Wiring sub panel for pool

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Old 02-07-17, 01:19 PM
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Wiring sub panel for pool

I am in the process of renovating my pool equipment pad plumbing and electrical. The original setup was old and had been pieced together many times over the years. I have a few questions listed below.....

1) I purchased a new sub panel that can be converted to a main panel. It has space for 8 breakers so that put me over the 6 throw limit in a sub panel. I like the idea of having a main breaker in the sub panel in case something needs to be replaced or worked on I can either kill the one item or everything at the pool. I do not see anything against this in the codes but wanted to make sure this is ok to do. The sub panel is only 6 feet from my main house panel and both are attached to the house. This panel was only $5 more than a traditional sub panel with no main.


2) I now have an issue with needing a service disconnect for the pump. I have read online that the breaker should not be used as the service disconnect. What would be the best option? Install a 20A switch with water tight cover to manually turn the pump off? Can this type of switch be wired to control two hots?

3) I will be running a 60A breaker in the main panel to the sub panel and a 60A main breaker in the sub panel. The panel is rated at 125A. Since I plan to add a heater in the next few years should i go ahead and wire it for a larger service? What wire is recommended, THWN? I also have read that it needs to be encased in sch 80 PVC and should be stranded wire instead of pre grouped wire. Is that correct?

Any ideas or suggestions would be great.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 02:00 PM
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1. The main breaker is optional on your subpanel. If you use a backfed breaker as the main, it needs a hold-down clip.

2. The breaker may be used as a disconnect for the pump if it is within line-of-sight of the pump OR if it has a breaker lock shackle. Otherwise, an air-conditioner style pull out disconnect would be OK. Note that a GFCI breaker is now required for in-ground pool pump motors.

3. I would wire the panel for the planned requirement of the heater. For everything related to the pool you need to use conduit with THWN wires. Cables with bare ground wires are not permitted. Schedule 80 conduit would only be required if this is installed in an area subject to damage (like in a driveway/parking lot). Otherwise standard sch 40 PVC is OK.

* Don't forget about the equipotential bonding requirements which have grown significantly in the recent years.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 02:32 PM
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Thanks for the info! I was going to use the backfed breaker until I found a similar panel for a few bucks more. I just feel more comfortable with the main at the top if something ever went wrong and someone else needed to kill the power.

Although the pump is directly below the sub panel I may install a switch in a water resistant cover for a disconnect. That way I do not have to flip the breaker to backwash the filter. I just thought about that while I was typing. Not sure a breaker is rated to be continually switch on/off on a weekly bases?

Thanks for the note about the GFCI breaker for the pump. I know the lighting needs it but had been searching about the pump needing it.

Can I use PVC to connect the sub panel to the pumps or is the liquidtight required? Anyway to bring all the wires from the sub panel to the pool pad in PVC and then switch to liquidtight? Just looking for the cleanest install with the least amount of cable runs down the wall from the sub panel.

I am currently in the process of verifying the pool actually has bonding. Trying to find what year it was built to get a starting point on what was required at that time.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 02:39 PM
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If the breaker has an "SWD" rating it can be used as a switch on a regular basis.

You should use liquidtight to make the final connection to the pump to allow for motor vibrations and movement. Given that it's only a few feet you can run liquidtight the whole way from the panel or you can do rigid PVC part of the way and transition to liquidtight a short distance from the pump.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 02:45 PM
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I will check that breaker rating.

I have three pumps for the pool. Can I run all the wires in one PVC to the ground and then split from that point? That way I do not have separate runs down the wall?

Also, I plan to connect the sub panel to the main panel using PVC. It will come out the bottom of the main panel to the ground, go under ground about 8 feet and come back up to enter the sub panel. Would PVC be the best option for that?
 
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Old 02-07-17, 02:50 PM
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As long as box fill and conduit fill limits are not exceeded, you can run one conduit to a junction box and then split off three liquidtight conduits from there.

Yes PVC is a good option for that. Burial depth is minimum 24" to the top of the pipe for all underground wiring feeding pool equipment.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 02:56 PM
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I will have to read up on the box and conduit fill limits... Cant say I have dealt with that.

What about running the wire to the pool lights? They are currently laying on top of the ground (not sure how that passed inspection). Does that need to be in continuous PVC or Liquidtight? Will this also need to be buried 24"?
 
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Old 02-07-17, 03:09 PM
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I haven't done built-in lights in a while so I can't speak for certain. I recommend you get a copy of NEC article 680 for the year your state is enforcing. The details around lights are rather complicated and specific.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 03:26 PM
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I will check that code. Read it in the past but need a refresher. What size pvc would you recommend from main to sub panel?
 
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Old 02-08-17, 11:20 AM
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I was reading up and it appears that I would need the following wire...

100A = 3-3-3-5 copper THWN
or
60A = 6-6-6-6 copper THWN

Does that sound correct for main panel to sub panel?

Also, the only THWN wire I can find is a double rated THHN/THWN-2. Is that what I am looking for?
 
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Old 02-08-17, 11:46 AM
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Ground wire for 100 amps can be #8 copper. Ground wire for 60 amp can be #10 copper. In some cases if it is mostly 240v loads the inspector mayl let you drop a size on the neutral for 100 amps.

Dual rated THHN/THWN is okay. You would be hard pressed to find any that isn't.
 
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Old 02-08-17, 12:22 PM
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So 3-3-3-8 for 100A and 6-6-6-10 for 60A?

Also, does the wire for the pumps and the lights need to be THWN also or can they be standard underground rated wiring?
 
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Old 02-08-17, 01:01 PM
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Correct on the THWH sizes.

Yes, the wire in the pump and light conduits also needs to be THWN. If by "standard underground" wiring you mean UF-B cable, it is not allowed anywhere in pool wiring due to having a bare ground wire. Pool wiring needs green insulated copper ground wires #12 or larger. Note even if your pool equipment only requires a 15A circuit with #14 hots, the ground still must be #12.
 
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Old 02-08-17, 01:30 PM
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You have been very helpful! I appreciate all your help. This entire pool has been wired incorrectly and was never noticed by the inspector. Since I am updating it I want it to be correct based on code. So any wiring around the pool needs to be THWN #12 or greater and incased in PVC/Liquidtight and buried 24" to top of conduit?
 
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Old 02-08-17, 01:54 PM
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Wiring feeding pool equipment, yes. Other wiring not feeding pool equipment is not allowed within 10 feet of the pool rim.
 
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Old 02-08-17, 02:26 PM
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ok. So I have post lights that are probably 15 feet from the pool. Those wires can be UF-B as long as they are more than 10 feet from the rim?
 
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Old 02-08-17, 02:46 PM
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Correct on the post lights.
 
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Old 02-09-17, 01:10 PM
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Question about GFI breakers. Where are they required? This is my plan, please correct if I am out of line..

GFI to main recessed pool light
Standard to main pool pump
Standard to booster pump
Standard to GFI outlet powering a stenner (chlorine) pump
Standard to GFI outlet

The pumps are both hard wired in. Is lighting the only place required to have a GFI breaker?
 
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Old 02-09-17, 01:23 PM
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GFCI breakers are required on both of the pumps; the others are OK.
 
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Old 02-09-17, 01:25 PM
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Thanks. I had read both were OK but wanted to hear your opinions.
 
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Old 02-09-17, 01:38 PM
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GFCI protection has been phased-in since 2008 for in-ground pool motors of various sizes and designs. In the most recent code all pool pump motors require it. If you come across materials from the transition years you'll get a mish mash of answers due to the rapidly changing pool code requirements in the last decade.
 
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Old 02-09-17, 01:49 PM
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I know it's overkill (pun not intended) but for a pool area, I would have GFI breakers to all pumps/outlets/lights/etc. Just to guard against Murphy.
 
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Old 02-09-17, 02:12 PM
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That's a good point. Better to be safer than sorry. Also. Does the THWN wire need to be solid or stranded? One better than the other?
 
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Old 02-09-17, 02:30 PM
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Solid or stranded is up to you for the power wires. The bonding wire must be solid copper however.
 
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Old 02-09-17, 02:39 PM
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Thanks guys! I think the solid I seen was only #12 that came in a strand of 3. Now I need to dig deeper into wire sizing for lights, pumps, outlets, etc...
 
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Old 02-09-17, 09:19 PM
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This is the inside of my new sub panel. I am waiting on the kit to add the main disconnect at the top, had to be ordered. This panel will be 10 feet from the main panel and attached to the same structure. I will have the four wires from main to sub, no jump between neutral and ground and no bonding screw from neutral to panel.



I purchased the grounding bar kit and now I am confused where to install it. Below are two pictures showing the bar in different locations. Is the ground supposed to be attached to the can in a sub panel? First picture shows ground in slot on left similar to neutral bar, but the bar isn't long enough to snap into place.



This picture show the bar on the box aligned with two predrilled threaded holes. This doesn't seem correct as part of the bar holes are blocked by the plastic tab.

 

Last edited by joshua5438; 02-09-17 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 02-09-17, 10:30 PM
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Try moving the bar down. There is another hole below the bar on the outside left.
 
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Old 02-10-17, 06:03 AM
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That hole doesn't line up. You can mount a 24 post bar from the top hole to the bottom. It also seems odd for the wires to turn left to attach as I have never seen them that way. So it needs to be screwed to the can or can it be attached to the plastic?
 
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Old 02-10-17, 08:18 AM
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It must be screwed to the metal box. You can drill and tap new hole(s) if you need to.
 
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Old 02-10-17, 08:23 AM
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So it needs to be screwed to the can or can it be attached to the plastic?
It must be bonded to the metal. Plastic would isolate it.
I am waiting on the kit to add the main disconnect at the top
A mainbreaker panel kit is common and always comes with a main breaker and several branch circuit breakers. Usually they are cheaper than a panel sold with no breakers. Given how easy they are to find in stores and now the ground bar problem I'd take that panel back and buy one that comes with the main breaker already installed. Examples:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-PowerM...CU1K/100182490

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D-...RBVP/204836335

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Eaton-125...RV10/100562920
 
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Old 02-10-17, 09:11 AM
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In the first link for the GE panel. It has a picture showing the interior of the panel. Both bars are mounted on the plastic interior. I know they are showing a main panel setup so the grounds and neutrals are connected. If you remove the connecting bar, how is that any different than what I have now? The bar on the right in my panel came with a bonding screw. Can I use that screw on the grounding side to bond
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-10-17 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 02-10-17, 09:49 AM
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The ground bar needs to be solidly connected to the case per code. The way any given manufacturer chooses to do that is documented in their installation instruction for the panel or the add-on kit. Some bolt to the case, some have stand-offs with long machine screws, some have short machine screws, some are spot welded or riveted. As long as you're using the right part for the panel and following the install instructions, you're good.
 
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Old 02-10-17, 11:13 AM
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Ok. The instructions are very vague on the ground bar packaging. So the bonding screw will not suffice as the ground bar bond to the panel? I will keep searching to see if I can find additional info on the panel I have.
 
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Old 02-10-17, 12:51 PM
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I cannot find any GFI double breakers for the pool pump. Both pumps will be 220V hardwired in. Are yall sure it needs to be GFI rated? Still looking for that code.
 
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Old 02-10-17, 01:42 PM
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100% sure. The article number is 680.21(C). What is the brand of the panel and what are the electrical requirements of the pumps?
 
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Old 02-10-17, 01:57 PM
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Can I use that screw on the grounding side to bond the ground to the panel or does the entire bar have to be attached to the metal.
You should be able to buy an add on ground bar. Then you can skip the old debate if one of the neutral bars can be converted to a ground bar.

My posting was to show you main breaker kits are cheap and always come with the main breaker attached. No special order is required for main breaker. I included three different brands.
 
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Old 02-10-17, 03:41 PM
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The panel I have is a GE TLM812RCU2P. It comes as a sub panel with a conversion to a main panel. I have $50 total in this panel. I want to stick with GE because that's what my main panel is.

TLM812RCU2P - sub panel
TQMH000 - conversion kit
TGK12CP - ground bar

I found that code right after I posted. Thanks for posting though!

My pumps are both Hayward pumps

Main pump - 7.5amps / 230
Booster pump - 6.9amps / 208
 
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Old 02-10-17, 04:54 PM
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Isn't that a single pole?
 
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Old 02-10-17, 05:10 PM
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Sure is SP. Just my day for mistakes. Sorry about that.

You may have to go to a 20a breaker or use a the same breaker for both pumps. Given their amperage at 240 volts you should be okay (7.5+5.98*=13.48). You'd need #12 wire. Wait for the mods opinion though.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-Q-Line...0GFP/100205821

*Converted booster amps at 208 to amps at 240.
 
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Old 02-10-17, 06:15 PM
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That's not a bad idea on both being on single breaker. I will research that myself a little more. I also found a 24 post ground bar for my panel. Only 20 cent more than what I currently have. That will give me plenty to attach to since 5 of the post are blocked by the plastic internals. I really appreciate all the help!
 
 

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