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Electrical Wire and Cable

Fix an Electrical Circuit for a Sump Pump or Septic Pump

My pump is not working and I am trying to troubleshoot the problem: How to Identify Typical Septic Pump Problems.

Home Electrical Wiring Video

How to Wire a GFCI Outlet
without a Ground Wire

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Sump Pump and Septic Pump Problems
Electrical Question: My pump is not working and I am trying to troubleshoot the problem.

My question:

Thanks for any help you can provide.

This electrical wiring question came from: Tom, from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Tom.

How to Install and Repair a Sump Pump or Septic Pump

Application: Install a Sump Pump or Septic Pump.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best installed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, electric drill,  auger bits and extension cord.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and install electrical circuit wiring.
Notice: Installing additional outlet wiring should be done with a permit and be inspected.

Example of a Typical Sump Pump or Septic Pump Circuit

A dedicated 120 volt 20 amp GFCI protected circuit. See installation manual for specific details and circuit requirements. Septic pumps typically do not require GFCI protection.

How to Identify Typical Septic Pump Problems

testing a pump

Septic System Circuit Power

Septic Pump Float Switches

Septic Pump Motor


More about Installing and Repairing Electrical Circuit Wiring

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

4 Responses to “Fix an Electrical Circuit for a Sump Pump or Septic Pump”
  1. JR says:

    There was a snow storm. Then a light in two separate rooms and the bathroom exhaust fan stopped working. There are all different rooms. The sump pump breaker was tripped. How is this connected? Why are the problems in some of the room but not all the room?

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi JR,
    In the USA the typical home electrical service panel has two separate main lines of power, so the 120 volt circuits are connected to one or the other main lines. If one of the main line has a problem then it could affect many circuits. This may be what the home is experiencing. The main circuit breaker may be partially tripped which will interrupt power to one side of the main power. The main circuit breaker should be turned OFF and then back ON to see if this solves the problem.

  3. jc says:

    Hi Dave
    I’m having an issue with my septic pump tripping out my GFI but when I plug it into another outlet its fine. Also I have 2 GFIs on the same circuit, 1 outside and 1 in the basement. 1 is for the pump, and 1 is for an alarm. Any thoughts?

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi JC,
    I would inspect the sump pump electrical wiring, especially where the cord enters the cord connector of the pump. Make sure there are no areas of the cord where the insulation is cracked, nicked or pinched. Also make sure the pump is in good shape. If the pump is older then it may have developed normal wear and tear which can lead to water seeping into the electrical component areas.
    You may consider exchanging the GFCI outlet with a known good one to see if the GFCI is faulty. Also make sure the outlet box enclosure is dry and free of any moisture.
    I hope this helps,