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Does Sump Pump Need GFCI?

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Last updated on August 14th, 2022 at 01:28 pm

Sump pumps work to keep your basement from flooding, but they do this only if there’s a power source connected. On the other hand, GFCIs prevent imminent electrocution; however, they can also deprive the sump pump of power.

Therefore, several questions come into the situation, and people ask if sump pumps need GFCIs.

Sump pumps need GFCI outlets; it prevents electrocution and device trips when they detect current loss. However, GFCI isn’t required for a sump pump as per the National Electrical Code. If a malfunction allows the current to escape its standard path, the GFCI protects the consumer from electrocution by shutting off the power in the receptacle.

Does a Sump Pump Need a Dedicated Outlet?

The power supply to your sump pump should always have a dedicated outlet; also, there should be a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). This is because the sump pump needs its circuit breaker to prevent tripping of the breaker. Also, the GCFI is important in the prevention of electrical shock.

You should install this dedicated outlet above the pump; in this case, you can plug it directly into the outlet. However, always make sure you unplug the sump pump before working on it or working near it. Also, it would be best if you never used a sump pump on an extension cord.

The reason for using a dedicated outlet is simple; to reduce the chances of the sump pump tripping off when water comes in.

Why Does My Sump Pump Keep Tripping the GFCI?

It may be a normal thing for your sump pump to trip the GFCI from time to time. However, if it occurs too frequently, there may be some faults in the system. Improper wiring, the presence of moisture, and ground faults are some of the most significant contributors to this phenomenon.

1. Improper Wiring

There was a time I moved into a new house with an ever-wet basement, so I decided to fix the sump pump and GFCI myself. Unfortunately, after a few weeks, I realized that the sump pump was tripping the GFCI at an alarming rate.

Therefore, I had to invite an electrician over to come and look, and he solved the problem within a blip. Thus, in some instances, improper wiring and loosened connections cause GFCIs to trip unnecessarily.

2. Moisture and Debris Inside the GFCI

The presence of moisture inside the GFCI interferes with the normal functioning and may cause it to trip incessantly. Also, if there is debris in the GFCI, you may notice this same effect.

3. Ground Faults

It would be best to consider that the GFCI may have a legitimate reason to trip, doing what its design specifies. Ground faults in the sump pump can also cause the GFCI to trip frequently.

Sump pumps carry fasteners and watertight gaskets that keep dampness away from the electrical lines. However, ground faults will occur if those seals and gaskets depreciate and a hot channel touches wastewater. This occurrence will trip the GFCI to prevent any risk of electrocution.

This phenomenon is proper because this is how the GFCI keeps you safe.

How Can I Fix A Sump Pump That Trips GFCI?

You would need the services of an electrician in this case and, and they should carry out diagnostics to decide where the problem originates. For example, an electrician will examine the GFCI repository to determine if it was correctly wired; they will go ahead to replace damaged parts.

There are certain ‘chores’ which you should avoid, always try to hire a professional in that area to deal with the problem at hand. In this instance, if it is a debris or moisture problem, the electrician should remove those accountable for the unnecessary tripping.

Also, if the sump pump displays several faults, such as faulty seals and gaskets, you should still go for an electrician. Never try to repair seals and gaskets yourself because you may wrongfully place one and worsen the situation. However, if you have the experience and expertise, you can go ahead.

There are several new and exciting GFCI designs and brands which have some excellent characteristics. Audible GFCIs generate heavy noises anytime they trip.

So, you won’t have to wait for the water to spread within your home because you had no idea that your GFCI had caused your sump pump to be inactive. Your audible GFCI has already let you know so that you’ll have enough time to reset it.

Also, some advanced GFCIs transmit signals to your mobile devices when your GFCI trips.

What are Other Requirements for Wiring in a Sump Pump?

Apart from using a GFCI outlet, there are other requirements for wiring in a sump pump. Therefore, the National Electric Code (NEC) emphasizes several measures which you should follow. These include wiring the electrical outlet box, using the proper size, and using the appropriate size of breaker.

1. Wire the Electrical Outlet Box

Sump pump always creates tons of splashing water as they turn themselves on it off in their pits in your basement. Therefore, it could potentially cause electric shocks it short out the pump. However, wiring the outlet box high enough from the ground helps avoid any problems that may occur.

2. Use the Proper Wire Size

Using the proper size or gauge of wire according to the manufacturer’s specifications is another thing to note. This is because thin wires heat up excessively when the pump operates; this leads to a short or an electrical fire. Therefore, using the correct wire gauge prevents this occurrence.

3. Use the Proper Size Breaker

When you wire sump pumps, always use the recommended breaker size of the manufacturer for the separate circuit. If your sump pump possesses a motor surge output of 10 amperes, using a 15-amp circuit breaker is highly advisable.

The breaker panel allows enough power to start up but is not entirely powerful to burn up if a problem develops.


Most people do not fancy using GFCIs for their sump pumps. The reason may be that these GFCIs sometimes trip off and prevent the sump pump from functioning when the need arises. However, human safety should always be the priority, just as the National Electric Code specifies.

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