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I want to add a gfci and surge protector to the 240v circuit for my pool pump. The 12 guage power wires (red and black) and ground (green) run from the corner of yard directly to the main breaker panel on the house, to a thin 20 amp double pole breaker.

I would like to add a small ‘sub panel’ in the corner and was figuring I would need a 20 amp double pole gfci breaker and a 20 amp double pole breaker for the surge protector. I would assume I hook the red wire to one feed and the black to the other, the green to the ground bus, snap in the gfci and run the red and black and ground to the 240v pump.

What do I do with the white neutrals from the gfci and surge protector? I am guessing they to the ground bus since the ground runs straight back to the main panel, but I would rather be sure than BBQ something, maybe myself.

Assuming that is good, I would also like to add another single pole 20 amp breaker to the sub-panel for a 110 outlet. Can I run the neutral wire for that circuit to the ground bus in the sub panel also?

Thank you!

Update: 6/4/16: Thank ALL of you for your comments. I really do appreciate the great advice and am very grateful for the help. Please know that spending your time helping others makes a real difference :)

Revised plan, after your comments and reviewing Article 680 NEC:

(1) Install a 20 amp GFCI at the main breaker panel for the dedicated 240 line for the pool pump. Neutral wire from GFCI attaches to ground/neutral bus which is the same at the main.

(2) Add 240 Disconnect by pool pump.

(3) Add Intermatic PS3000 surge protector by connecting it to disconnect. Called Intermatic and they said I can just wire it at the Disconnect by connecting to the red and black 120 lines, and the surge protector neutral to the 240 ground. This seems to make sense since the 240 ground runs directly back to the main ground/neutral bus (let me if this was bad advice!)

(4) Use a separate 20 amp 110 circuit for pool light and accessories.

(5) Add a whole house surge protector at the main box (will require replacing panel since no more space).

Pool pump is about 75' from the main breaker and I have read it is better to have protection at the main panel and also at the equipment. The new pump is a Pentair variable speed which seems to high a high rate of failure due to the electronics on the pump which are apparently sensitive and the price of a new pump to replace.

(6) After doing the wiring and plumbing, I plan to have a pool professional or licensed electrician to perform the final connect and start up, which will help with warranty.

I am in Fort Lauderdale, FL if anyone has a recommendation!

Thank you!

  • 2
    Voting up because homeowners do DIY pool wiring, and it's better to provide a source of safe wiring practices here than to refuse to provide information and making them guess at what it takes for a safe installation. A poorly wired garbage disposal or dryer can kill someone just as dead as a poorly wired pool pump. – Johnny Jun 3 '16 at 20:44
  • 1
    You shouldn't be up/downvoting based on your opinion, but based on the rules of the forum. Each question is either DIYable by a careful person, or off-topic for the forum and should be closed. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 3 '16 at 23:29
  • Here is the most recent discussion on "hire a professional". meta.diy.stackexchange.com/questions/1155/… – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 3 '16 at 23:39
  • You may not need to replace the panel just to add more breakers. Check to see if your panel will take Tandem breakers, which are two breakers the size of one normal breaker. These can be either 120V or 240V. – DoxyLover Jun 4 '16 at 23:02
  • Spoke to Intermatic tech support which said get this question all the time and to treat the white as green for this device and connect to the ground bus at sub panel. Told them it puts neutral current on the ground wire and he said not the case. They offered to speak with Inspector. – DOC Jul 5 '16 at 14:12
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You can change out the old breaker feeding the pump. This would be the safest way. A surge protector should be located close to your service this would then protect everything not just the pool. I voted up because it is easy to swap an old non GFCI for a GFCI protected breaker and this will make the current pool service much safer.

  • I agree and have posted an update to the plans. Thank you! – DOC Jun 4 '16 at 18:46
  • GFCI added to main load panel. 240 volts run directly out to a disconnect switch (inside a sub panel by pool) and from disconnect directly to the pool pump. Nothing else on this circuit. Separate 110 circuit runs (black, white and ground) from the main load panel directly to sub panel and powers a GFCI outlet on the side of the sub panel (used for lighting). Still want to add a surge protector (Intermatic PS3000) at the sub panel (in addition to the whole house surge protector) because pump is variable speed and has sensitive on board electronics. – DOC Jul 5 '16 at 13:44
  • Intermatic suggests connecting the 2 black wires from the surge protector to the disconnect (one black to black and one black to red) and the white to the ground in the sub panel - which I am not going to do as you have stated it is against code. My question is whether I can connect the white wire on the surge protector (the 240 circuit) to the existing white/neutral wire on the separate 110 circuit at the sub panel - or whether I need to run a separate and new neutral white wire from the main load center to the surge protector at the sub panel? Thank you in advance for your help! – DOC Jul 5 '16 at 13:44
  • Update - Spoke to Intermatic tech support which (815) 675-7000 - said get this question ALL the time and to treat the white as green for this device and connect to the ground bus at sub panel. Told them it puts neutral current on the ground wire and he said not the case. They offered to speak with Inspector... – DOC Jul 5 '16 at 14:15
2

The white wires from a GFCI or surge protector need to go to a neutral bus that is isolated from the ground bus in a sub-panel. You don't currently have that in the two-pole breaker enclosure that you have now. DON'T attach a GFCI neutral (white wire) to the ground bus. This is a violation of the code and can be dangerous as it puts neutral current on the ground wire.

If you buy a two pole GFCI it can directly replace your current breaker as recommended by Ed Beal if you have a neutral to the enclosure. (Apparently, they use the neutral to power the electronics to make the breaker work.) This will make the pump circuit much safer than non-GFCI.

If you need a 120 volt circuit in the yard you will need another circuit run since the feed to the pool pump is 240 volts and has no neutral. (See the many other questions and answers here regarding setting a sub panel if that is your choice.) Personally, I would just run another circuit out into the yard.

There are very precise requirements, regarding distances from the pool, for convenience receptacles near a pool. Consult Article 680 of the National Electrical Code.

Taken step by step this can all be accomplished safely by someone with moderate skill and attention to detail. If you feel overwhelmed, consult with a professional electrician.

Good luck!

  • Took your great advice and posted a revised plan. Thank you! – DOC Jun 4 '16 at 18:47
  • GFCI added to main load panel. 240 volts run directly out to a disconnect switch (inside a sub panel by pool) and from disconnect directly to the pool pump. Nothing else on this circuit. Separate 110 circuit runs (black, white and ground) from the main load panel directly to sub panel and powers a GFCI outlet on the side of the sub panel (used for lighting).Still want to add a surge protector (Intermatic PS3000) at the sub panel (in addition to the whole house surge protector) because pump is variable speed and has sensitive on board electronics – DOC Jul 5 '16 at 13:40
  • Intermatic suggests connecting the 2 black wires from the surge protector to the disconnect (one black to black and one black to red) and the white to the ground in the sub panel - which I am not going to do as you have stated it is against code. My question is whether I can connect the white wire on the surge protector (the 240 circuit) to the existing white/neutral wire on the separate 110 circuit at the sub panel - or whether I need to run a separate and new neutral white wire from the main load center to the surge protector at the sub panel? Thank you in advance for your help! – DOC Jul 5 '16 at 13:41
  • Update - Spoke to Intermatic tech support which (815) 675-7000 - said get this question ALL the time and to treat the white as green for this device and connect to the ground bus at sub panel. Told them it puts neutral current on the ground wire and he said not the case. They offered to speak with Inspector... – DOC Jul 5 '16 at 14:14
1

You cannot connect a sub-panel with only 3 wires unless it is 240 volt only (no neutral). By code, neutral and ground must only be bonded at the main panel (or main disconnect if separate). You cannot have them bonded at the sub.

  • Sub-panel eliminated and updated plan posted. Thank you! – DOC Jun 4 '16 at 18:47
  • GFCI added to main load panel. 240 volts run directly out to a disconnect switch (inside a sub panel by pool) and from disconnect directly to the pool pump. Nothing else on this circuit. Separate 110 circuit runs (black, white and ground) from the main load panel directly to sub panel and powers a GFCI outlet on the side of the sub panel (used for lighting). Still want to add a surge protector (Intermatic PS3000) at the sub panel (in addition to the whole house surge protector) because pump is variable speed and has sensitive on board electronics. – DOC Jul 5 '16 at 13:43
  • Intermatic suggests connecting the 2 black wires from the surge protector to the disconnect (one black to black and one black to red) and the white to the ground in the sub panel - which I am not going to do as you have stated it is against code. My question is whether I can connect the white wire on the surge protector (the 240 circuit) to the existing white/neutral wire on the separate 110 circuit at the sub panel - or whether I need to run a separate and new neutral white wire from the main load center to the surge protector at the sub panel? Thank you in advance for your help! – DOC Jul 5 '16 at 13:43
  • Update - Spoke to Intermatic tech support which (815) 675-7000 - said get this question ALL the time and to treat the white as green for this device and connect to the ground bus at sub panel. Told them it puts neutral current on the ground wire and he said not the case. They offered to speak with Inspector... – DOC Jul 5 '16 at 14:15
-1

Never ever connect a neutral to a ground point in a sub-panel (isolated non-bonded). Not only is this hazardous to electronic components but it is extremely hazardous and in this case, a pool, could prove to be fatal if something inside of the pool pump fails. Please heed the following directions:

  1. You MUST absolutely have a dedicated run for the pool pump back to a GFCI 2 pole (240V) breaker located in the main panel. The neutral from the GFCI breaker must be attached to the bonded Neutral bar in your main panel. You will also need a disconnect in the vicinity of the pool pump but any neutral and ground MUST be isolated from each other.
  2. If you have secondary (separate) outside lighting in the pool. This also will need to be a dedicated run back to the main panel and MUST be connected to a GFCI breaker. This will also need a disconnect in the vicinity of the pool.
  3. Your pool pump's outer housing MUST be bonded to an auxiliary (secondary) ground rod located in the vicinity of the pool.

Only after meeting these three criteria and getting inspected by a licensed electrical inspector will your pool truly be safe to use. Never ever cut corners with electrical configurations or equipment. It's just not worth the risk. Good luck and happy swimming.

  • 1) Feeding a pool pump off of a sub and feeder is fine provided it's correctly wired, and same for the lights in 2). 3) is confused as well -- you need to bond the pool pump to the pool equipotential grid, but that's not the same as a ground electrode. Also 4) the OP's situation is wiring a 3-mode SPD, so nothing anywhere akin to "bootlegging" a N-G bond downstream of the main panel. – ThreePhaseEel Aug 29 '18 at 23:29

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