I have a circuit-breaker that is connected to lights in two rooms, and to a sewer pump in the basement. I had the sewer cleaned out and the pump inspected, and no problems were detected. I then had a new breaker switch installed. However, the new switch keeps tripping as well. This was not a problem for many years, so something has changed to create the problem.

What is the likely solution to this problem?

  • 2
    what is the load current (or horsepower) of the pump and what current rating is the breaker? – ryanwinchester Apr 27 '13 at 20:24
  • You said "the new switch keeps tripping as well.". Did you do all the work mentioned because the breaker was tripping, or did you do all the work and now the breaker is tripping? – Tester101 Apr 29 '13 at 11:15

Sewer pump should be hooked up to GFCI. So that is the first step - change out the outlet to a GFCI. The reason this will help you is first it is code in some places and second if the pump is the culprit then it will pop the GFCI outlet.

Also is this a 20 or 15 amp circuit. Some sewer pumps are rated for 20 amps and above. I actually have almost the exact same situation in my basement. And the pump does flip the breaker every once in a while. You are lucky to have lights on them. We had a couple outlets and one powered our deep freezer.

So get a GFCI. You could have a short - so look at the connections for everything. Then the last thing is look at the panel. If it is 15 Amp you might need to take the pump off the circuit and run a 20 amp line for it with 12 gauge wire...


It sounds as if there is a short or a ground fault somewhere on that circuit, possibly related to the two lights that are also on that circuit.

When a circuit trips it is because ungrounded conductor wire (typically black, red or white marked) somewhere on the circuit is making direct contact to the grounded conductor (white wire) or the equipment grounding conductor (green or bare wire) or metal appliance. This allows the electricity to take a shorter path back to the breaker box without completing the whole circuit. This can be a hazardous situation so the breaker trips to protect you by preventing shock or fire.

You can begin by removing the lights and the switch plates to these and inspecting for frayed, loose or disconnected wires on receptacles or connectors like wire nuts. Be sure to turn the breaker off and test with a proper voltage detector before attempting this to be safe. If the problem doesn't look immediately apparent then you may need to call an electrician.

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