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Old 11-10-2013, 04:49 PM   #1
jb59
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Default pump keeps tripping circuit breaker

My wife and I have a house that has an effluent pump. The house was hers before we got married so I wasn't here when it was installed /not that I have much of a working background in plumbing to begin with. Apparently the person that installed the original pump (we are now on the 5th pump in this house that's only 8 or 9 years old) didn't know much about plumbing either. The problem is that the alarm started going off indicating that the pump wasn't working.

Two days ago, when this problem resurfaced (after about a year with no problems), my wife called out a local plumber (he seemed energetic but was kind of young and I think - inexperienced). After looking at both wells (grey water and blackwater), he couldn't narrow down the problem. Just before he left, he discovered the circuit breaker had tripped. He reset the circuit breaker and we thought that the was the end of the problem. Until the following morning when the above problem happened again.

Every time we reset the circuit breaker, it trips again almost immediately. The last person we had that installed this pump has since gone out of business.

We had an electrician out yesterday and narrowed the problem down to either a faulty pump, faulty wiring OR faulty circuit breaker (the latter possibility being doubtful). It should be noted that it was the electrician's opinion that the installer of the pump must have mistakenly brought a 110 pump to complete the last job instead of a 220 pump and therefore took the easy way out of that problem, switching circuit breakers (110 vice a 220) instead of bringing in a new 220 pump.

Again, I have zero experience in plumbing or electrical work. I recently retired from the Air Force and I just never found myself in a predicament where I had to learn these trades. I now am wishing I had been a little more proactive and at least picked up some of the basics.

Nevertheless, my wife and I live on a small income and are located a fair distance from the nearest town in PA Dutch country. My wife told me that the last person to install a pump charged her $1,000 for the pump and I found the very same pump on Amazon for under $150. This one being the 5th pump, I don't think we should have to keep purchasing these expensive pumps which are supposed to have a ten year lifespan.

I'm hoping the problem to our dilemma lies in the wiring. Right now we have a electrician that is shaking his head unsure of how to fix the problem and on the other hand we have a young plumber that isn't too sure about to fix it either.

Am hoping perhaps somewhere in these forums with a little more working background than I could offer up a tip or suggestion.

Thanks sincerely for any input.

Joe



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Old 11-10-2013, 05:04 PM   #2
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I do know if electrical breakers are tripped constantly, they will themselves become weak. I would first replace the breaker with a new one, making sure the amperage is the same.



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Old 11-10-2013, 07:13 PM   #3
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A few things to consider: Change out the breaker, they are cheap. Have the pump tested by an experienced motor / pump repairman, not a freshly minted residential wireman. The motor may have a leak (I assume this is a submersible pump?) or the cord may have a fault. Is the breaker a GFI type?
Most of all, considering the pump history, is the tank big enough? If the relatively large pump is installed in too small a tank the pump may be "short-cycling", greatly accelerating wear and motor heating, leading to early failure.

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Old 11-11-2013, 02:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by havasu View Post
I do know if electrical breakers are tripped constantly, they will themselves become weak. I would first replace the breaker with a new one, making sure the amperage is the same.
Thanks much for this reply. Am passing this on to my wife whom will be here tomorrow when the electrician comes to look at this again.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Nukedaddy View Post
A few things to consider: Change out the breaker, they are cheap. Have the pump tested by an experienced motor / pump repairman, not a freshly minted residential wireman. The motor may have a leak (I assume this is a submersible pump?) or the cord may have a fault. Is the breaker a GFI type?
Most of all, considering the pump history, is the tank big enough? If the relatively large pump is installed in too small a tank the pump may be "short-cycling", greatly accelerating wear and motor heating, leading to early failure.
The pump is wired directly into the fuse box. Not sure if it's GFI. As I won't be here tomorrow when the electrician comes, I am passing this information on to my wife.

The tank is a 1000 gallon tank. The pump, I believe, is a 110 pump but unsure of the strength of it. My mother-in-law has the paperwork on it and is supposed to be supplying us with this information soon.

Thank you Nukedaddy for this information.
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Old 12-23-2013, 03:34 AM   #6
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I'm curious what the solution is...

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Old 12-23-2013, 01:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
I'm curious what the solution is...
It would be nice if the OP's would come back and tell us what actually fixed the problem.


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