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Author Topic: Sump Pump Electrocution  (Read 7381 times)

Mike Sokol

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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.
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Don Davis

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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.
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John Roberts {JR}

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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)
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Stephen Swaffer

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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!! 
 
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Jonathan Johnson

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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 »
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John Roberts {JR}

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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
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Rob Spence

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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.



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Frank DeWitt

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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.
   
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Rob Spence

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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.



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Keith Broughton

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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
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Chris Hindle

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Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2018, 01:07:49 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
In my Dad's first house, the Sump Pump was 5ft tall. The motor head stood well above where any water should collect....
Anything that would contact water was purely mechanical.
Now, I haven't used one / seen one since I was 18, and moved out.
By all the talk, i'm guessing we've gone to submersibles.
Chris.
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2018, 10:02:24 am »

In my Dad's first house, the Sump Pump was 5ft tall. The motor head stood well above where any water should collect....
Anything that would contact water was purely mechanical.
Now, I haven't used one / seen one since I was 18, and moved out.
By all the talk, i'm guessing we've gone to submersibles.
Chris.

An installed submersible sump pump is pretty much standard around here. Most people have a battery backup, too, since the most need for a sump pump is during a storm that might knock out the power.  Basically you create an intentional very low spot in the basement or the crawlspace and throw a pump into it.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2018, 10:27:37 am »

BTW.. this thread resurfaced because a non-audio person posted to it after likely finding it with a search for sump pumps... he violated the full, real name rule and his post was removed.

I continue to favor a forum software feature that auto-locks threads after some period of dormancy.  Any replies after that would go to a moderator to determine if the thread should be unlocked and revived.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2018, 11:02:00 am »

BTW.. this thread resurfaced because a non-audio person posted to it after likely finding it with a search for sump pumps... he violated the full, real name rule and his post was removed.

I continue to favor a forum software feature that auto-locks threads after some period of dormancy.  Any replies after that would go to a moderator to determine if the thread should be unlocked and revived.
Locking old threads reduces their utility.... how about locking illegal posters.

I saw the post, and didn't respond, but it looks like a bunch of people who should know better did.

JR

PS: Should we report these to moderators too.? I generally only report spam.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2018, 01:06:56 pm »

Locking old threads reduces their utility.... how about locking illegal posters.

I saw the post, and didn't respond, but it looks like a bunch of people who should know better did.

JR

PS: Should we report these to moderators too.? I generally only report spam.

Illegal posters are locked and later deleted if they create the topic and don't fix whatever issue is present.  Non-compliant responses (usually name issues) are admonished.  If they continue posting Mac (usually) or other mods will deal with it.

I disagree that locking threads reduces their utility, at least on the audio forums of PSW.  You've been here as long as I have, JR, and we've seldom seen meaningful contributions to a thread after it's been dormant for 60 days (often much less).  Leaving old threads open also does not seem to discourage users from creating new threads on the same ideas, concepts or topics because it does not occur to those users that theirs is not the first time anyone has had that particular thought...

My view re autolocking didn't gain traction with the mods, either, so it's time to tilt at other windmills... ;)
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2018, 03:20:39 pm »

Illegal posters are locked and later deleted if they create the topic and don't fix whatever issue is present.  Non-compliant responses (usually name issues) are admonished.  If they continue posting Mac (usually) or other mods will deal with it.
I am not sure you answered my question? Should we report name mistakes to moderators?
Quote
I disagree that locking threads reduces their utility, at least on the audio forums of PSW.  You've been here as long as I have, JR, and we've seldom seen meaningful contributions to a thread after it's been dormant for 60 days (often much less).  Leaving old threads open also does not seem to discourage users from creating new threads on the same ideas, concepts or topics because it does not occur to those users that theirs is not the first time anyone has had that particular thought...
I can see both sides of this...   I dislike repeating myself, but not so much that I don't constantly do it.

So many of today's questions were already answered multiple times in the past. At least they are reading the old threads.
Quote
My view re autolocking didn't gain traction with the mods, either, so it's time to tilt at other windmills... ;)
Mods are underappreciated... thank you for trying to herd the kittens.

JR
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Thread locking
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2018, 04:00:45 pm »

Illegal posters are locked and later deleted if they create the topic and don't fix whatever issue is present.  Non-compliant responses (usually name issues) are admonished.  If they continue posting Mac (usually) or other mods will deal with it.

I disagree that locking threads reduces their utility, at least on the audio forums of PSW.  You've been here as long as I have, JR, and we've seldom seen meaningful contributions to a thread after it's been dormant for 60 days (often much less).  Leaving old threads open also does not seem to discourage users from creating new threads on the same ideas, concepts or topics because it does not occur to those users that theirs is not the first time anyone has had that particular thought...

My view re autolocking didn't gain traction with the mods, either, so it's time to tilt at other windmills... ;)

I'm all for auto locking, unfortunately I haven't found where you turn that on in this software. Years ago I tuned on a warning that notified a poster that the thread was more than 120 days old. That's the best I  have been able to do.

Mac
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Thread locking
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2018, 05:08:18 pm »

I'm all for auto locking, unfortunately I haven't found where you turn that on in this software. Years ago I tuned on a warning that notified a poster that the thread was more than 120 days old. That's the best I  have been able to do.

Mac

You have to run a script on the server and lock the thread in the DB.  Put the script in the daily cron folder and it will run once a day.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Thread locking
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2018, 05:16:45 pm »

I'm all for auto locking, unfortunately I haven't found where you turn that on in this software. Years ago I tuned on a warning that notified a poster that the thread was more than 120 days old. That's the best I  have been able to do.

Mac

I didn't mean to imply it was a feature of *this* software and in re-reading I can see how it might look that way.  Oops.

Ernie might have some ideas regarding scripts...

In the grand scheme of things a zombie thread is relatively minor.  It's interesting to watch the fresh replies to this thread because the post that triggered the resurrection was removed. 
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Bob Charest

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Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2018, 05:25:22 pm »

I agree with much that Iíve just read about utility of all threads versus possibly locking them.

One thing I would love to see, and I suspect  mods would appreciate having, is a feature that would force the real names to be entered before any activity could occur.

Itís been quite a while since I registered on this forum, so I canít remember exactly, but I donít think I had a problem putting in my real name.

Is it possible to force this before one can post in this current forum software?

I would also like to echo John Robertsí thanks to the mods for all the work they do in keeping one of the best resources Iíve ever found on the web thriving.

Best regards,
Bob Charest


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Jeff Bankston

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Re: Sump Pump Electrocution
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2018, 03:12:36 pm »

All my locks are keyed alike.
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Mac Kerr

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Bu bye
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2018, 04:48:20 pm »

All my locks are keyed alike.

Reason enough to lock this thread.

Anyone who needs to discuss plumbing issues can surely find a thread on a plumbing forum.

Mac
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