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Thread: Pool pump wiring question (long)

  1. #1

    Question Pool pump wiring question (long)

    I am getting an above ground pool installed and I need to install the pool pump circuit. I read the pool guide, but still have a few questions.

    I will be running a new 20 amp circuit for the pool pump using 12/2 Romex to an inside metal 2" x3" outlet box. I will knock out the back of the box to connect 1/2" sched 40 PVC conduit with a PVC terminal adapter and locknut. I will then run the conduit at an 18" depth for a 95' run out to the pool. I will put a twist lock plug at 5' to 10'.

    I am required to have a convenience outlet at 10' to 20'. I already have an existing outlet in the yard that the prior owner used for a pool that was taken down before we bought the house. It is too close to the new pool, so I was going to dig up the last 10' or so and move it farther away. In doing so, I discovered that this circuit is buried UF cable at about 6-12" depending on where I look. It has EMT conduit at the post and on the outside wall of the house, then to a J-box inside where it switches to Romex. When I dig the trench for the pool pump I will have to expose part of this wire, so the inspector will see it, and I do not think it is to code (not deep enough?).

    1) I met with my local inspector when applying for the permits, and he told me that I did not have to use a GFCI breaker for the pool pump. He suggested that I just install a GFCI outlet in the outlet box on the inside or outside wall. This is clearly contrary to the NEC. Are these kinds of local deviations normal? Should I be concerned at all?

    2) I am considering re-wiring the convenience circuit using the same 18" trench as the pool pump circuit. My question is how? Can I run this circuit in the same 1/2" conduit with the pool pump circuit? That would be a total of 6 wires for 2 20 amp circuits. As an alternative, can I run another 1/2" conduit in the same trench, parallel to the pool pump conduit?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    only taking a stab at what i see heres and also trying to pick up on! WHY I dont know I'm retired.
    If getting inspection and dealing with an AHJ, if he agrees to a GFI receptacle? I guess in this case I woud'nt question it, since I dont see it as a safety concern. More as an inconvenience to you if tripping circuit alot. Since this pool wiring is so touchy if you do this you cant do that and so on. Hopefully someone will correct us, as i see this also as yourself. Not only are we dealing wiith safety concerns with pool wiring, along with them comes other ccode rulings butting heads with what your doing. I see the GFI receptacle(ruling out the location, he may have meant to install it at the J box insight where leaving house?) as non compliant because of the 50% draw on the circuit,(yet another code) now requiring no other loads, hence that GFI receptacle would allow for other loads, making that portion illegal. Assuming you have NO LIGHT in pool I see it as COST Factor Breaker VS the dead front GFI protector.
    Asfar as the conduit(PVC) I see no problem with running them together, only point missing yet, both must be protected with GFI breakers or dead front GFI protection FROM PANEL. Then again this maybe only WHEN a underwater LIGHT GFI circuit present. Either way if miss understanding I would GFI protect anyways.(location of that GFI protection would be the key)My QUess without light it's not required to go all the way to panel for the protection?? You may also be able to use only 1 common #12 green insulated now 5 wires. Otherwise see no problem running 2 PVC conduits in same trench, maybe an advantage when splitting at point for the general circuit.
    My final point would be to be able to have(if ok) those gfi's at a point closest since they are sesitive to dampness tripping, for convenience sake only.
    Excuse my $5oo dollars worth here but since time spent reading want to see what I read.
    Let;s see what other's say.GL

  3. #3


    Thanks for the reply. The inspector specifically mentioned cost savings in the conversation. He said why spend the money on the breaker? Just put a GFCI receptacle in the circuit. Hmm. He never even mentioned the dead front GFI. I will probably put in an inside GFI receptacle, knowing that I can just remove it and drop in a breaker at any time to satisfy the exact wording of the NEC.

    Also, I have no plans for an underwater light. I considered running conduit and wiring for it for the future, but I need to get this done quickly and also need to keep it simple, so no lights.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Kent, WA


    There is nothing wrong with protecting your pump with a GFCI receptacle. But, as wannabee said, if that pump draws more than 50% of your circuit's ampacity, then you can't have a general purpose receptacle on it. If you hard wire the pump, a GFCI is not even needed. A dead front GFCI may cost as about as much as a GFCI breaker, although testing and resetting may be more convenient with the receptacle and dead front versions -vs- a breaker. If your pump draws more than 12 amps at 120V, I would also increase your wire size to #10 for the buried segment. Ideal situation would be a 9.9 amp pump on a 20A circuit with #12 copper wire protected with a GFCI receptacle at the house.

    Buried UF cable can be at 12" for residential circuits if that cable is GFCI protected. So either run it from another GFCI receptacle at the house, or use a GFCI breaker, and you can get away with a 12" burial depth. If you want to rerun the circuit, you can have a parallel conduit, run a new length of 12-2 UF cable next to your conduit, or put all the wires in the same conduit. Using a common conduit may be the worst choice, so I'd pick one of the other two ways.
    Kent, WA

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