GFCI protection for sump and sewer ejector pumps

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I'm currently working on a job where the sump pump in a residential basement either failed and burnt out (it was either clogged or failed to shut off) Because I needed to get into that basement to do some wiring I first had to buy a utility pump and a hose and pump the sitting water out. That took 6 hours to evacuate 12" of sitting water. Then I purchased a new sump pump and the manufacturer's recommendations state that it should be plugged into a GFCI receptacle.

Now, writing that into the pump instructions just to CYA I think is a travesty. IMHO, I would rather let the pump burn out than have it fail due to a GFCI problem. What hazard could possibly exist if it does develop a GFCI problem ? It's in a sump pit. By the same token, installing a GFCI for a sewer ejector pump is beyond a travesty. When the crap backs up in the basement, people will be changing out the GFCI protection.

I'm not expecting many responses. This is just a rant :-(
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
I agree with you and so does the State of NJ. GFCI protection would not be required as we still have the pre-2008 exceptions in our electrical code. Now the manufacturer instructions may be a different story.
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Ok, pump fails, fault to ground, it is no longer running but still faulted, No GFCI. What is the touch potential as we wade closer to the pump?

Yes, the same problem would exist if the GFCI receptacle tripped and the water rose above the device.

No win situation.
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Ok, pump fails, fault to ground, it is no longer running but still faulted, No GFCI. What is the touch potential as we wade closer to the pump?

Yes, the same problem would exist if the GFCI receptacle tripped and the water rose above the device.

No win situation.
Just a personal opinion but I wouldn't "wade" into standing water under any circumstances. As I mentioned in my OP, I used a utility pump with a garden hose. I set the pump into the standing water using a 10' piece of 1" EMT. Once it got down to a puddle I then chenged out the sump pump. Now, imagine if this was s sewer ejector pump that failed :)
 

takelly

Member
Location
South dakota
The 2020 code requires GFI protection of sump pumps regardless of what the inspector misses.

It would be tough to defend yourself in court if someone was injured or killed because of a code violation.

422.5(A)(6) Sump Pumps
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
The problem isn't that a sump pump needs GFCI protection. The problem is when you connect one via cord and plug connection, then the receptacle will quite often be in a location that requires GFCI protection of the receptacle regardless of what it supplies.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
The problem isn't that a sump pump needs GFCI protection. The problem is when you connect one via cord and plug connection, then the receptacle will quite often be in a location that requires GFCI protection of the receptacle regardless of what it supplies.
Under the 2020 sump pumps require GFCI protection if 60 amps or less and 150 volts to ground or less regardless of how it's connected. 240 volt hardwired pumps do not require the GFCI protection.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Under the 2020 sump pumps require GFCI protection if 60 amps or less and 150 volts to ground or less regardless of how it's connected. 240 volt hardwired pumps do not require the GFCI protection.
yes per 422.5. I'm not seeing anything on 240 volt hardwired - and generally that would still fall under 150 volts or less to ground unless you had a corner ground delta or high leg delta involved.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
yes per 422.5. I'm not seeing anything on 240 volt hardwired - and generally that would still fall under 150 volts or less to ground unless you had a corner ground delta or high leg delta involved.
Yes you're correct I was thinking 150 volts or less.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
Under the 2020 sump pumps require GFCI protection if 60 amps or less and 150 volts to ground or less regardless of how it's connected. 240 volt hardwired pumps do not require the GFCI protection.
The voltage limitation in 422.5(A) in the 2020 code is "150 volts or less to ground" requiring most 240 volt hard wired sump pumps to have GFCI protection.
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Just to clarify, in anticipation of an electrical inspection I installed a single 20 amp receptacle at about 4-5' off the basement floor for this pump. It is currently (and temporarily) on a std 20A breaker. The rest of the job is still being roughed-in. At the final I will install a GFCI breaker so that it can be reset at the breaker panel on the 1st floor in the event it trips. What is in the bsmt. is a gas fired furnace and AHU suspended from the ceiling. There will be a storage tank for the well water as well as water softening tanks and associated electronics. That will be on a level about 12" above the lower floor. If, by chance, the pump fails the chances of it damaging or having any affect on these two pieces of equipment are very slim, but possible in a severe storm condition. Now, if any of us were the HO we would know enough to check the breaker, especially in a storm. However, a regular HO would probably never check the breaker and a tripped GFCI breaker could result in an unfortunate issue.
 
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