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Thread: 115 volts or 220 volts to well pump

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    Default 115 volts or 220 volts to well pump

    My brother in law tore down his house. The only thing left is the well with two wires coming out of it. One yellow and one red. Should we run 115 volts or 220 volts. Thanks

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    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeBarth View Post
    My brother in law tore down his house. The only thing left is the well with two wires coming out of it. One yellow and one red. Should we run 115 volts or 220 volts. Thanks
    You should have looked at how it was wired before, now you'll have to pull the pump to check the HP and voltage of the pump. Also, is there a ground wire for the pump?

  3. #3

    Unhappy

    I don't see a ground wire. Live and learn. Need to use the well temporarily on the new house. How easy does the pump pull out? Can I run 115v and check the amps?

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    Engineer Furd's Avatar
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    Some (most-all?) submersible pumps have a "control box" located in the house or well house. If you need, but don't have, this control box you may be SOL.

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    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Measure the resistance between the two wires. Then see if it corresponds to values for any particular size motor. Even if it does, that doesn't mean it is going to work.

    With only 2 wires it is either a 2-wire pump or it isn't going to work.

    Red and yellow might indicate that it is a 2-wire 220 Volt pump.

    Older pumps had no ground wire.

    220 Volt pumps had no neutral; therefore usually no white wire.

    I would try connecting 115 Volts for a few seconds. If it is a 2-wire pump it is probably thermally protected. If no water (or little water) comes out in 30 seconds, try 220 Volts. You don't have much to lose.

    If you put 220 Volts on a 115 Volt pump it should trip out on thermal protection in a few seconds.

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    Wire colors for a three wire Pump are usually Red, Yellow and Black. Two wire Pumps have a Red and a Black. If you have a Yellow and a Red, you have probably not yet located the Black wire. It may be broken off in the Well. So chances are you will have to pull the Pump to make repairs anyway.

    bob...

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    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Regardless, if the house was torn down and everything is "new" the wiring needs to be 4 wire for 240 and 3 wire for 120. For 240 you need the two "hot wires" and two grounds, one to the well case and another to the panel. For 120 you need 1 hot, 1 neutral and 1 ground to the panel.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Most submersible well pumps are 2 wire pumps (they are better and less expensive than a 3 wire [with control box]) and do not need or have a control box. Most older pumps did not have a ground. It depends on what code if any you are under IF the pump and/or casing is supposed to be grounded; the pump doesn't require grounding because it is usually very well grounded in the water in the well. But it doesn't hurt unless the ground wire is broken and you are used to make it.

    Actually IIRC, grounding the casing is not what the codes call for, they call for use of metal well casing as the building's electrical system's ground electrode. That's in addition to ground rods and use of metal water lines to ground the house electrical system with. And that's a bit different than "grounding the casing"; as if it needed it. IMO, using the well casing as the building's ground electrode can be very dangerous to the well or pump guy that comes out to work on a well. But he electrical codes guys never asked me.
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    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Most submersible well pumps are 2 wire pumps (they are better and less expensive than a 3 wire [with control box]) and do not need or have a control box. Most older pumps did not have a ground. It depends on what code if any you are under IF the pump and/or casing is supposed to be grounded; the pump doesn't require grounding because it is usually very well grounded in the water in the well. But it doesn't hurt unless the ground wire is broken and you are used to make it.

    Actually IIRC, grounding the casing is not what the codes call for, they call for use of metal well casing as the building's electrical system's ground electrode. That's in addition to ground rods and use of metal water lines to ground the house electrical system with. And that's a bit different than "grounding the casing"; as if it needed it. IMO, using the well casing as the building's ground electrode can be very dangerous to the well or pump guy that comes out to work on a well. But he electrical codes guys never asked me.

    Where to start educating you on your post....
    I think I will start with this comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    the pump doesn't require grounding because it is usually very well grounded in the water in the well. But it doesn't hurt unless the ground wire is broken and you are used to make it.


    This comment scares the hell out of me, A pump without a low impedance path back to the service will NEVER trip the breaker, the earth is NOT a low impedance path. Your gonna kill someone.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Actually IIRC, grounding the casing is not what the codes call for, they call for use of metal well casing as the building's electrical system's ground electrode.
    Actually the NEC does require the casing, if metal, to be bonded with the EGC that supplies the pump motor, NEC 250.112(M) And no, you dont have to use the well casing as a GEC.
    Last edited by Chris75; 08-18-2008 at 03:22 PM.

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    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhmaster View Post
    you need two grounds, one to the well case and another to the panel.
    You dont need to bond the well casing to the service disconnect separately, the egc the supplies the pump is all you need. just make sure that it gets bonded to the well casing.

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    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    That is what I was trying to say but it got lost in translation. Thanks for clarifying it for everyone.

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    Computer Programmer Bill Arden's Avatar
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    I've thought about running a heavy wire from my three ground rods over to the well in order to improve lighting protection.

    Back on the original question.

    Is the yellow really yellow? It could be a white wire that got discolored.
    Important note Ė I donít know man made laws, just laws of physics
    Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of Darwin awards.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris75 View Post
    Where to start educating you on your post....
    I think I will start with this comment.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    the pump doesn't require grounding because it is usually very well grounded in the water in the well. But it doesn't hurt unless the ground wire is broken and you are used to make it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris75 View Post
    This comment scares the hell out of me, A pump without a low impedance path back to the service will NEVER trip the breaker, the earth is NOT a low impedance path. Your gonna kill someone.
    Chris, it seems you need some education on pumps before you scare anymore people and further scar my reputation.

    I'm from PA and PA historically had the largest number or rural population until TX surpassed us in the 2000 census. Rural is identified/defined as households with a private on site water source and septic. There are a million+/- wells in PA and the majority have submersible pumps. The vast majority of them are 2 wire, meaning no ground wire pigtail. There is no ground wire run from the pressure switch to the well or the pump in the well. And the casings are not grounded/bonded or used as the building's ground electrode.

    You're from CT and I can understand you not hearing of people in PA being killed as you say I will be killing them but, I've lived in rural PA since 1942 except for 12-14 years and I have worked on a hundred wells as I described; no ground wire run to the well, or attached to the metal casing, or to the submersible pump. I have never heard of any related injuries or deaths. Although my uncle was killed when a galvanized drop pipe got away from him and others and touched overhead electrical wires; that was in 1952. So can you continue to educate me as to why that is?

    Wells and pumps are not my primary business, water treatment is, and I must have been in maybe 3-4000 houses and businesses right next to pressure tanks and switches without a grounded submersible pump or well unless it was a 120 v submersible pump; they are very rare. That's OMG! only two 120v wires running from the pressure switch to the sub pump up to 200' from the house and the pump 500-600' deep in the well.

    How do you and the guy that got you involved in this suppose we ever survived?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    Actually IIRC, grounding the casing is not what the codes call for, they call for use of metal well casing as the building's electrical system's ground electrode.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris75 View Post
    Actually the NEC does require the casing, if metal, to be bonded with the EGC that supplies the pump motor, NEC 250.112(M) And no, you dont have to use the well casing as a GEC.
    ummm can you spell out EGC and GEC?

    Also, is the NEC mandatory in all US States and local jurisdictions?
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Arden View Post
    Is the yellow really yellow? It could be a white wire that got discolored.
    If you have a control box for a 3 wire pump, the wires are always color coded in the box as Yellow Red Black and Green; it's an industry standard AFAIK but, any color wire can be used if they are kept in the right 'order' and connected to the right pigtail wires.

    If you have a 2 wire 240v pump the two wires can be any color and it doesn't matter which goes on what pigtail; which are usually both black.

    If it's a 120v pump the wires are usually black and white and bare but can be any color.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post






    Wells and pumps are not my primary business, water treatment is, and I must have been in maybe 3-4000 houses and businesses right next to pressure tanks and switches without a grounded submersible pump or well unless it was a 120 v submersible pump; they are very rare. That's OMG! only two 120v wires running from the pressure switch to the sub pump up to 200' from the house and the pump 500-600' deep in the well.
    So you have no electrical background what so ever? Your not the guy that steals the grounding wire off a 240v well pump circuit for a 120v receptacle for the water softner are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    Actually IIRC, grounding the casing is not what the codes call for, they call for use of metal well casing as the building's electrical system's ground electrode.


    ummm can you spell out EGC and GEC?

    Also, is the NEC mandatory in all US States and local jurisdictions?

    EGC is Equipment Grounding Conductor
    GEC is Grounding Electrode Conductor

    The Nec is mandatory if your state has accepted it and adopted it. with the exception of state amendments.

    Here is a picture to help you grasp the idea of a grounding conductor.

    Name:  250.2.jpg
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    Last edited by Chris75; 08-19-2008 at 03:54 AM.

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