What Causes a Pool Pump to Trip a Circuit Breaker?

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A pool pump helps clean your swimming pool or spa water. You can connect your pool pump's electrical system directly to a circuit breaker or to a pool timer. In either case, there are several things that could cause the pool pump to trip your circuit breaker, preventing the pool timer from turning on.

Wiring

  • The pool pump receives electricity by way of power lines connected to the circuit breaker. If the pool pump is connected to a pool timer, then the electrical wires from the circuit breaker connect first to the pool timer and then to the pool pump. If any of the electrical wires are connected to the incorrect power terminals on the pool pump, the pool timer or the circuit breaker, the circuit breaker might trip before the pool timer gets power. It’s also possible that the pool timer might turn on but fail to turn off.

Hot Wires

  • When two electrical wires touch, the power demand placed on the circuit breaker increases, tripping the breaker. Electrical wires or power lines supply power to the pool timer from the circuit breaker. Power lines usually are covered in insulation to protect them from touching, but where the power lines connect to the pool pump and circuit breaker, the lines are stripped at the tips to allow for secure connection to the power terminals. If these hot wires touch each other without insulation, the breaker trips and a fire could spark. Turn off the power, and call a technician to fix the problem.

Electrical Load

  • It’s possible for a circuit breaker to supply power to more than one device. If the circuit breaker supplies power to multiple devices that run at one time, the breaker might trip. For example, if the pool pump shares electricity with a power outlet into which you plug a lamp, the electrical needs of the lamp and the pool pump combined could exceed the limits of the breaker, causing it to trip. To avoid an electrical overload, give the pool pump its own breaker.

Breaker Amperage

  • Breakers come in different amperage capacities. Some are smaller for small electrical demands, and some are larger to meet the demands of larger devices. It’s possible that the breaker supplying electricity to your pool pump can’t handle the pool pump’s electrical demand, causing the breaker to trip. If you determine that the power demand of the pump is higher than the breaker's capacity, call an electrician to replace your breaker.

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