GFCI Outlet poll

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


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Brew12

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I'm wanting to believe that the ground probe alone will prevent a shock when putting hand in tank. Especially if I stay grounded and take reasonable precautions.

I'll keep it in mind, but from the comments, the pump is the one component that many people don't want to run through GFCI, due to risk of killing system by power loss. Each path has it's merits and demerits, as with everything.
There are pro's and con's to everything in life. I'll leave it that I have personally worked with 3 different reefers who had to break down their systems and throw away all the rock and sand. Only one of them stayed in the hobby. With a GFCI/Ground probe it would have been a non issue.
I've only worked with one person who lost their tank to a GFCI trip and with better, easy to accomplish planning, it could have been avoided.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Find one article / case of a person who died of electrocution with their aquarium. 15 to 20 million have aquariums in their homes in the US alone. In the US 40k people die in car accidents. Even accounting for the lower number of aquariums vs. cars we don't have 1000 per year dying with aquariums....
lol

by your reasoning, free soloing up El Capitan is the safest thing in the world because no one has ever died doing it.

when people quote statistics claiming to relate to the danger of an activity, they always compare them in injuries per time the event is attempted. The things you stated are done far more often than someone sticking their hand in an aquarium without a GFCI, so may or may not be safer per attempt.
 

Brian_68

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lol

by your reasoning, free soloing up El Capitan is the safest thing in the world because no one has ever died doing it.

when people quote statistics claiming to relate to the danger of an activity, they always compare them in injuries per time the event is attempted. The things you stated are done far more often than someone sticking their hand in an aquarium without a GFCI, so may or may not be safer per attempt.
No one can find a single case, 15 million aquariums in the US will some people sticking their hands in daily certainly not 100% but millions of times over the course of a year. That is very telling to me of the danger. Sure we can make it safer with some known tradeoffs potentially to your livestock if the GFCI fails just trying to put the danger in perspective compared to every day activities.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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No one can find a single case, 15 million aquariums in the US will some people sticking their hands in daily certainly not 100% but millions of times over the course of a year. That is very telling to me of the danger. Sure we can make it safer with some known tradeoffs potentially to your livestock if the GFCI fails just trying to put the danger in perspective compared to every day activities.
If I could prevent car accidents by adding a GFCI to it, I certainly would.
 

Silver14SS

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Find one article / case of a person who died of electrocution with their aquarium. 15 to 20 million have aquariums in their homes in the US alone. In the US 40k people die in car accidents. Even accounting for the lower number of aquariums vs. cars we don't have 1000 per year dying with aquariums....
Post 116 in this thread :)


Electrocuted to death from aquarium.

Maybe we don't hear more about aquarium related deaths from posters because..... They're dead.
 

Brian_68

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If I could prevent car accidents by adding a GFCI to it, I certainly would.
There are pros and cons with each side with GFCIs and ground probes. I choose ground probe only. Play it safe for me, and my livestock. I periodically check my pumps for voltage leakage as well since it will not show with a ground probe installed.

Per your comment the following list is the leading causes of car accidents, quite a few can be prevented including the top 4 and some of us still choose to not follow those guidelines as well, and no GFCI required;):

1. Distracted Driving
2. Drunk Driving
3. Speeding
4. Reckless Driving
5. Rain
6. Running Red Lights
7. Night Driving
8. Design Defects
9. Tailgating
10. Wrong-Way Driving/ Improper Turns
10. Teenage Drivers
11. Drugs:
12. Potholes
13. Tire Blowouts
14. Animal Crossings
15. Construction Sites
 
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MarcF

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sorry you don’t understand it, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

A GFCI/ grounded tank will shut down a broken heater that might be massively pumping copper into the water. It is not just exposure of copper metal to the water, it is dissolution of the copper every time the sine wave of current is pulling electrons away from the water on a copper electrode.
I do understand it better, now that Brew12 (electrical guru) explained it better. I still maintain that any GFCI outlet is like any other outlet, until it trips. If it's like any other outlet, then it protects from contaminants like any other outlet, in other words, not at all.
If you have a GFCI, the first time you stick your hand in the tank and get a tingle the GFCI will trip letting you know you have a problem. With a GFCI/Ground probe combination, as soon as the energized conductor is exposed the GFCI will trip.
So now I want the GFCI so I will experience a shock (or be electrocuted, according to some), alerting me to problems in the aquarium.
Wait.
Listen, I know I'm conversing with more experienced folks, especially recent experience. First (and last) marine tank I had, nobody had GFCI because it hadn't been invented. Nor ground probes, as I remember. And pick-up sticks didn't have little ball ends.
Forgive me, and my crude analogies Randy, and Brew12 - and I should know better. But Randy, your original statement mystified me, without Brew's further explanation. I'm still unsure of the safest and best setup. OK the GFCI is for your protection, not the aquarium's. Or it's neither. Or both. So many opinions. But the majority, according to the poll, is firmly in favor.
Let's check some actuarial tables here. Or see if my umbrella policy goes up because of an aquarium, like it would if I were buying a motorcycle which I almost did 2 years ago, but chickened out. So does things like skiing and risky hobbies. I really can't think that aquarium keeping is up there. I mean if I'm losing sleep about an outlet, imagine my state of mind about to buy a motorcycle, watching YouTube videos of motorcycle crashes.
You know statistically, the mosquito is the most dangerous animal that ever existed. But we don't consider ourselves in danger from them, walking in the park, by a pond, on a summers day. We're blissfully ignorant of the dangers swirling all about us. I don't mean to ramble on. Yes I do. But my ramblings make sense, at least to me.
 
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Terry Mattson

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My career involved electrical wiring, 240 and 120, 60 cycle and 400 cycle ... electronics in aerospace. Retired. My tank has two seperate circuits. Each circuit is protected by a seperate gfi. I have return pump on one and icecap 3000 on the other incase one gfi trips. Also added a ground probe to trickle flux voltage generated by our motors. Or equipment failures. A ground probe alone will not protect a person. Acording to statistics, 4000 people in the USA are hospitalized each year by electrical shock in their homes. 300 are fatal. Over 50% involve water .... actually closer to 55%. Industrial electrical injuries numbers are not included. The use of gfi has reduced fatalities from about 800 to 300 per year. When I ran 240 to the dock, all my 120 circuits have gfi 15 or 20 amp circuit breakers. If I was setting up electrical codes, I would require gfi on most home circuits ... not just wet areas. We could cut that 300 and 4000 number by at least 70% ... maybe more.
 

K7BMG

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Ok folks.
Point here is electricity can kill. This is an undisputed fact.
If you don't want to protect yourself then don't.

GFCI, AFCI, and Ground probes. WILL GREATLY REDUSE THE RISK OF INJURY OR DEATH.
These are facts not fiction.

The demand of wanting proof of injury or death by Aquarium is absolutely Ludacris.
Especially if used as the reason to not have these items in place.
I am sorry and not meant to belittle anyone here but this logic is flawed.

I will admit I read all the posts here but did not go into the theory links.
But on ground probes, please know that just one probe may not be adequate.
In fact if a ground probe is going to be used I highly recommend bonding everything together, so different ground planes/potentials are not created.
So basically you need to bond everything as one unit together.
The tank, sump, metal stand, fixture supports ETC. If it can conduct electricity it needs to be bonded together.
I don't want to go in depth here on the theory behind this here but BONDING is extremely important.

For all of you here that feel you are safe because you only have 12-24 volt equipment in contact with your water, well think again, because you are dead WRONG.
Not one piece of our Aquarium equipment have intrinsic barriers installed.
Please further inform yourself and look up intrinsically safe circuits and equipment.

The best resource for research on electrical theory and safety for both the tradesmen and non tradesmen is Mike Holt.
Look him up.
 

DWill

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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.
You could always go to Lowe’s, Home Depot or pretty much any large hardware store and get a GFCI plug in adapter. Then plus your power strip in to that. Not as good maybe as installin a GFCI outlet, but it’ll do the job.
pr, just buy a GFCI outlet; their like $15.00 and take about 5 minutes to install.

Also you might get a good titanium ground probe and run it to ground while your putting in the outlet. Especially if you’ve got any AC devices in the system, like a heater for instance.
 

scottedontknow

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I am probably one of the biggest supporters of using the GFCI/Ground Probe combinations on the forum, but personal safety is a secondary reason I am a huge fan.

If I have a heater or pump fail and allows voltage in the tank, it will also be releasing toxins. Odds are that there will be exposed copper which will corrode much faster if it is energized. Electrical faults also generate very localized heat. This can melt plastics causing toxins to be released.

To protect my inhabitants I want any deranged equipment to be de-energized immediately and I want to know about it ASAP so I can get it out of the water. A GFCI tripping does that for me.

I also understand the concern about reliability. I would never run a larger system on a single GFCI. I use multiple GFCI's to minimize the amount of equipment lost on a trip. My return pump is on it's own independent GFCI. Even if it trips, the power heads in my tank will keep my system alive and healthy for many hours. Much longer than some of the gunk I've seen released from failed equipment.


I don't know anyone who has died from their aquariums, but I do know of problems. An R2R member was working in their small reef (I think it was 20g) and got a shock while standing on a stool. They yanked their arm out as expected, but it caught on the edge of the tank as they fell backward. The tank came over with them and crashed on the floor and they needed stitches from the cut they received. They use GFCI now.
All of this!!! ^^
 

Billdogg

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I have had systems with GFCI, and in the early days, systems without. All of my current (pardon the pun) systems are GFCI protected.

Now - let me tell you a little story.

Back in the day (pre GFCI) I had a power head stop working. I unplugged it and took it to the kitchen to clean. After cleaning I returned it to the tank, plugged it back in, and saw that it still wasn't working. So i reached in to give it a shake. I came to up against the wall some 10' away with my girlfriend shaking me asking if I was OK. I spent the next hour or so wondering around the house telling myself "yeah - I'm ok". I should have gone directly to the ER, but since I worked there I didn't want all my coworkers laughing at me, so I didn't. I was a complete IDIOT.

Yes, the whole thing might have been avoided if I hadn't been barefoot providing a wonderful path to ground. Regardless, I was very lucky to have lived through it.

Since then, I have used redundant GFCI circuits for all my systems to prevent everything going down when one thing trips the circuit. Is wiring a tad more complicated? Yep, it is.

Is it worth it?

Are you worth it? I am. If both GFCI's trip and I lose a tank full of corals, it was meant to be. They, ultimately, are replaceable.

I'm not!

The choice is yours. Choose wisely.
 

ingchr1

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....One said - "I've worked here 6 years and only been shocked about 5 times"...
So this shop is allowing repeat work place injuries? Sounds like a big liability, especially if a future one turns out to be more serious.

A fall from a shock can also be a source of serious injury (e.g. if up on a ladder).
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I do understand it better, now that Brew12 (electrical guru) explained it better. I still maintain that any GFCI outlet is like any other outlet, until it trips. If it's like any other outlet, then it protects from contaminants like any other outlet, in other words, not at all.

So now I want the GFCI so I will experience a shock (or be electrocuted, according to some), alerting me to problems in the aquarium.
Wait.
Listen, I know I'm conversing with more experienced folks, especially recent experience. First (and last) marine tank I had, nobody had GFCI because it hadn't been invented. Nor ground probes, as I remember. And pick-up sticks didn't have little ball ends.
Forgive me, and my crude analogies Randy, and Brew12 - and I should know better. But Randy, your original statement mystified me, without Brew's further explanation. I'm still unsure of the safest and best setup. OK the GFCI is for your protection, not the aquarium's. Or it's neither. Or both. So many opinions. But the majority, according to the poll, is firmly in favor.
Let's check some actuarial tables here. Or see if my umbrella policy goes up because of an aquarium, like it would if I were buying a motorcycle which I almost did 2 years ago, but chickened out. So does things like skiing and risky hobbies. I really can't think that aquarium keeping is up there. I mean if I'm losing sleep about an outlet, imagine my state of mind about to buy a motorcycle, watching YouTube videos of motorcycle crashes.
You know statistically, the mosquito is the most dangerous animal that ever existed. But we don't consider ourselves in danger from them, walking in the park, by a pond, on a summers day. We're blissfully ignorant of the dangers swirling all about us. I don't mean to ramble on. Yes I do. But my ramblings make sense, at least to me.
it is certainly true that a GFCI does nothing useful unless it trips.

I use them (many, with nearly every device on its own GFCI to isolate it if it trips) primarily for my own protection (along with a ground probe) and secondarily to protect the tank inhabitants.
 

CuzzA

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First (and last) marine tank I had, nobody had GFCI because it hadn't been invented. Nor ground probes, as I remember.
Ground fault interrupt circuits and grounding/bonding was invented in the 60's for swimming pools, IIRC. The reason for the invention is too many people we're getting electrocuted to death by various pool equipment, pumps and lights. The problem with electricity is you can't visually tell if something is energized. The other problem is we can't control where the electricity will go through our body. If it goes through your heart to ground you have a higher probability of dying. It takes very little electricity to stop a heart.

As us humans got smarter from experience and analyzing data we learned that a lot of people were also dying from electrocution/fire in wet areas of a home. So we updated the codes to include any circuit within ten feet of water needs to be on a protected circuit. Then we got even smarter as there were still cases of fire and death and I believe the 2020 code will now require just about every circuit have ground fault protection.

So while there may not be a specific code for aquariums, the new code basically will encompass someone who sets up an aquarium in their home. Of course the code enforcement isn't going to force you to get up to code on your old home, but smart people will likely try to do it on their own.

I don't know if it has been mentioned, but you don't need to install the GFCI outlet where your aquarium is plugged in, it just needs to be installed on an outlet on the circuit before the aquarium.

1579453904256.png
 
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MarcF

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So this shop is allowing repeat work place injuries? Sounds like a big liability, especially if a future one turns out to be more serious.

A fall from a shock can also be a source of serious injury (e.g. if up on a ladder).
I went back and asked him about it and he told me he was joking.
 

Acid King

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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.
Ive been tossing around the idea of altering my existing outlet to a GFCI before I start my tank. This response definitely helps!
 

K7BMG

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To any of you NON electricians out there installing there own GFCI, AFCI.
Please follow the instructions.
This is not a difficult task but if not done correctly it will not do its job.
I do not feel there is a need to hire a tradesmen to do this.
Just turn off the circuit and follow the directions included.
It is crucial that you know what hot wire and neutral is the source,
I cant tell you how many times I have found these devices not working becasuse they were wired incorectly.

For proper installation you will need to use a voltage tester to determine the source wires.
You should also have a GFCI tester so it can be checked for proper operation after the install.
 

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