Sump pump voltage question. Wait till you see this.

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K-Man

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Before we bought the house a contractor installed a sump pump in the crawl space. I think that was 8 yrs ago.

During a deluge I had a river running through the garage and out the door. I found out the GFCI receptacle had popped and would not reset. Temporary I ran an ext cord until I could replace the GFCI.
Good so far.

Thru some mishaps, unrelated and unimportant, I realized the contractor had cut the 230v line running to the HVAC air handler and installed the GFCI for the 115v sump pump. Not powered the pump/GFCI from one 125v leg to ground, but between the 230v legs. That’s prob why the GFCI fried and would not reset.

But the pump is original - I can’t believe it’s been running on 230v for how many years??
What happens in that case? I’d think that the motor windings would fry?? No??

side note:
the 230v line to the HVAC is 10/2 romex. There wasn’t enough slack to get the receptacle in so he extended it - put in two boxes and 12/2 romex between them!!!! What a dumass.
They had to have shut off the breaker to do it and clearly would have seen it was a double breaker, ie, 230v that they were cutting into.
 

hj

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It reminds me of a situation I had many years ago. We were doing a commcial construction project and someone asked about plugging their cord into a recepacle. The heating guys told them to use the one they were using. I said, "No way! That is a 240 volt outlet, even though it had a 120 v. receptacle". The heating guys said, "That's impossible. We have been using it for our Ridgid 300 machine for weeks;" I got the elelctrician to come over and he told them it WAS 240 volts, and they commented, maybe that's why the machine seemed to turn so fast and the threads were getting cut so quickly.
 

K-Man

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[QUOTE "That's impossible. We have been using it for our Ridgid 300 machine for weeks;" I got the elelctrician to come over and he told them it WAS 240 volts, and they commented, maybe that's why the machine seemed to turn so fast and the threads were getting cut so quickly.[/QUOTE]

Funny stuff! TY hj.

So it wouldn’t have fried the sump pump?
I have no clue how long it had or hadn’t been working.

I can’t recall when I discovered the wounded GFCI during the flood whether it had already popped, or if I had tested it and it wouldn’t reset (the pump wasn’t working- found out due to the float switch being stuck.). But I’m convinced the high V fried it (I abandoned the ext cord last week and replaced the GFI, which set ok but when I tested it then it wouldn’t reset - fried. That’s what started me “looking into things.”)
 

Jona77

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GFI's are breakers, breakers trip due to over CURRENT conditions. You can successfully or unsuccessfully run any item on any voltage, performance will be effected in various ways - either decreased or increased operating speeds or torques or overcurrent conditions which can damage or destroy the item drawing the load. IF the GFI never tripped before and then tripped, I would consider the pump motor OK, but not great as it likely never saw an overcurrent until the one that killed the GFI. That being said it may have increased wear from the higher voltage and increased pumping speed, possibly to the point of burning out or shorting something and drawing that increased amperage which set off the GFI.

It's also possible the sump pump is immediately tripping the GFI again when you reset it. If it's running on an extension cord to a NON-GFI plug I would attempt to reset the GFI again with nothing plugged into it. It's possible the non GFI plug you are plugged into has a breaker with a higher amperage rating than the GFI and the pump motor is still shorting which would make this potentially unsafe when the pump eventually runs.

Besides rectifying the wiring I would likely replace the pump and GFI as they're both unreliable at this point

A good way to consider voltage is a fully charged 18V battery running a drill, when it is almost empty the drill may turn much slower as the voltage (electrical potential) decreases

EDIT: just saw what you said. That pump is hooped and drawing more power than it needs that is why the GFI won't reset. Replace the pump ! Best case scenario it's costing you a lot of electricity, worst case it burns down your house. DO NOT plug it into the extension cord again if it's continuously frying GFI's it is faulty. I would say almost certainly the increased voltage ran the pump too hard and something is internally shorted and sucking too much amperage and blowing GFI's.
 

K-Man

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GFI's are breakers, breakers trip due to over CURRENT conditions. You can successfully or unsuccessfully run any item on any voltage, performance will be effected in various ways - either decreased or increased operating speeds or torques or overcurrent conditions which can damage or destroy the item drawing the load. IF the GFI never tripped before and then tripped, I would consider the pump motor OK, but not great as it likely never saw an overcurrent until the one that killed the GFI. That being said it may have increased wear from the higher voltage and increased pumping speed, possibly to the point of burning out or shorting something and drawing that increased amperage which set off the GFI.

It's also possible the sump pump is immediately tripping the GFI again when you reset it. If it's running on an extension cord to a NON-GFI plug I would attempt to reset the GFI again with nothing plugged into it. It's possible the non GFI plug you are plugged into has a breaker with a higher amperage rating than the GFI and the pump motor is still shorting which would make this potentially unsafe when the pump eventually runs.

Besides rectifying the wiring I would likely replace the pump and GFI as they're both unreliable at this point

A good way to consider voltage is a fully charged 18V battery running a drill, when it is almost empty the drill may turn much slower as the voltage (electrical potential) decreases

EDIT: just saw what you said. That pump is hooped and drawing more power than it needs that is why the GFI won't reset. Replace the pump ! Best case scenario it's costing you a lot of electricity, worst case it burns down your house. DO NOT plug it into the extension cord again if it's continuously frying GFI's it is faulty. I would say almost certainly the increased voltage ran the pump too hard and something is internally shorted and sucking too much amperage and blowing GFI's.

Thanks Jona77 for your thoughts/insight -

A couple clarifications -
The pump never tripped the new GFI. It runs perfectly on the ext cord (and I need to check, but it may be on a separate GFI breaker.) I tested the GFI after installing it and then it would not reset (again, I suspect the 240 v is what's fried them (both the original and my replacement.)
Neither would reset with the pump unplugged. I need to contact the mfgr and ask that question about over voltage on their GFI.

My understanding is that the GFI isn't an over-current breaker - it simply compares the amperage between the two legs and if there is a micro difference, it pops. However, the receptacle naturally has a rating (120v/15a?) and maybe that's why it fried.)

I recall the sequence now -- back on the flood day -- the pump was not running (float switch issue.) I fixed that and it ran okay (I don't recall it turning more quickly but it very well might have been. Seems the sump was emptying very quickly -- maybe faster than I expected, but....) I checked the GFI and then it fried (would not reset -- not due to the pump but due to me.)

After I put it on the ext cord, it ran perfectly (and when I replaced the GFI I did not run it -- and then when I realized it was 240v, I didn't want to try!! :(;):p )
 

Jona77

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Yes GFI's compare amperage in and out of the circuit, in my opinion you can consider that a more sensitive breaker. In a short situation a breaker would pop if the amperage is above X amount. In a GFI if the amperage on the return (neutral) is different from the amperage on the supply (hot) it will open the circuit. This allows the circuit to supply substantial amperage while being able to break faster and at much safer levels instead of hitting those plug/breaker amperage ratings of 15 or 20 amps (less than 1 amp can kill you).

It is possible the contacts of the test button were welded by the high voltage and it is stuck in test mode, in this situation the resistor in the test circuit would change the amperage out and keep the GFI tripped. It's also possible there's an issue down the line effecting the GFI.

I would check the pump to see what voltage it is rated for and if it's 240V and far enough from the pump pit I would skip the GFI and go regular outlet.

If it's rated for 120 I would get it plugged into a 120 source and no GFI - maybe a power bar with overcurrent protection.

FYI I am not a residential electrician I am an aircraft mechanic and VERY amateur carpenter/plumber/electrician.. Haha
 

K-Man

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The pump is a typical 120v submersible pump w/ a separate (not internal or attached) cabled float switch.

No issue down line from the GFI - anyway right now the GFI controls only that receptacle, the 240v HVAC is fed right thru from the line terminals, not from the load terminals. And the air handler didn't affect the GFI -- it's been shut down.

The whole shebang is in a crawl space adjacent to the basement, so a GFI is "required." That said, I do not feel that a GFI on a sump pump in that location is the wisest install and will likely eliminate that (keep that between you and I.) If it was a lighting circuit or a non-critical receptacle then I have no issue w/ a GFI but I don't like the idea of a pump shutting down in a damp environment when it's really needed.

There are other 120v circuits in the crawl space that I could break into, but I may just run a new circuit. I want to install two outdoor receptacles on the outside of the crawl space brick wall a new circuit that will provide a source for those.)
 
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