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What would cause a 20A double pole GFCI breaker serving UF to pump house to continue tripping?

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UF cable has two hot lines, both running through the GFCI breaker.  Lines not shorted.  One circuit serves a 1 hp water pump.  Other circuit serves a receptacle and a light.  Power comes on initially when all loads are deactivated.  The breaker trips when any of the loads are switched on.

The pump is in a 6' galvanized steel culvert section mounted vertically in the ground.  The ground wire is bonded to the metal because the metal boxes with the wiring are screwed to the wall.

I temporarilly wired a regular non-GFCI breaker in place of the GFCI unit and all works well.  What am I missing?

asked in GFCI / AFCI by darrylde (120 points)
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1 Answer

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Hi Darrylde,
It could be faulty GFCI breaker but most likely is the fact that you are sharing a neutral between the two circuits (branch circuits). It is OK on a non-GFCI protected circuit; however, for a GFCI breaker to operate properly, it needs to have a dedicated neutral attached to it. Sharing neutral between those two circuits causes “leaks”, makes it unbalanced and results in nuisance activation / tripping of your breaker.
Simply put, a single pole GFCI breaker is not designed to protect multi wire branch circuit. You either need a double pole GFCI breaker, which can be quite expensive, or replace your single pole GFCI with a regular circuit breaker and properly install GFCI outlet receptacles at both ends of the branch circuit.
Let me know if you have more questions, just click “comment” below.
answered by darekrudy (21,730 points)