ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1] 2 3  All   Go Down

Author Topic: Sump Pump Electrocution  (Read 7401 times)

Mike Sokol

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3201
  • Lead instructor for the No~Shock~Zone
    • No~Shock~Zone Electrical Safety
Sump Pump Electrocution
« on: June 28, 2015, 07:25:27 am »

Chevy Chase MD - Mother And Child Die After Being Electrocuted Inside Home

Montogomery County Police and Fire responded to a residence in the 8800 block of Connecticut Avenue for a report of an electrocution Saturday afternoon. Preliminary investigation revealed that a 29-year-old female and her 4-year-old daughter were found unresponsive outside of the home in the stairwell leading to the basement. They were each transported to separate trauma centers where they succumbed to their injuries.

Investigators found a portable sump pump in the standing water near the victims. Detectives are looking at the possibility that the water was charged and an electrical surge contributed to the victims' deaths.
Logged
Mike Sokol
mike@noshockzone.org
www.NoShockZone.org

Don Davis

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 141
  • So Cal
Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 03:44:06 pm »

Chevy Chase MD - Mother And Child Die After Being Electrocuted Inside Home

Montogomery County Police and Fire responded to a residence in the 8800 block of Connecticut Avenue for a report of an electrocution Saturday afternoon. Preliminary investigation revealed that a 29-year-old female and her 4-year-old daughter were found unresponsive outside of the home in the stairwell leading to the basement. They were each transported to separate trauma centers where they succumbed to their injuries.

Investigators found a portable sump pump in the standing water near the victims. Detectives are looking at the possibility that the water was charged and an electrical surge contributed to the victims' deaths.

When I was a kid I witnessed someone enter a pool of water with a sump pump in it and plugged in. He instantly be came paralyzed, unable to move or speak. My dad was standing nearby and yanked the cord out of the wall probably saving the guy's life. I've had a healthy respect for sump pumps since.
Logged

John Roberts {JR}

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16062
  • Hickory, Mississippi, USA
    • Resotune
Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 04:41:15 pm »

My sump pump has a grounded 3-wire line cord, so as long as it is used with a grounded or GFCI outlet it "should" be safe.

Only time I got a tingle from mine was using it out in my yard with a mis-wired (line and ground swapped)  :o :o extension cord that I borrowed from a neighbor. I wasn't dumb enough to stand in the water filled hole with any electrical device. I did feel electricity several feet from the hole. 

JR

PS: I don't have a grounded outlet on my property so who knows...never saw any dead critters under my crawlspace after using the pump.  8)
Logged
On the internet people tell you everything "they" know, not the answer to "your" question.....  http://circularscience.com/

Stephen Swaffer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2041
Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 10:31:57 pm »


PS: I don't have a grounded outlet on my property so who knows...never saw any dead critters under my crawlspace after using the pump.  8)

Two possible explanations:  1.  Jr and his critters are immune to electricity.  2.  The ground at JRs place is not grounded providing a safe isolated living space.

Seriously-sump pumps are one of the few exceptions to GFCIs in unfinished basements.  Typically,the concern is a tripped GFCI will lead to a flooded basement.  Sump pumps are grounded  and should never be used without a grounded outlet-or lacking that capability a GFCI must be used.

Even so, I'd just as soon step into a flooded basement with a score of water moccasins swimming around than in one with an active or even worse,energized but not functional sump pump.  Find another sump pump to empty the basement, or shutoff power to the sump pump -even if it means killing power to the entire house rather than walking into a basement like that.  Inconvenient perhaps, but consider the alternative.

And for heaven's sake, keep kids away!! 
 
Logged
Steve Swaffer

Jonathan Johnson

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2860
  • Southwest Washington (state, not DC)
Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2015, 12:31:39 pm »

Seriously-sump pumps are one of the few exceptions to GFCIs in unfinished basements.  Typically,the concern is a tripped GFCI will lead to a flooded basement.  Sump pumps are grounded  and should never be used without a grounded outlet-or lacking that capability a GFCI must be used.

The "whatifs" are endless. I think I'd err on the side of having a GFCI regardless of whether or not the pump is grounded. Even if grounded, the leakage current could be insufficient to trip the breaker, but sufficient to kill. To protect against a tripped GFCI, I see a couple of options: 1) high water alarm, or 2) secondary pump on a separate GFCI protected circuit.

Add a warning sign at the top of the stairs: do not enter flooded basement unless circuits x, y, and q are disconnected.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 12:35:39 pm by Jonathan Johnson »
Logged
Stop confusing the issue with facts and logic!

John Roberts {JR}

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16062
  • Hickory, Mississippi, USA
    • Resotune
Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2015, 12:44:33 pm »

The "whatifs" are endless. I think I'd err on the side of having a GFCI regardless of whether or not the pump is grounded. Even if grounded, the leakage current could be insufficient to trip the breaker, but sufficient to kill. To protect against a tripped GFCI, I see a couple of options: 1) high water alarm, or 2) secondary pump on a separate GFCI protected circuit.
A secondary sump system seems prohibitively expensive, but perhaps if human exposure is very likely.

I am not an expert on electrical fields in dirty basement water, but if the sump pump has a grounded plug, that sump pump line cord is bonded to the pump housing, and the outlet is ground bonded, it seems any leaking electricity would take the lowest resistance path which should be to the metal housing and back to the outlet ground. There may be a field generated close to the pump but I would expect that to be pretty localized.

This could easily trip a GFCI if more than 5mA so pick your poison. Perhaps we need a special flavor of GFCI with a higher trip current and an obvious alarm if leakage is detected.. so the sump keeps sump-ing, but humans at least have a warning that electricity is off the reservation.

JR
Logged
On the internet people tell you everything "they" know, not the answer to "your" question.....  http://circularscience.com/

Rob Spence

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2896
  • Boston Metro North/West
    • Lynx Audio Services
Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2015, 04:29:34 pm »

The "whatifs" are endless. I think I'd err on the side of having a GFCI regardless of whether or not the pump is grounded. Even if grounded, the leakage current could be insufficient to trip the breaker, but sufficient to kill. To protect against a tripped GFCI, I see a couple of options: 1) high water alarm, or 2) secondary pump on a separate GFCI protected circuit.

Add a warning sign at the top of the stairs: do not enter flooded basement unless circuits x, y, and q are disconnected.

And with most breaker panels in the basement (if you have a basement), how do you check that?

If the content in the basement is valuable enough to have a sump pump, then a backup is certainly worth consideration. In fact, perhaps the backup should be battery powered or on a generator?

I have a friend who has what would seem to be a stream running through the basement. We had an ice storm several years ago which knocked out power for many days (she was out over a week). Her portable generator failed on day two. One day later there was 20+ inches of water. We did pump her out and dry the basement but she later added a standby generator and a pair of staged pumps.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Logged
rob at lynxaudioservices dot com

Dealer for: AKG, Allen & Heath, Ashley, Astatic, Audix, Blue Microphones, CAD, Chauvet, Community, Countryman, Crown, DBX, Electro-Voice, FBT, Furman, Heil, Horizon, Intellistage, JBL, Lab Gruppen, Mid Atlantic, On Stage Stands, Pelican, Peterson Tuners, Presonus, ProCo, QSC, Radial, RCF, Sennheiser, Shure, SKB, Soundcraft, TC Electronics, Telex, Whirlwind and others

Frank DeWitt

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 973
    • LBP DI Box
Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2015, 07:48:32 pm »

I lived in a house that had a underground stream interrupted by dinging the basement.  I had a GOOD sump pump and a home made battery backup pump.  I found a 12 volt electric lawn mower that was designed to use a car battery, I moved it's motor to a old vertical sump pump and set the float higher then the main pump.  It had a old car battery on a shelf that would run it for a short while.  During a 3 day power failure my poor car sat in the back yard running at fast idle for hours at a time.

BTW a third float (a small piece of 2X4) hung from a string attached to a micro switch fastened to a ceiling rafter, that set off a high water alarm.  (9 volt battery and Piezo buzzer.)

I built a new house and insisted on a trench from the basement to lower ground.  The trench is about 100 ft long.  It was money well spent,  No sump pump.
   
Logged
Not to Code

Rob Spence

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2896
  • Boston Metro North/West
    • Lynx Audio Services
Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2018, 10:37:59 am »

I lived in a house that had a underground stream interrupted by dinging the basement.  I had a GOOD sump pump and a home made battery backup pump.  I found a 12 volt electric lawn mower that was designed to use a car battery, I moved it's motor to a old vertical sump pump and set the float higher then the main pump.  It had a old car battery on a shelf that would run it for a short while.  During a 3 day power failure my poor car sat in the back yard running at fast idle for hours at a time.

BTW a third float (a small piece of 2X4) hung from a string attached to a micro switch fastened to a ceiling rafter, that set off a high water alarm.  (9 volt battery and Piezo buzzer.)

I built a new house and insisted on a trench from the basement to lower ground.  The trench is about 100 ft long.  It was money well spent,  No sump pump.
 

I hear ya. I have a trench uphill of the footings and down both sides. In the spring, the outflow pipe has a lot of water coming out. Basement is dry.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
Logged
rob at lynxaudioservices dot com

Dealer for: AKG, Allen & Heath, Ashley, Astatic, Audix, Blue Microphones, CAD, Chauvet, Community, Countryman, Crown, DBX, Electro-Voice, FBT, Furman, Heil, Horizon, Intellistage, JBL, Lab Gruppen, Mid Atlantic, On Stage Stands, Pelican, Peterson Tuners, Presonus, ProCo, QSC, Radial, RCF, Sennheiser, Shure, SKB, Soundcraft, TC Electronics, Telex, Whirlwind and others

Keith Broughton

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2887
  • Toronto
Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2018, 12:18:06 pm »

So let me see if I have this right...
We are going to take a 115 volt electrical device and drop it into a pool of water and not have a GFCI on it?
Alllllrighty then....... :o
Logged
I don't care enough to be apathetic
Pages: [1] 2 3  All   Go Up
 


Page created in 0.131 seconds with 23 queries.