When it comes to outdoor electricity, the rules are different than indoor wiring. This is because outdoor electrical hazards are much more serious if something goes wrong. Knowingly or unknowingly, many homeowners end up installing substandard pool pumps and other pool electrical equipment.
Even with your best intentions, things can go wrong.
Inspectors see so many homes with substandard electrical installations that they assume every pool pump has a blown breaker and suggest adding one to any home with an above ground swimming pool and a pump with a motor smaller than 200 watts.
So Which Size Breaker Do I Need for My Pool Pump? The answer: probably not what you first thought!
- 1 Pool Pump Sizes: A Quick Overview
- 2 The perfect circuit breaker size for pool pump
- 3 How have we arrived at the 20-amp circuit breaker for pool pump ?
- 4 What is the perfect size of the wire?
- 5 Should I install GFCI protector?
- 6 How do I know if there’s a current leakage within my pool pump?
- 7 Use a dedicated circuit breaker for your pool pump
- 8 Where should I install the dedicated circuit breaker?
- 9 Conclusion
Pool Pump Sizes: A Quick Overview
You have a couple of options when shopping for a pool pump. You can either choose a submersible or an above ground model.
The size of your swimming pool will determine which one you go with since they are not equally efficient in terms of power and performance. Also, keep in mind that there are two types of submersible pumps as well. They are:
The first is the permanently installed model that comes with a built-in motor and is connected directly to your home’s electrical system via an electrical cord. The second type is the portable or transportable submersible pump that can be moved from one location to another (i.e., from the basement to the backyard). This type requires you to plug it into an outlet using a power cord or by using batteries (if it comes with battery backup).
If you have an inground pool, then your best bet is to go with a built-in, permanently installed submersible pump connected to your home’s electrical wiring system. If your swimming pool is located outdoors, then you should use an above-ground swimming pool pump.
The perfect circuit breaker size for pool pump
The most ideal CB size for your swimming pool is 20A circuit breaker. Most homes run smoothly with a 20-amp circuit breaker since it can safely handle the 240 V load supply.
We also know that most pumps for the swimming pools are rated 240V/10 amps. So, with a 20 amp circuit breaker, you will be more than safe.
How have we arrived at the 20-amp circuit breaker for pool pump ?
When it comes to electronic components, especially circuit breakers, there are various rules of thumb that we have to adhere to. One of them is to consider the Maximum Continous Load (MCL) of the device or gadget to be used. The MCL should be 125% of the device in question.
In this case, we have assumed that our pool pump is rated at 10 amperes. So the MCL will be 125% of that, which is 12.5 amperes. A 20 ampere rated circuit breaker will easily handle the pool pump in case of a surge in current.
From the figures, you are also safe with a 15-amp or even 17-amp rated circuit breakers. After all, they are still above the 12.5 MCL of your standard pool pump.
What is the perfect size of the wire?
You probably know that for each circuit breaker you install, you should get the right size of wire. So which is the right wire size for the 20-amp circuit breaker?
For this circuit breaker, a #12 wire size will be suitable. However, you can still go for the #10 as it is deemed the perfect option for such circuit breakers.
Why does the size of the wire matter?
The size of the wire matters because it will determine the amount of current that can flow through it. The bigger the wire, the more current will flow through it.
If there is an overload, then this means that more than what is allowed to flow through the circuit breaker will be flowing through it. This overload might cause the circuit breaker to trip and shut off power to your entire house or property.
Should I install GFCI protector?
Still, in matters relating to the circuit breaker for the pool pumps, you might have considered installing a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) to protect the pump from getting damaged by any current leakages.
Do you need the GFCI to protect your pool pump?
Yes, it is important to install a GFCI protector. The reason is that it will help in protecting your pool pump against any current leakage that might occur within the pool pump itself.
How do I know if there’s a current leakage within my pool pump?
If you are using an automatic pool cleaner for your swimming pool, and you notice that your filter system is not working well, then this might mean that there’s a current leakage within the pool pump or even the filter system.
How much does a 20A circuit breaker cost?
The cost of this type of circuit breaker will depend on where you buy it from as well as its quality. You can expect to buy one for about $3 to $8 depending on where and how you buy it.
Use a dedicated circuit breaker for your pool pump
Ensure that you use a dedicated circuit breaker for your pool pump. By this, we mean that you should install a separate breaker for the pump instead of using one main breaker.
The main advantage of a dedicated circuit breaker is that it will protect your pool pump against any electrical overloads that might occur.
This will make sure that there’s no electrical damage to the pool pump and hence, you’ll be able to use it for a long time.
Where should I install the dedicated circuit breaker?
You should install the dedicated circuit breaker close to the pool pump so that it can be easily accessed. However, ensure that you know where the main power source is located so that it can be easily turned off in case of an emergency.
A standard 20-amp circuit breaker should be able to handle most household appliances and gadgets like your TV sets, computers or air conditioning units, which are each rated at 15 amps or less.
So in case you plan on installing a 20-amp circuit breaker in your home or property and want to know if it can handle your pool pump as well, all you have to do is find out its MCL rating first before buying one for yourself. So if your pool pump is rated at 12 amperes, then a 20-amp rated circuit breaker should work for you even if it is not ideal for such devices.
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