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Sump Pump Tripping MCB

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  • Sump Pump Tripping MCB

    I am not sure if anybody had a similar problem previously. I live in northern Alberta, Canada where it is below -25 deg. C currently.

    The MCB on my panel board for the basement is tripping. I have isolated the problem, which is the sump pump. I will try to explain step by step below.
    - I opened the sump tank and removed the water manually.
    - When the water in the sump tank was refilled, the ball came in a position and instead of motor starting, it tripped the MCB.
    - I tried to reset the MCB but as soon as I turned the MCB on, it would trip within 2 seconds. I also observed a sound at the location of the sump pump and there were sparks in the electrical connection. I tried it 2/3 times but everytime it would trip within seconds.
    - The pipe of the sump is conneced to a long flexible pipe to throw the water away from the house. This connection between the sump pipe and flexible pipe is solid jam and looks like it is due to ice.

    I am not sure what is causing the sump to not go into operation. Looks like either due to ice formation, the pump does not work.

    Can somebody please help me to pin point what could be causing this? If need be I can provide more specific information.
    Best regards,

  • #2
    Re: Sump Pump Tripping MCB

    it sounds like to me that you've got a couple of problems.

    sparks and your breaker is tripping?

    can you unplug the sump pump? if so, make sure the breaker is off (the one that keeps tripping). and unplug it. change the sump pump or repair the wire (if it's repairable) where the sparks are coming from because you have a short/cut in the wire to the pump.

    your discharge is frozen. thaw it out.

    after the wire is repaired, try the pump again to see if it works, assuming it's not frozen. if it doesn't work, replace it.

    if you don't feel comfortable doing this call a plumber, preferably a company that's been there for a while because they will know the ins and outs of your location.

    good luck and keep us posted.


    -35.5 C (-31.9 F) + a good wind= -55 C (-67 F) priceless.

    i love it.

    starting to get busy.

    this kind of work environment seperates the men from the boys up here.


    • #3
      Re: Sump Pump Tripping MCB

      Thanks for those tips Vince. Really great tips.

      However, since yesterday I have been thinking a posibility that there may be a short in ball wire (the ball wire would actually initiate the start on the motor). So what I am planning to do is connect the motor directly to the power supply and see what happens.

      I checked the discharge. I disconnected the long flexible pipe. Looks like it is clear and not frozen.

      Is it possible the the inlet pipe of the pump is clogged? If so, how do I check it?

      Any thoughts?


      • #4
        Re: Sump Pump Tripping MCB

        Update: When I went to plug in the pump directly I checked my sump tank and I smell and saw oil in the tank. So i did not do it. I am little hesitant now to plug in the pump direct. I think it may not be safe.

        Can anybody help?


        • #5
          Re: Sump Pump Tripping MCB

          Seal is bad

          Replace pump

          Merry Christmas


          • #6
            Re: Sump Pump Tripping MCB

            like mr crack says "bad seal". gotta shoot those ones.

            the oil you see is from the pump. it leaked out.

            your pump is deader than dead.

            get a new one.

            merry Christmas, and many happy new years


            biggest sump pump i've ever seen weighs about 400 lbs


            • #7
              Re: Sump Pump Tripping MCB

              As a side note... It's not usually best to just keep turning on the circuit breaker when it trips, just to have it trip again. If it's tripped, there's a problem. Unplug everything on the circuit, THEN turn it back on. If it stays on, then it's something plugged in, that's the problem, if it trips again, with nothing on the circuit, then call an electrician. As far as the sparks go - was this at the panel? If it was, then you should consider calling an Electrician to check out your circuit breaker / panel, because something may have been damaged in there due to the continous tripping of the breaker.


              • #8
                Re: Sump Pump Tripping MCB

                Merry Christmas folks.

                Since I had nothing else to do - as everything is closed in this extra long weekend (Dec 25-28), I did some more digging. I was relieved a bit as I knew that the ground is frozen and I will not have water flooding my basement. This is what I found:
                1. I checked for continuity with the multimeter - a) for the ball switch the continuity was ok as it showed open circuit between two phase prongs and phase and ground prong. HOWEVER b) When I checked the circuit for motor (Pump) the multimeter showed Phase to Phase or Phase to gorund short circuited----Again, I am listing my observations here. I do not know how to interpret them!!
                2. More interestingly, I emptied the sump tank manually. It got filled up to certain level in just 24 hours (enought to kick in the pump). But since I knew that the gound is frozen, I decided to wait and watch the level of the water inside tank. Three days later that is today and the water level inside the tank remains the same. The question here is if the gound is frozen how the water level inside the tank would go up to certain level and than stop and not rise at all??

                Any thoughts??
                Thanks, GK