If you have problems with rainwater or groundwater coming into your basement, you may need to install a sump pump to avoid damage. If you have an existing sump pump, replacing the current unit should be easy, but, when placing a new sump pump, you must ensure that you currently have electrical wiring to the area where your sump pump will be installed. Understanding the National Electric Code and the basics of safely wiring a sump pump is important so you do not create a potential fire or electric shock hazard by wiring your new sump pump.
Wire the Electrical Outlet Box
Sump pumps may create a bit of splashing water as they turn on or off in their pits in your basement. Wire the outlet box high enough off the ground to avoid any potential problems when the pump turns on or off; it could create splashing that could potentially cause an electric shock or short out the pump.
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Use a GFCI Outlet
Ground Fault Circuit Interruption (GFCI) outlets are required by electrical code for use with electrical appliances or in areas where contact with water is likely. These outlets will shut off automatically if the current shorts to ground, preventing an electric shock hazard. They are expensive, but they are required by the National Electrical Code and are a small price to pay for safety.
Use the Proper Size Wire
You will want to use the proper size or gauge of wire according to the pump manufacturer's specifications. A wire that is too thin can heat up excessively when the pump is operating, which could lead to a short or to an electrical fire. Using the proper gauge of wire will prevent this from happening.
Use the Proper Size Breaker
When you are wiring sump pumps, you should always use the manufacturer recommended breaker size for the separate circuit that the pump will operate on. If your pump has a motor surge output of 10 amps, use a 15-amp circuit breaker in the breaker panel to allow it enough power to start up but not enough power to burn up if something goes wrong.