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Electrical Wire and Cable

Causes of Lost Power to Pool Equipment

I have a built-in pool that has two motors, the circuit breaker tripped and the lights in one of my bathrooms dimmed…

Testing and Identifying a Pool Equipment Circuit Problem

Question: I have a built-in pool that has two motors, one for the in-pool cleaning system, and one for the filter. The power to these two motors is each routed through a 15 amp double-pole circuit breaker on a circuit board by the pool equipment. Power to this circuit board is run through a dedicated 30-amp double pole breaker on my main house circuit board. This morning I found the 30-amp breaker had tripped, but neither of the two 15 amp breakers for the two pool motors. I reset the 30-amp and turned on the pool pump motor. About 20 minutes later the 30-amp breaker tripped again.

Now it sounds like I might have an issue in the wiring between my main board and the pool board, but that is not my question. A strange thing happened when the 30-amp breaker tripped the second time. The lights in one of my bathrooms dimmed to about half, as well as the lights in the adjoining bedroom. Slowly, lights and appliances in other parts of the house, on different breakers, began to dim and eventually just went dead (a cascading effect). I ran to the main circuit board and noticed that the little wheel on the main meter was turning very, very slowly. I first tried to reset the 30-amp pool breaker, that did nothing. I then reset the main 200-amp breaker. The first time had no effect. I turned off the main breaker and waited about two minutes, then flipped it back on and everything came back to life, and has been working ok for the rest of the day so far knock on wood. I however have left the 30-amp pool breaker off. My question is, what on earth would cause this cascading loss of power from a single breaker being tripped? Do I have a bigger problem than either a faulty breaker or faulty power lines for the pool?

I look forward to your response.


This electrical question came from: Dave, a Handyman from Tempe, Arizona

See more about Home Wiring for Arizona

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Dave
Loss of Electrical Circuit Power to Pool Equipment
Dave, to determine the cause of this problem all of the pool equipment should be turned off or disconnected so that the 30 amp circuit can be tested. If the 30 amp circuit does not trip off then there is a problem with the pool equipment. If the 30 amp circuit trips off again then I would suspect that there is a problem with the 30 amp circuit leading from the electrical panel to the pool equipment.  All of the circuit wiring and connections will require testing to identify the fault and then the necessary repairs will be required. The problem may be due to a direct buried cable that has a direct short to ground , or it may be due to a problem with a connection at one of the electrical enclosures. This is best tested and repaired by a qualified licensed electrician who will make the necessary repairs and then test the required GFCI protection as needed for the pool equipment.

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