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Thread: Wiring for Submersible Pump

  1. #1
    DIY Member techinstructor's Avatar
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    Question Wiring for Submersible Pump

    We have a Myers Predator 2-wire, 1HP, 230 V 5 GPM pump installed in our well at our new home. Currently the pump is wired to a small pressure tank at the well with a cord on it so we can plug it in to our saw service and use it during construction. We are in the process of running the water and electrical lines from the well to the house and I have some questions about the wiring. We plan to have an electrician hook this up but we haven't contracted with someone yet. We need to go ahead and lay the wire in the ditch with the water line, so that it can be covered back up. It's a little over 100' from the well to the house so we want to get this right the first time.

    I need to know how long the new buried wire needs to be. Will it go from the well to the pressure tank switch or does it need to be long enough to go all the way over to the panel box? We plan to run 12 ga. UF ground, direct burial wire from the pump to the house. Is 12 ga large enough to handle the load with 115' (164' to the panel box) of run?

    We also want to be able to add a light in the small well house we plan to build. Do we need to run a second wire for this appliance, since it will be 110v as opposed to the 230v pump or can the electrician connect the light off of the same wire?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Porky Cutter,MGWC Porky's Avatar
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    #12 wire wire will be OK. I would run #12 uf w/ground from the well to the pressure switch. I would run #12 w/ground Submersable wire from the pump to the top of the well. I recommend using a Pside-Kick http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/products.html as it includes everything that you will need. The Pside-Kick will keep the pump from cycling and give you city like constant pressure.
    Porky Cutter, MGWC
    (Master Ground Water Consultant)

  3. #3
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    #12 wire wire will be OK.
    Franklins AIM manual incredibly says 14g copper is good for 250'. I think 12 was good to 500'

    But I dont see the well depth. Maybe its 400'+? Then its back to the book.

    12g UF with ground does not give him the neutral he needs [legally] to meet code for an outlet and a light. Nothing wrong with 240v lightbulbs, however, like the rest of the world.

    If the wells not deep do 14g 3 wire with ground.

    Around here, unless you are on the beach, everyone would use conduit for gophers and rocks. I have often used conduit with a sleeve, say 2" inside of 3" pipe, when crossing road and creeks and rock cuts.

    Be very careful of your electrician - he never read Franklins AIM manual, and he will try and tell you you need 10 gauge or heavier.

    http://www.franklin-electric.com/aim...l/page-11.aspx

    Your electrician will pull out his NEC book and say you can only go 180' with 10 gauge wire, because he does not understand Franklins motors design. Dont mention the light and plug, or he might be correct in the eyes of the code.

    I saw an idiot electrician wire up my 1/2hp Franklin with 6 gauge copper for about 300' run, because he was too pig headed to look at the chart I handed him. And the homeowner was afraid of him.
    Last edited by ballvalve; 09-21-2011 at 08:03 PM.

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    I have a document from Myers that has a chart for their pumps that is similar to the chart for Franklin pumps in your link. According to Myers with a 1 HP pump I can go 383 ft with 12 ga wire and 611' with 10 ga. I'm really glad I read Ballvalve's reply because I had failed to add in the distance from the ground to the pump when calculating the length of the wire. I now know that we need to use 10 ga; the total distance from the panel box to the pump will be about 564' so I would have been way over the limit for 12 ga.

    Ballvalve, thanks for the information about the wiring for the light. We'll run a separate UF ground wire for that. At least that can be 14 ga (I guess?).

    And Porky, thanks for the tip about the P-side kick. I'm concerned about the pump cycling as I know that is what wears them out. I'm also concerned about the low yield of my well (2 GPM). I've been told that the pump (1 HP) is too large for that yield; I was not consulted by the contractor who put the pump in. I do have a low pressure cut-off switch for my pressure tank in hopes that I can avoid ever running the pump dry.

  5. #5
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    You might want to compare the price of running the section from the house to the well with PVC conduit and individual THHN/THWN wires.

    If it needs to be repaired/replaced in the future you can just pull new wires through the conduit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    .... individual THHN/THWN wires.
    translate please?

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    THHN/THWN are specifications for wire insulation. It is the wire commonly seen used for running in conduit. Individual rolls of wire are sold in different gauges and with different colors of insulation. (red, black, white, green, etc.)

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    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Yes, use conduit and loose wire. You only need a red, black and white, and your ground can be a 12 or 14 gauge.

    Do not waste any money on a seperate uf cable for a light. If you dont want to buy a 240 volt light bulb [thus saving one wire, the white] then you can use a small transformer from an old video camera to power a low voltage light. Most have an input voltage of 120/240 volts and give you 12 or 24 volts out. Your old buicks brake light makes a good well house light.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    If I had a wellhouse and was pulling wires anyway, I would run a separate 120V branch circuit for a light and an outlet.

    If your pressure tank and switch is going into the house, The 240 V is only at the well head
    when the pump is running.

    You never know when you might want to plug something in out there.

  10. #10
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    I would pull 2] 10's in conduit for the 2 wire pump and then put a good maglite or a stick on LED light in the pump house. Drive a ground rod at the well if it pleases one.

    Or add a 14 gauge white for a neutral and have your daughter take a shower when you need power at the pumphouse. Come off the 10 g wires to a small breaker box - 1] 15 amp light circuit and 1] 30 amp breaker for the pump. You need a pump shut off down there anyway.

    This assumes the pressure switch is at the house.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    If you are in need of a code compliant installation, be careful of advice you get from the internet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballvalve View Post
    I would pull 2] 10's in conduit for the 2 wire pump ... Drive a ground rod at the well if it pleases one.
    Would this meet code or are you just joking? I thought we had to run 2 hots and a ground for the pump. But as you can see by my continuing questions I am woefully ignorant when it comes to things electrical.

    ...then put a good maglite or a stick on LED light in the pump house.
    The light isn't just for seeing. (Everyone in the family regularly uses headlamps for that!) We've always kept a low wattage bulb on in the well house for a minimum of heat in the winter as extra assurance against freezing. I know that may not be an option in the future when we can no longer get incandescent bulbs.

    Or add a 14 gauge white for a neutral and have your daughter take a shower when you need power at the pumphouse. Come off the 10 g wires to a small breaker box - 1] 15 amp light circuit and 1] 30 amp breaker for the pump. You need a pump shut off down there anyway.

    This assumes the pressure switch is at the house.
    Yes, the pressure tank and switch are at the house. I'm trying to understand your idea of adding the 14 ga neutral white wire for the light. I guess the hot for the light would come from the 10 ga wire that also supplies the pump. Are you and cacher-chick saying that the light couldn't be used unless the pump was running? I'm so confused.

    from cacher_chick

    If I had a wellhouse and was pulling wires anyway, I would run a separate 120V branch circuit for a light and an outlet.
    If we were to choose this option, what would we need for the 120v branch circuit. In the house, it looks like the electrician (who ran the rough wiring for the main floor) ran 12-2 to the receptacles and 14-2 up to the lights. Can I run individual wires for the branch circuit? What do I need: one hot and one neutral? Does this circuit also need a ground? Can these be in the same conduit as the 10 ga wire for the pump?

  13. #13
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Yes, you would need a separate hot and neutral wire for a 120V circuit that would always have power. A single insulated ground wire would be sufficient for both the well pump and the receptacles.

    Sometimes a person needs to know his or her limits. Electricity kills people every day. It may be in your best interest to hire a pro to do it correctly and safely the first time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    Yes, you would need a separate hot and neutral wire for a 120V circuit that would always have power. A single insulated ground wire would be sufficient for both the well pump and the receptacles.

    Sometimes a person needs to know his or her limits. Electricity kills people every day. It may be in your best interest to hire a pro to do it correctly and safely the first time.
    I agree with your assessment. We do plan to hire a pro to hook all this up and run the rest of the wiring in the house. But we need to go ahead and put the wire in the ditch with our water pipe so we can get the ditch covered up before it fills up with leaves, etc. I just want to make we get the right wire so the electrician will have the right stuff to work with.

    Thanks for your help.

  15. #15
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Everywhere I have been, this kind of work requires a permit and inspection by the local municipal inspector.
    The inspection must be done before the trench is backfilled.

    Make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you make a lot of extra work for yourself. There are minimum requirements for burial depth of both the water piping and the electric, and there is a minimum separation required between the two. The requirements vary depending on location.

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