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Jason
Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4259
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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How do you install a GFCI breaker for a swimming pool pump

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How do you install a GFCI breaker for a swimming pool pump that has no Neutral wire

Jason :

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.

Jason :

I assume, since the pump motor has no neutral wire, that you are operating it at 240 volts.

Jason :

If so, you just need a double pole GFI breaker. This breaker will have a short white wire protruding from it, which needs to connect to the breaker panel's neutral bar.

Jason :

However, a double pole GFI breaker will work fine without a LOAD neutral connected to it.

Jason :

The breaker will have a terminal on it for a LOAD neutral wire to connect to, but it's not mandatory that you actually connect a neutral wire to that terminal.

Jason :

Instead of the electronics inside the breaker measuring the difference in current between the hot and the neutral wire (as it does on a single pole GFI breaker), it will measure the difference in current between the two poles of the double pole breaker.

Customer:

I tried installing the breaker as you say and the breaker won't set

Jason :

Did you move it to the full OFF position, and then to the ON position?

Customer:

Yes, tried it a couple of times. Even tried moving the wires.

Jason :

Does it go to the ON position if you disconnect the load from it?

Customer:

From off position, turning the breaker on, then the breaker trips.

Customer:

Yes it does go into the on position with no load

Jason :

Thank you for the additional information. With the scenario you are describing, there are 3 possibilities.

1. There is a short in a wire somewhere between the breaker and the pump.
2. There is a problem with the pump.
3. The current drawn by the pump is too high for the breaker.

Customer:

With a standard breaker everything run as normal, no problems. But install a GFI the breaker it will not set.

Jason :

Do you know the ground fault trip range for the GFI breaker? There are various trip ranges available. I've seen GFI breakers not do well with motor loads before. However, in this situation, the load is required to be GFI protected.

Jason :

The ground fault trip ranges should be a milliamp rating.

Customer:

So to install a GFI Breaker to a pump with no Neutral, are you saying. Hot wires as usual, Ground to Ground and Neutral wire from breaker to Neutral bar, thats all. Maybe a bad breaker?

Jason :

Yes, it's possible.

Jason :

It seems I've had that happen a time or two over the years, though I can't say that with certainty (about GFI breakers).

Jason :

I have had GFI outlets not function properly right out of the box though.

Customer:

I will try another breaker, Those little things are expensive. Thank You

Jason :

You are most welcome. Is there anything else I can do for you?

Customer:

At this time thats all I need

Jason :

OK, have a great night. Thank you for the opportunity to help.

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