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Thread: Pool pump wiring

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Jacksonville, Florida
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    Default Pool pump wiring

    I have an above ground pool, not storable, that I would like to have the pump wired with a timer and switch. Estimates thus far average about 900. I have a degree in Building Construction Technology and Design and used to build houses prior to joining the military. Currently I own a side business where I do all aspects of home improvement except outdoor electrical. I am ore than comfortable with indoor wiring but have not ventured to the outdoors as of yet and know there are vast differences between the two. I would like to get an opinion if I should tackle this project or quit being such a cheap SOB and pay to have it done. If I do it myself could I get a bit of guidance as to the procedure. Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Dec 2003
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    Kent, WA
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    Outdoor wiring isn't that much different than indoor. Everything pool costs a lot because of the rules. So first question -- where will the pump and timer be? In a little shed, a wall with roof cover, or totally exposed to the elements?

    Pool pumps need to be wired in conduit and require a green insulated grounding wire. So you'll have to run PVC conduit for this, buried 18" down where underground. Once you hit 360 degrees of bends, you need an access box because it is too hard to pull wires through more bends than that.

    The circuit must be GFCI protected. A design issue here is what do you need to put on these besides the pump? A pool light? The required general purpose receptacle located 6 to 20 feet from the pool? What is the amp rating of the pool pump and can it run on 120V or 240V (the amps will be half at 240V compared to 120V)?

    You'll need either a box with a dead front GFCI, or a GFCI circuit breaker. These can get expensive, especially 240V double pole GFCI's. So running your pool pump on 120V would be cheaper but depending on the amp draw and circuit length you may need to upsize the wire.

    I would think you could do this for about $400 in materials if you can avoid the double pole GFCI breaker and you have a shelter for the pump, timer, and disconnect switch. But it is important to cover everything you need now to avoid problems. Pool lights have their own special issues.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
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    For the most part I agree with Suemark, yet I have know idea what's meant by:

    Outdoor wiring isn't that much different than indoor.
    .
    Learning brings success. While you are waiting, I'm getting better!

  4. #4
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    He said he thought there were "vast differences between inside and outside wiring". I don't see them as that different. If you like romex, use UF cable for outside. Bury or run exposed but protected from damage. Use weatherproof boxes instead of the inside ones. Use weatherproof covers instead of the inside ones.

    The pool will be tougher since the cable wiring methods won't work. That will force him to conduit. But if he builds houses, he should be familiar with PVC pipe. Just don't use the plumbing elbows!
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  5. #5
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    Suemark, the pump will be exposed to the elements. At the pump itself I would just like to either hardwire it to its on circuit on put an outlet for the pump to plug into, again on its own circuit and I would like a switch located at the pump so I can turn it on and off with out having to run in to the timer. Can I put the timer out by the pump as well or is that against some wacky pool code? The pump runs on 120 and I have one vacancy in my breaker box for another breaker. Thanks for the info thus far

  6. #6
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    You can put it there as long as you maintain the proper distance from the water's edge (generally 5' or more). The pump has different distance rules for hard wired -vs- cord-and-plug connected. The tougher issue is the exposed to the elements part. That drives you to 3R raintight enclosures and outdoor type switch/junction boxes.

    You need a disconnect by the pool pump, and a switch is fine for that. The timer is usually not considered a disconnet because it could come on automatically.

    If the pump has a nameplate amp value of 15A or less, then I'd install a 20A GFCI breaker in your panel, run conduit to a post 5' or 6' from the pool, terminate that conduit to either a switch box or outdoor timer box. Put #12 copper green, white, and black wires in that conduit. I'm not sure what you're trying to do with the switch -vs- timer. Do you want to be able to over ride the timer (force the pool pump on), or just have a switch to kill power to the pump, or kill power to the timer and pump?

    From whatever switching scheme you use, run 1/2" plastic flex conduit from it to your pump.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  7. #7
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    I agree with Sue!!
    Learning brings success. While you are waiting, I'm getting better!

  8. #8
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    I want a switch by the pump so that when I am backwashing etc I can manually turn the pump on and off without having to do it through the timer. What about grounding. I have read some confusing things about grounding a pool pump. In your opinion should I hard wire the pump or just run an outlet to a post? Thanks again

  9. #9

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    If you install a receptacle for the pump it must be at least 10' away from the waters edge unless that receptacle for the pump is twist lock style then it can be 5' away. No wiring is allowed within 5' of the pool except to power an underwater light fixture. If your timer has a manual switch inside that you can use to control the pump it can serve as your disconnect to meet code and cycle the pump on and off during backwash. You might try to think ahead, if you live in an area that has freezing in winter you will probably want the GFI receptacle installed so you can disconnect the motor and drain the water and move the motor inside for the winter. This seems to be a common desire with above ground pool pumps, but not a requirement. Next consider if you have an underwater light for this pool. If you do your wiring design will have to pick up a separate power for that light. Grounding is done by the green insulated 12 awg wire ran in the conduit from the house. No ground rods are used. If you have a metal sided pool shell you will need to install a #8 copper wire from the shell of the pool to the lug on the casing of your motor as a bonding grid. Any timers or switches must be at least 5' from the pool water. Any non twist lock receptacles serving pool pumps and any other receptacles must be 10' away from the water's edge.

  10. #10
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    For some reason I assumed we was talking storable pools (That's another debate). Yet, WG is partially correct. It shall be no less than 6 feet from the inside walls of the pool if it meets the conditions in section 680.22 (A)(1).
    Learning brings success. While you are waiting, I'm getting better!

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