Submersible Pump Safety

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Old 06-10-18, 05:49 PM
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Submersible Pump Safety

I've had a pond for several years now that has a submersible pump that gets plugged into a GFI outlet for protection. The breaker I have for the two GFI outlets for use with my pond is dedicated to those two outlets only. I've been thinking about changing the breaker to a GFI breaker. Would that be redundant or is it added protection? I have had at least two GFI's in my house go bad over the years and it made me think about the consequences of my outdoor GFI outlet that my pump is plugged into in the event that it didn't work. Are there other safety factors that I should also consider?
 
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Old 06-10-18, 06:12 PM
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It would be redundant to put in a GFCI breaker upstream of the GFCI receptacles. If you want to install a GFCI breaker I recommend you install some standard receptacles at the pond.

Another option is to install the newest version of GFCI receptacles. The newest ones have an auto self test that was required by UL. If the device fails the self test it will disconnect power output of the receptacle. GEFI breakers also have this feature.

For what it is worth, GFCI breakers also go bad just like GFCI receptacles. I happen to recently had to replace a GFCI breaker to a fountain.

I should also point out that a ground fault is likely not going to damage your pump. It will actually be an indication that the pump is starting to fail and it is starting to leak current to ground.

Extra info:

Self-test functionality is a UL requirement on all GFCI devices commencing in June of 2015. This variant of the GFCI ensures its ground fault circuitry is functioning properly by automatically running diagnostic testing on a periodic basis. Should a problem be detected, the circuit breaker will trip and will need to be replaced.
 
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Old 06-11-18, 04:52 AM
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I occasionally swim in my pond so safety was a big concern. Instead of worrying about a submerged electric motor and power cord I have an air system. There is a pump located in a weatherproof box about 30 feet from the edge of the pond. Air is pumped through a hose underground and into the pond where the aerators are located in the deep end. That way there is no electricity in contact with the water.
 
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Old 06-11-18, 08:01 AM
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Thanks for the help. Pilot Dane, I failed to mention that my water is pumped about 80 feet to the head of a stream that runs back to the pond. Tolyn, if my GFI outlet went bad, wouldn't a GFI breaker then protect? I can imagine that if I actually had a ground fault that they would both trip at the same time, therefore being redundant. But let's just say that there is no ground fault and the outlet just goes bad for some reason and I'm not aware of it. THEN, at some point there is a break in the cord from the pump just from exposure to weather or wear and tear. Wouldn't the GFI breaker then be a backup for safety? My grandkids sometimes wade in the pond so I'm not so much concerned with damage to pump as safety to them.
 
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Old 06-11-18, 09:07 AM
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Generally when a GFCI fails it fails off. So, if there is a problem it fails to the safest condition and kills power to your pond.
 
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Old 06-11-18, 11:26 AM
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Pilot Dan, thanks. If it failed off then good, I don't have to worry about thinking I have protection and not have it. I was thinking if it went bad it would continue to supply electricity.
 
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Old 06-11-18, 05:16 PM
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Your best way to make sure a GFCI device is working correctly is to test them. Manufactures in the past have always said to test a GFCI device monthly but this was rarely done, if ever, by the user. This is why the latest GFCI devices have a self test function. This is why I recommended replacing your current GFCI devices to ones that self test.

While redundancy seams like a good idea, it can be a cause of nuance tripping of GFCI's. This is why I would recommend either a GFCI receptacle, or a GFCI breaker, not both.

One other thought to leave you with is a GFCI receptacle will only protect items plugged into it while a GFCI breaker will protect the entire length of the circuit starting at the panel.
 
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