Sometimes the National Electrical Code provides some unusual challenges for us electricians. Many times the electrical code can be difficult to explain to our customers, especially when they have been misinformed prior to our arrival and their expectations about the ease with which a project can be completed are all but untrue.
This brings us to sump pump wiring. If the new wiring for your sump pump receptacle outlet is to be installed in a crawl space or in an unfinished area of your basement the receptacle must be ground fault protected. You may ask, “What’s the big deal?” GFCI’s save lives but there is an inconvenience with ground fault protecting your sump pump. If your GFCI outlet trips, it will not allow power to your pump motor when it is called into duty and your basement could flood. It is the same reason we don’t protect your kitchen refrigerator with a GFCI; if it trips while you are on vacation your food will go rotten.
Answers to common questions:
- No, we cannot just put a standard outlet there. If the pump needs a 120 volt receptacle outlet in a GFCI required location, we must follow the code.
- No, we cannot cut the plug off of the cord to bypass the need for a receptacle by hardwiring it. This violates the code and also violates the manufacturers warranty on the pump.
If the ground fault outlet for your sump pump is tripping it is probably a problem with your motor and could be saving you from a shock. If you are thinking of having a sump pump installed in your home please consider the wiring, there are alternatives if you wish to not have your pump GFCI protected. Ask your supplier for a pump which can be hardwired for either 120 or 240 volts. Give us a call if you wish to discuss sump pump wiring at 651-587-5512.