what size circuit breaker for well pump


What Size Circuit Breaker for Well Pump?

You have just moved into a new house with a well pump, or maybe you are considering installing one. Regardless of whether it is a submersible pump or a jet pump, one question that often arises is: what size circuit breaker should be used for a well pump?

Well pumps are vital for accessing clean and reliable water, making it essential to ensure that they are properly protected. Using the correct circuit breaker size is crucial to prevent electrical issues and ensure the longevity of your well pump. In this article, we will explore the factors that determine the appropriate circuit breaker size for your well pump, so you can make an informed decision.

Understanding Well Pumps

Before delving into the circuit breaker size, it is important to have a basic understanding of well pumps. Well pumps are electrical devices that are primarily responsible for drawing water from underground sources, such as wells or boreholes, and delivering it to your home or property.

There are two main types of well pumps: submersible pumps and jet pumps. Submersible pumps are installed underwater and are ideal for deep wells, while jet pumps are situated above ground and are better suited for shallow well applications. Both types of pumps require electrical power to function.

Determining the Circuit Breaker Size

When it comes to determining the appropriate circuit breaker size for your well pump, several factors need to be considered:

1. Pump Horsepower (HP)

The horsepower of your well pump is an essential factor in determining the circuit breaker size. The higher the horsepower, the larger the electrical load, and therefore, the larger the circuit breaker required. The majority of residential well pumps have a horsepower ranging between ½ and 1 ½ HP.

2. Voltage

The voltage supplied to your well pump is another crucial aspect that impacts the circuit breaker size. Most residential well pumps operate on either 120V or 240V. It is important to know the voltage of your well pump before selecting the appropriate circuit breaker.

3. Electrical Codes and Standards

Electrical codes and standards vary depending on your location. It is important to consult with a licensed electrician or refer to the National Electric Code (NEC) to ensure compliance with local regulations. Adhering to these codes will help ensure both safety and efficiency.

4. Circuit Load

The overall circuit load is influenced by various factors, such as the size of your home, the number of appliances, lighting, and other electrical devices connected to the same circuit. It is crucial to consider the overall load on the circuit to avoid overloading and potential electrical hazards.

5. Manufacturer Recommendations

Always refer to the manufacturer's recommendations for your specific pump model. They will provide guidance on the appropriate circuit breaker size to ensure optimal performance and protect your well pump from potential damage due to electrical issues.

Choosing the Right Circuit Breaker Size

Based on the factors mentioned above, here are some general guidelines for choosing the right circuit breaker size for your well pump:

1. For 120V Pumps:

- A well pump with ½ HP typically requires a 15-amp circuit breaker.

- A ¾ HP well pump generally requires a 20-amp circuit breaker.

- For well pumps between 1 and 1 ½ HP, a 25-amp circuit breaker is typically recommended.

2. For 240V Pumps:

- A well pump with ½ HP usually requires a 15-amp circuit breaker.

- A ¾ HP well pump typically requires a 15- to 20-amp circuit breaker.

- For well pumps between 1 and 1 ½ HP, a 20-amp circuit breaker is generally recommended.

It is important to note that these are general guidelines, and it is crucial to consult the manufacturer's recommendations and local electrical codes to determine the exact circuit breaker size for your specific well pump.

Installation and Safety Considerations

Proper installation of the circuit breaker for your well pump is essential to ensure safety and prevent electrical issues. Here are some crucial installation and safety considerations:

- Always hire a licensed electrician for the installation of the circuit breaker. They have the expertise to properly size and install the breaker, ensuring compliance with electrical codes.

- Make sure the circuit breaker panel has the capacity to accommodate the required breaker size and additional electrical loads.

- Use the appropriate wire size based on the circuit breaker and well pump specifications. Undersized wires can lead to overheating and potential hazards.

- Install a dedicated circuit for the well pump to avoid overloading the circuit with other electrical devices.

- Regularly inspect and maintain the circuit breaker and wiring to ensure they are in good condition.

- In case of any electrical issues, such as tripping breakers or flickering lights, contact a professional electrician to diagnose and resolve the problem.


Choosing the correct circuit breaker size for your well pump is crucial to ensure its safe and efficient operation. Factors such as pump horsepower, voltage, electrical codes, circuit load, and manufacturer recommendations must be taken into account. Following these guidelines and consulting with a licensed electrician will help you determine the appropriate circuit breaker size for your specific well pump. By prioritizing safety and compliance with electrical codes, you can ensure reliable access to clean water for your household.


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