?
No. A 20A circuit is plenty for the pump you have.

3) If I have to cut the wire back enough that it no longer can reach the pump wires, can I put a junction box on the side of the well house? I'd be using a weather-proof box.
You need to replace all of the wiring. You can install a box if that will make the job easier. Come to think of it, having a weatherproof disconnect there wouldn't be all bad.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 05-28-13 at 09:39 PM.
  #13  
Old 05-28-13, 06:25 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,405
Then I started digging down where the conduit went into the ground, and it turns out that after about a foot or so of conduit, the conduit ends and the romex continues toward the house by itself
This obviously is the problem, romex was used directly buried in earth. Like has been stated, this is where the cable should have been UF cable. You need a complete new circuit.
 
  #14  
Old 05-28-13, 09:37 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
In fact, Romex should only be used inside, in dry locations. It should not be used outside, nor run through continuous conduit. Certainly not both.

Several alternative wiring methods were suggested earlier.
 
  #15  
Old 05-28-13, 11:08 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,065
If the distance is greater than 125 feet you may need to use cable or wire larger than #12. If the pump is in the well the distance is the depth of the pump plus distance to supplying breaker box.
 
  #16  
Old 05-29-13, 10:06 AM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
If the distance is greater than 125 feet you may need to use cable or wire larger than #12.
Using 350' for the run and 3.1 amps for the load, I get #10 AWG wire to keep the voltage drop to less than 3%
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes