looking for "soft start", low power surge, sump pump

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It turned out we had a sump pit but no pump.. When we discovered this the hard way five years ago, I picked up a pedestle mount "drop in" Flotek brand 1/3 horsepower unit, claiming 20 gpm, and it worked fine. Water was pumped out through a 2 inch flxible gooseneck/corrugated plastic pipe and out the window.
hmm, never measured the wattage, but at 1/3 HP it should be comething like 300 watts.
(it has a base where the impeller is, then a three foot post, with the motor on the top)
We just got around to installing a permanent pump that's fully in the pit, and hooked up the wiring and PVC plumping, etc.
It's also a 1/3 HP unit and is pumping out the water just fine.
But... when it kicks on the lights dim out during the starting surge.
Grumble. And with it operating at (very roughly) a two minutes off, ten seconds on (the "on" time will increase when more rain comes down) this flicker is happening enough to be quite annoying.
Any suggestions for a sump pump with less of a starting surge?
Any other options for reducing its effect on the rest of the house?
Thanks for your help.
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On 3/29/2016 9:05 PM, danny burstein wrote:

Is this behavior just a result of "today's weather" (whatever that may be)? Or, is this sort of duty cycle normal all the time (e.g., artesian well)?

You might look for a battery powered pump with built-in charger. As such, the battery supplies the large startup current while the charger just tries to keep the battery topped off (at a lower "charge rate" instead of "motor run rate")
This also has the advantage of protecting your property during power outages.
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It's been raining a fair amount the past couple fo weeks so thie is pretty much ground saturation level.
Last week after the first seven days (times are approx..) I lifter the cover off the pit and saw the water was about a foot below the concrete floor (as opposed to just an inch or so of seepage at the very bottom) so pulled out the "drop in" Flotek and hooked it up.
At that point we decided to move the "get a real one" from "someday" to "tomorrow".
- the heavy rains historically start in about two more weeks. I looked through my records and got the Flotek in mid April a few years ago...

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On Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 12:05:52 AM UTC-4, danny burstein wrote:

look for those small 1/8 or 1/6 HP pumps at Northern tool or Harbor Freight etc.
These are good also becasue you can run them off a decent sized inverter during a power failure.
Any motor will draw a surge when it starts. You would be better off running a seperate circuit to the breaker panel for the pump. Is it really effecting the whole house or just lights on the same circuit?
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

A 1/3 hp motor shouldn't do that , the OP has an electrical problem that needs to be diagnosed and repaired . Might be as simple as a neutral connection in the panel ... might not . My compressor draws a lot more than his pump , never even notice it has started unless I hear ir running ... which reminds me , I think I forgot to turn off the air last night when I wrapped up nailing the floor joists on the new kitchen . Not a big deal since I replaced all those leaky quick-couplers though ...
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On 3/30/2016 5:56 AM, Terry Coombs wrote:

You can't unilaterally say that. At startup, the motor will draw it's locked rotor current -- which can be 5-10X it's full load current. A 1/3HP motor can easily see a locked rotor current of 15A or more.
The OP hasn't indicated what else might be on that circuit. Nor, how far ("electrically") it and the other affected loads (lights) are from the panel.
The OP can examine the nameplate on the motor for more information. IIRC, there's a chart in the NEC that will allow him to determine LRC from that data (worst case, from an engineering manual).

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It makes all the lights (to a first order observation) on that leg of the feed (we have the US standard of two hot leads coming in from the meter) do a mini blink. In other words, not just that one circuit.
- Most people wouldn't notice this... and it hasn't been enough of a problem to reset computers or anything, but it annoys me and potentially is shortening the life of other stuff.

Alas, it's positioned in such a way that I can't readily check that out. But I'll see what I can find.
I don't have an instaneous peak meter, just a couple of the kil-a-watts that we all love and enjoy.
Thanks
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On 3/30/2016 12:45 PM, danny burstein wrote:

Then you have a problem! If you were seeing a problem in other lights *sharing* that branch circuit, I'd chalk it up to where the respective loads tied into that circuit.
But, a fractional HP motor shouldn't affect your whole *house*!
Does your refrigerator, ACbrrrr, etc. cause similar flickering? Did you notice similar behavior BEFORE replacing the pump?

I use a "Watts Up? Pro". It would be able to monitor a 15A load (it also has data logging and PC interface capabilities -- though those may have been added to the KaW); not sure what the kill-a-watts are capable of.
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Our refrigerator is a newer one from LG (which they stopped making, grumble mumble) that uses a "ramp up" inverter type motor. So it's quieter, more efficient, and doesn't have a big start surge.
I do see it sometimes when the washing machine kerchunks.
The earlier Flotek model didn't have this issue but the design was different.
Again, most people (outside of us here) wouldn't notice these things.
- I know there's a market niche of "generator friendly" well water pumps that are gentle when starting. Was hoping someone here might have had suggestions for similar sump pumps.

Well, my KAW's are a decade (!!!!) old (although I've picked up some newer ones). I've noticed thay have some additional (read, more pricey) models now. Maybe I'll take a look.
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On Wed, 30 Mar 2016 20:15:41 +0000 (UTC), danny burstein

I'd be looking for something like a Crydom MCST1225ES softstart module.Controlable frpm 100ms to 1 second ramp time using a simple pot. 140 volt 25 amp rated.. To be on the safe side mabee go to the 50 amp rated MCST1250ES unit.
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On 3/30/2016 1:15 PM, danny burstein wrote:

What about furnace (GFA) blower?

Do you notice a difference if the pump kicks on with *no* water (mechanical load) in the sump?

So, you're not seeing a *dimming* (for seconds at a time -- i.e., the time the pump is running) but, rather, a BRIEF "flicker"?

It would be interesting to plug the monitor into an outlet on the same circuit as the flickering lights and just watch the *voltage* to see how much of a dip and how long.
[Though I don't know how fine-grained the measurement cycles are on my unit; I've only used the logging ability to get an idea as to how often the refrigerator (and, separately, furnace and freezer chest) were cycling -- along with overall duty cycles.]
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On Wed, 30 Mar 2016 19:45:43 +0000 (UTC), danny burstein

Besides putting that pump on a separate circuit as others have said, you have an electrical problem. Sounds like one leg has a bad connection inside or outside the house. Or even a weak pole transformer. Check the cinnections in your breaker box, if they are all tight, cacll your power company. If the problem is at the pole or where they enter outside your home, they should fix that at no cost to you.
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On Wed, 30 Mar 2016 12:18:13 -0700, Don Y

A sump pump SHOULD be on a dedicated circuit without GFCI protection. The only other item on the circuit should be a "pilot" light -to confirm there is power on the circuit at a glance.
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On Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 5:02:36 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

If the sump pump is in an unfinished basement, then it must be on a GFCI, assuming it's plugged into a receptacle.
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Why ? ... mine is just as you described - but not on a gfci.. John T.
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On Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 6:31:50 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.com wrote:

National Electrical Code, which most places in the USA follow, says all receptacles in an unfinished basement must be on GFCI. It applies to new installations, so if yours is prior, it's OK. But here the poster recommended a new circuit for the sump pump, which would make it a requirement, unless locally they don't follow NEC. But that isn't the solution to the OPs problem. He has dimming lights and all the lights on that service leg are dimming. Something is wrong at the panel, incoming service, etc.
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On 3/30/2016 6:39 PM, trader_4 wrote:

That may be code, but I'd not want it to trip erroneously when needed most. GFCI have had false trips so they were not used on refrigerators either, but I think that has been changed too.
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On Wed, 30 Mar 2016 18:32:58 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.com wrote:

If it is a "dedicated circuit" no GFCI is required. Mount the outlet on the ceiling above the pump - single twist-lock outlet - and you are golden for code.
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On Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 9:10:17 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Wrong, at least here in the USA. Current NEC requires a GFCI for all receptacles in an unfinished basement. But then you have me blocked so you'll likely never learn. And if you believe otherwise, give us the NEC reference that says so.
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I wonder what defines finished / unfinished ? .. and what that has to do with justifying the rule ? John T.
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