The regular switch for the pool pump is, well, out by the pool. Out
the back of the house, across a lawn, through a locked gate, etc. The
circuit panel is conveniently located in my central utility/laundry
room, and the pool is on its own circuit. Would it be appropriate or
safe to use the circuit as the switch on a daily basis, on then later
off once per day through the summer? I know some people put a timer on
the pool pump - is there something I can buy at the big box and hook
up simply, or is it something I need an electrician for?
The breaker is not rated for switching high current (>20 amp) inductive
loads like a pool pump. 15 and 20 amp breakers are rated for switching
loads, including fluorescent lighting. Higher current loads shouldn't
be switched using a breaker.
Is it safe to do so? Sure.
Will it fail? Perhaps...when it does install an appropriate switch.
Best to install the switch now, rather than when it isn't convenient.
Better solution is to install a clock driven switch.
That's right, we use two particular breakers to turn off the lights in my
company every day for the last 10 years (and who knows how many before that
by the company who occupied our space before us, we inherited the sticker
that says "lights in warehouse" from them). If the breaker does break, then
you can hire an electrician to replace the breaker and wire a switch if you
haven't figured out how to do that yourself by then.
The breaker should be GFCI (unless the one by the pool is), you can turn it
off by the test button if you want. If nothing is GFCI, then maybe you
should have an electricial look at it.
A typical 30A GFCI breaker cost about $30 but an electrician will cost $150
plus the $30 part nominally.
The panel itself is pretty new, we had it upgraded when we moved in,
it was inspected, the pool breaker was labeled as such in the old
panel, so everything there is as it should be. I also specifically
took the electrician outside to check the pool set-up (because there
was a lot of DIY evident around the house) and he said it was very
well done, nothing for him to change or improve. Thanks for the info,
guys. Using the breaker will be a lot easier.
There's no reason not to use the breaker to turn on and off the pump.
Typical time clock needs to be installed by an electrician, or at least
someone familiar with wiring methods and materials. The pool motor should be
GFCI protected as well
Rather than go to a big box store, go to a real electrical supply house
where they will most likely have what you want. Probably cheaper too.
There are certain types of breakers that are rated for switching. They are
SWD rated and the breaker itself will be marked as such. SWD breakers are
designed for daily use such as you propose, not for a hundred times a day as
part of a process.
It is possible the breaker you have is rated so you can check it out buy
pulling it our of the panel. Removing a breaker is not difficult and is
safe as long as you turn off the main and use care. Most times you just
remove one screw and pry the breaker out. If it was my house, I'd probably
use the existing breaker anyway and replace it with an SWD if it started to
A number of posters including myself commented on replacement if it fails.
That's obvious if the lever gets loose or breaks or if you cannot turn it on
but how would one know if it failed in such a way that it would not trip at
all or at the specified current. Based on that, the SWD switch replacement
up front might be a good thing.
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