GFCI Outlet poll

Where are you on Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets for your power supply?


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MarcF

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I don't have my tank yet - it's to be delivered this week.
The power outlet I'm planning to use, is in the living room, and it's a regular duplex wall outlet, supplying regular 120v power. I'll use a regular power strip / surge protector and plug into that.
Does everyone automatically use a GFCI outlet? It makes sense since we're fooling around with power and water. At the same time, if that GFCI should trip and you aren't aware of it, you're without power. I'm wondering if I need to install it before I start running the system. I'm also wondering about a battery backup system - if you want to comment about that, please don't hesitate.

Where are you on GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets. Mandatory, optional, or even ill-advised??
 
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JoshH

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I’ve been in this hobby for 20 years. GFI use to be the must haves. I my experience. I would put the return pump on a non-gfi. I had too many close calls cuz something made the breaker pop. Lucky I was always around.
Solid advice here IMO, everything else is fine on a GFCI but it's usually advisable to keep the heart of your system on a non-GFCI outlet...
 

zalick

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My tank can handle a few hours unplugged, and my Apex notfies me of power outage. So not concerned with tripping the GFCI. More concerned with killing myself , so GFCI is mandatory for me.

Also, ground probe is mandatory for me too. Make sure those amps can find a better path to ground than through my heart!
 
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MarcF

MarcF

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I guess I'm asking, if I don't already have a GFI outlet there, must I install it? Or can I just be careful about say, turning off accessories when I'm mucking around with my arms in the water.
Edit
Just saw Zalick's answer. So, I guess it is the prudent thing to do.
 

JoshH

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My tank can handle a few hours unplugged, and my Apex notfies me of power outage. So not concerned with tripping the GFCI
And if your Apex happens to fail and your tank is without power overnight, everything will be dead. Save for a few Inverts.

I agree on the grounding probe for sure and everyone will have to wager what they are or aren't willing to risk themselves. For me I'll be running an external return pump so the odds of stray voltage from it entering the tank are slim to none so it gets a regular outlet with other water proofing measures, everything else, definitely a GFCI. Obviously everyone's setup is different so it's all a matter of taking other things into consideration.

I will add that not everyone has the luxury to have this option and I fully understand that, just presenting sorted the best scenario. You could run a dual outlet setup, one outlet standard and the other GFCI. All you would need to do is wire in the supply line to the first regular outlet then pigtail into the GFCI for a total of 4 outlets in the box (yes you would need a larger dual plug receptacle box). But this would give you the best of both worlds. If something trips the GFCI it will kill the power to itself and any other outlets down stream of it. BUT your other outlet upstream eventhough it's right next to it will keep on trucking....
 
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zalick

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I guess I'm asking, if I don't already have a GFI outlet there, must I install it? Or can I just be careful about say, turning off accessories when I'm mucking around with my arms in the water.
Edit
Just saw Zalick's answer. So, I guess it is the prudent thing to do.
I will say this: even if you have stray voltage the odds of you being a good ground path are incredibly low. Dry wood floor, synthetic carpet, rubber soled shoes. Odds of actually getting shocked are shockingly low IMO. ;).
 

zalick

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And if your Apex happens to fail and your tank is without power overnight, everything will be dead. Save for a few Inverts.

I agree on the grounding probe for sure and everyone will have to wager what they are or aren't willing to risk themselves. For me I'll be running an external return pump so the odds of stray voltage from it entering the tank are slim to none so it gets a regular outlet with other water proofing measures, everything else, definitely a GFCI. Obviously everyone's setup is different so it's all a matter of taking other things into consideration
True. Risks all around. Return pumps fail too. Everything really. Knock on wood but my Apex is the one component that hasn't failed! :oops:
 

pdxmonkeyboy

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You dont need a GFI. Yes, they are nice to have but honestly, I have never heard of a single person killing themselves in a fish tank from a faulty appliance.

It's not a bathtub. Believe me, if you stick your hand in there and there is a lot of current, your body will pull your hand out before your brain even realizes what is going on.
 
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MarcF

MarcF

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Also, ground probe is mandatory for me too. Make sure those amps can find a better path to ground than through my heart!
Ground probe. Is this a fully grounded 3 prong outlet, or something beyond that?
Not the GFI part which is beyond the 3 prong outlet- just the ground probe.
I'm fairly fluent in electrical terms, but I'm no EE. Worked with quite a few though.
 
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vetteguy53081

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Saltwater and electricity do not mix. As we know this, gfci is of benefit but not an absolute requirement.
We generally apply common sense techniques such as drip loop, non overloading and use of power strips or controller units.
I prefer direct plugin but welcome tht security of power interruption if a component fails
 

JoshH

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True. Risks all around. Return pumps fail too. Everything really. Knock on wood but my Apex is the one component that hasn't failed! :oops:
This is very true, especially in our hobby, things tend to fail when we REALLY don't want them to. I think the key is to plan for the inevitable. Be as safe as you can and try and cover as many scenarios as possible... hard to do and this once again comes down to a personal choice.

BTW, before it gets forgotten, @MarcF Congratulations on the new tank!!!
 

zalick

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Ground probe. Is this a fully grounded 3 prong outlet, or something beyond that?
Not the GFI part which is beyond the 3 prong outlet- just the ground probe.
I'm fairly fluent in electrical terms, but I'm no EE. Worked with quite a few though.
Ground probe to a fully grounded non-GFI outlet is how I have it setup. The probe provides a great path to ground. Much better than my body.

I also have a full house backup NG generator for power failure. I try to cover all my bases. :)
 

Sarah24!

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Hello,

I have sadly seen what happens to people when they are electrocuted and what it’s does to the body and heart. My tank has a ground probe and, gfci on at all times. From others and I’ll probably switch I will leave a return pump ( I have 2), on a normal plug in. The problem I’m going to run into, is that one wired into the gfci. Getting shocked by any of these is very serious and with the salt being a factor, it’s time for the er. I can’t force others to do it, but seeing what happens to them because they didn’t may convince you to.
 

zalick

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You dont need a GFI. Yes, they are nice to have but honestly, I have never heard of a single person killing themselves in a fish tank from a faulty appliance.

It's not a bathtub. Believe me, if you stick your hand in there and there is a lot of current, your body will pull your hand out before your brain even realizes what is going on.
I've heard of LOTS of people getting zapped with 110v due to broken heaters. Obviously not a ton of amps, since they lived. But not hearing of any deaths, doesn't mean there are none.

Odds are obviously extremely low, but you've only got one life. Lots of fish in the sea.
 
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alton

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From washing machines to dishwashers to vending machines. All are required to be on GFCI protection. Anything 120 volt installed in your tank should be on a GFCI outlet. Do not want to run your pumps on GFCI then buy low voltage pumps and keep the power supplies outside the stand away from the tank. My M1 is a prime example, I run it externally and it is low voltage. Mp40 and MP10 same thing. You can also use Tunze low voltage pumps. Keep your heaters and pumps on multiple GFCI receptacles, so if one trips it doesn't shut your whole system down. What I always tell people if you decide not to use Arc fault or ground fault protection that is your choice, but what happens the first time your child or wife comes in contact with a live circuit. We are always taught on the jobsite what if? Well what if at 2 am your tank springs a leak and your floor, receptacles, 120 volt plugs are all soaked, and not plugged into a GFCI/ grounding probe and you kneel down in your PJ's and bare feet to unplug everything?
 

mike550

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@MarcF this is a great question and lots of good answers. I’m new to reefing and set up my tank before considering GFCI. That said, I’ve found GGCIs to be very sensitive and I don’t need a GFCI tripping accidentally. I don’t have an Apex or something that can tell me when it trips. So I’ve taken other precautions like grounding probe, DC equipment except for heater, etc.

On your UPS question I highly recommend putting your tank circuits on a backup generator if you can. That said you’ll find that a battery backup won’t last too long if you try to put your heater or pumps on it. But heat and circulation are probably the two most important items. Ecotech has a separate battery backup for their pumps so that’s a great option. It also switches the pumps to a battery mode so it reduces circulation. Also depending on how long of a power outage you think you’ll have maybe leave the heater off the battery backup. This will depend a lot on how fast you think your tank will cool off.

In my case my aquarium is on a backup generator so I’m using a UPS for the whole system. First the UPS cleans up power coming into my equipment. Second, the generator kicks in within a couple of minutes so I picked up a UPS that runs around 10 minutes under full load.

Good luck!
 

BeejReef

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I like alton 's logic on this one. What if?

That said, GFCI isn't a panacea and it's not foolproof, especially in a massive saltwater spill scenario.
The outlets need to be properly installed and a lot depends on the quality and design of your home's electrical system as well. Don't trust it implicitly just bc it has a button.
 

TheHarold

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Whenever I see the word “GFCI” on a forum I think “Here come the internet electricians!”

My big tank with two circuits is partially GFCI, keeping the return pump and lighting off GFCI.

None of my smaller tanks are on GFCI. I’d rather see some sparkles than come home to a dead tank :p
 
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