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Electrical Wire and Cable

Sump Pumps and Dedicated Circuit Outlets

Understanding Sump Pump Circuit Requirements – It is good to consider all the possibilities of failure that could occur and deal with them right away and put into place all the safe guards to make sure the project is done right the first time.

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Should You Share the Sump Pump Circuit?
Can I plug a mini refrigerator into a GFCI outlet that has my Sump Pump?

This electrical question came from: Sean, a Homeowner in Pennsylvania.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Sean.

Sump Pump Circuit Requirements

Electrical Tip for Sump Pumps – Avoid a Possible Problem Beforehand

The Following will assist you with your Sump Pump Electrical Wiring:

electrical codes


Electrical Safety

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

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
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

8 Responses to “Sump Pumps and Dedicated Circuit Outlets”
  1. Luis Palacios says:

    Is there a way to tell if an outlet is a dedicated circuit? Is a different colored wire, outlet, or is there a meter or tester for this?

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    For most homes, a dedicated circuit is not identified by a special color wire or cable. Most circuits are labeled at the panel indicating that the circuit is for one device or special equipment. If you are not sure then a voltage test would be helpful to test other outlets or devices for power when the circuit in question is shut off. Inspecting the wiring inside the outlet box would allow you to see if the circuit wiring stops at that location or continues on to another location.


  3. Rick says:

    When people ask if something is required, by code, do not answer the question based on your opinion of what you think is best. They are asking a literal question of regulatory requirement. Therefore, if it is not required, then it’s permitted. Then you can add your opinion after that.

    So, does a sump pump require a dedicated circuit by code? No. Do you think it’s a good idea? Yes. If so, explain why so the person can understand your reasoning.

    Second, does a sump pump require a GFCI according to code? No. Exception — if sump pump is located within a crawl space or unfinished basement or unfinished part of the basment, then yes. Regardless, do you think it’s a good idea? Yes. If so, explain why.

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Rick, I understand what you are saying, but when a Local Inspector goes out to the actual Location where the device or circuit is installed he can see EVERYTHING that I am not able to see from my vantage point, and many codes are based upon the Location, that is where is the circuit installed AND what is around it, such as: is the circuit Inside or Outside, is it Near a moist area or not, is it accessible or not, what Size is the sump pump fractional HP or 1 HP or more.
    As you can see, there is NO WAY I can see everything that is actually taking place or involved with the circuit specifically, and the only way to know for sure is to be there, so since I cannot I place that responsibility back onto the one who is installing the device and circuit. Some things are very straight forward, but most things are not.
    Many of these questions contain links to the resource pages here on the website that may assist in making the right decision, but again – there are locations where parts of the NEC are interpreted literally, and areas where the code may be changed due to specific location and environmental factors.

  5. Bruce Cornwell says:

    If I use UF cable for a dedicated sump pump circuit does it still have to be GFCI protected? Would I need a special GFCI for the pump?

  6. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Bruce – Great Question,
    Installing UF or Underground Feeder cable has no bearing on the requirements of GFCI protection. The requirement of GFCI protection will need to be addressed for the specific application, however for home installations of sump pumps GFCI protection should be included. Basically where electricity is being used around water in areas where people or animals are located then GFCI protection should definitely be used.
    I hope this helps,

  7. David says:

    I am a homeowner and live in Humble, Harris County, Texas and want to install a sump pump on my yard drainage line/system that will help clear standing water after heavy rain. I already have a dedicated GFCI outlet installed to plug it into. What are the requirements for wiring the pump? The current pump power cord is too short so I was considering replacing it with a longer one. Do I need a licensed electrician to do this or can I do it myself.

  8. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi David, Great Question!
    There are always factors to consider when wiring a sump pump, because there are various different sizes and power requirements. So the power requirements of your sump pump would need to be identified, and the circuit where the sump pump would be connected would need to be identified to find out the amperage of the circuit, and if it is a shared circuit or dedicated circuit. This information will tell you right away if the pump requires a new circuit or not. And of course, look at the installation instructions to see what the circuit requirements are as well. I always recommend that homeowners have a Licensed Electrician take care of their electrical work, however many DIY Homeowners like to do the work themselves as long as the local building department allows, and the project is inspected.
    I hope this helps you,