Three wire 220 to 110 VAC

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Well Doner, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. Well Doner

    Well Doner New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Our well is over100' from the electrical panel. It obvously runs on 220 VAC. There are three wires from the panel to the well, hot, hot and ground.

    In the past someone added a 110 VAC outlet at the wellhead for operation of 12 VAC landscape lighting and pipe heat tape. This outlet is not GFCI protected. Is there a way that I can protect this outlet? Could I use the "ground" from the panel as a neutral and drive a ground rod for the outlet ground?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    The current flow when the pump is running would trip the gfi. What you have won't meet code. You really need to run a new circuit, then you can gfci protect it either with an outlet or via a new CB.
  3. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    1,001
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    What you have won't meet code and never will, and is extremely unsafe.

    NO, you cannot use the ground as a neutral and sink a ground rod. A ground rod DOES NOT provide a "ground" in the sense you are thinking.

    You DO need to remove that unsafe receptacle and you do need another circuit run out there.
  4. Well Doner

    Well Doner New Member

    Messages:
    29
    A new wire is not possible (would have to rip up driveway landscaping, etc!).
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    3,274
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Driveways and landscaping can be bored under with a horizontal boring rig. This has been a common practice when installing electric/gas underground for a number of years.
  6. Well Doner

    Well Doner New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Well, there are a lot of obstacles between the electrical panel and the well head. To list a few --

    • paved winding driveway
    • Underground AC service entrance.
    • The AC transformer is halfway between here and there. The most logical place to cross would be in the pre-transformer (high-voltage) area.
    • There is a natural gas line
    • telcom
    • somewhere there is a video line (locating service will not locate these).
    • Add to this mix, a whole bunch of 75' or so fir trees.

    This hardly sounds like an easy or inexpensive job!

    Does anyone make 220VAC heat tape? Seems like that would be an easier solution (I know that I can find a 220VAC to 12 VAC transformer for the landscape lighting).
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,247
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    power

    The outlet is obviously improperly wired because your 220/240 circuit does not have a neutral wire, so there is no way a 110/120 outlet could have been properly wired into it. They also make 220/115 transformers which could power both items.
  8. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    1,001
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    I'm sure they do somewhere, especially for commercial applications.

    I commend you for wanting to do it right. :cool:
  9. Well Doner

    Well Doner New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Now that is an interesting idea which I had not thought of. How well are those protected for "wet" locatons. This will be installed in a well house, and it should be dry, but when a pipe breaks . . .
  10. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

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    432
    Location:
    USA
    Good advice.

    Make sure the well casing is bonded to ground while you are out the straightening this mess up.
  11. Well Doner

    Well Doner New Member

    Messages:
    29
    The 120 VAC outlet was installed by a professional well technician, so I would hope that he would know what he is doing.

    I did some additional poking around.

    My little circuit checker shows the presence of neutral and ground (two amber lights, no green). Three wires go down the well casing, but a green wire comes up from the pump and is grounded to the casing.

    Why would the pump even need a ground, one would think that submersed in a 165' well with 100' of steel casing embedded in the ground would be the best possible earth ground?
  12. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    1,001
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    WRONG!
    Why would you expect a well guy to know electrical, other than splicing the pump wires?

    That "professional" should stick to wells and leave the electric alone! In fact someone should let him know what STUPID and dangerous work his is doing!
  13. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    Oh yeah, he knew how to hack it in, thats for sure.


    You have a bootleg neutral.

    Most people don't understand electricity, never mind the codes that go along with it, the "earth or ground" has nothing to do with the little hole in a receptacle or that green wire that goes to a light fixture.

    But to answer your question, the pump has an equipment ground to facilitate the operation of the breaker in case of a ground fault. Without the equipment ground wire, the breaker would never open.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2008
  14. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    250.6(A).jpg

    Here is a picture of why its a violation. Just replace the water filter in the picture with a receptacle.
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