Pool has two dedicated breakers tied together. Why?

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Old 06-18-19, 08:44 AM
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Question Pool has two dedicated breakers tied together. Why?

Hi,

First time poster here and looking for advice.

I purchased my new home with a pool not too long ago. The outdoor switch that turns the pool motor ON/OFF looks questionable (metal box bent with gaps that do not make it weatherproof), and I'm wanting to replace it with a new box and cover. I also want to potentially add a GFCI outlet next to it so I can do some low-voltage landscape lighting around the area (6 LED pathway lights, nothing crazy).

Before I attempt to do any work on it, I want to know if things are indeed "not safe" after getting back my inspection report. The inspector flagged two dedicated breakers for the pool that are tied together (20A & 30A). What is the meaning of this?

I'm attaching a screenshot of the breakers with the inspector's comments. Also, a picture of the light switch near the pool pump.
 
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Old 06-18-19, 09:12 AM
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That used to be done to make two single pole (120V) breakers into a double pole (240V). You should get a double pole breaker of the appropriate size.
 
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Old 06-18-19, 10:19 AM
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Be interesting to know if the pump was 120v on one breaker with the lights on the other. That could be a MWBC and might have been legal for pools at one time. The tie provides common on/off but not common trip.
 
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Old 06-18-19, 11:01 AM
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Hi, you definitely canít tie a single pole 20 and a single 30 together. What are they control?
Geo
 
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Old 06-18-19, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by zenclimber88
The outdoor switch that turns the pool motor ON/OFF looks questionable (metal box bent with gaps that do not make it weatherproof), and I'm wanting to replace it with a new box and cover.
Those metal boxes came with fairly thick rubber seals that fall apart over time. I'd just cut an old bicycle inner tube to make a temporary gasket until you figure out a long term wiring solution.


Originally Posted by zenclimber88
I purchased my new home with a pool not too long ago.
(snip)
I want to know if things are indeed "not safe" after getting back my inspection report. The inspector flagged two dedicated breakers for the pool that are tied together (20A & 30A). What is the meaning of this?
Why didn't you get the information from the Seller, before buying?
I'd ask your Realtor to contact the Seller's Agent and see if the Seller's Agent has contact info for the seller. If the house was recently flipped, sometimes you can find the name and contact the prior-seller to ask about the house.
 
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Old 06-18-19, 02:02 PM
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It's unconventional, but there are some situations in which it might have been legal when installed, which is the standard you have to use when judging existing circuits. I agree with the inspector's comment that it needs to be investigated inside the boxes and panels, but it is not necessarily a major problem.

It definitely doesn't meet today's pool code, but in my opinion that is an unreasonable standard for a used house.
 
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Old 06-18-19, 03:00 PM
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That is usually done for multi wire branch circuit (MWBC). In MWBC, you can share a single neutral wire with 2 hots of different phase to create 2 120V circuits without need of running extra wire or cable.
Handle it tied so that you turn off both hots in when the circuit is being serviced. If you turn off only one hot of MWBC and neutral is disconnected, the neutral will become hot through any loads that is connected. This is not safe. Therefore, a handle tie is required to use 2 single pole breakers or must use 2 pole breaker.
 
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Old 06-18-19, 04:58 PM
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Really that was quite typical on old Square D panels. A piece of copper wire or a bent over nail. I've seen that in many places. The questionable part is the 20A and 30A combined. I have a feeling you have a 240v pool pump and that should be 20A breakers or actually a 2P20A breaker.

You can check your pump to see if it's wired for 240v. If it's the only thing out there..... it most likely is and that will not leave you a place to connect a 120v receptacle.
 
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Old 06-18-19, 05:27 PM
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The questionable part is the 20A and 30A combined.
Did not see that.
Then, it is most likely done wrong. If it is 240V, replace it with 2 pole breaker of correct size.
 
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