GFCI Outlet poll

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


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CuzzA

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I understand it is hard to visualize. Let me try. There are two sockets in the wall. Each one I have pluged a gfi extension cord in each socket. The socket itself is not gfi. Then on the protected side I have my equipment pluged in. Any trouble on either gfi circuit due to leaking voltage will shut power off effectively isolating the failed item. And yes all equipment pluged into that gfi will have zero power applied.

The way gfi circuits work is they monitor current on one line Hot usually black wire and compare to the current on the other line, white wire. Any current diference trips the gfi. Like a pump voltage leaking into the tank due to let's say a leaking seal. The current on the hot wire conected to the gfi will be higher than current on the return wire. This is because the pump continues to draw current, let's say 1 amp. So 1 amp is detected by hot wire and return. That is ok but there is now an additional current draw through the tank because the seal failed allowing saltwater to enter the pump's electrical copper winding. The leaking voltage will draw current through my ground probe or other source. Let's say that extra draw is .25 Amps. Now the gfi detects 1.25 on the hot wire and 1 amp on return and the gfi trips. The 2nd gfi will typically not trigger as the current required to operate the equipment on the 2nd gfi is completely seperate from the equipment on the 1st gfi with a failed pump.
Terry, I know how they work. I have been advocating their use on forums for years. Have you read this thread? I have illustrated my setup in this thread with a link to my automatic transfer switch battery backup system that highlights two twenty Amp circuits, each with GFCI breakers not outlets, life support equipment split and an automatic battery backup on deep cycle marine batteries. I know all about it.

Willieboy said he has two circuits, but only one is protected. The other unprotected circuit has just his return pump. My argument is if he has split his life support over two circuits then it doesn't make any sense to have an unprotected circuit. I further added if anyone is arguing against GFCI outlets because they may defectively trip killing life support it really shouldn't matter because they should have a battery back up. If they don't then where's the logic behind not using GFCI because it could trip, yet a more common scenario is utility power was cut off killing life support.

I will link to my post again in this thread illustrating my setup.

 

willieboy240

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This is how I do it. How ever you do it is up to you. I’m not saying my way is right or wrong. Everyone is a adult. Please make your own decisions.
with that being said, I have 2 outlets on 2 different circuits. Those are gfi protected. My return pump is not on a gfi. Can it kill you? Technically yes, It can. Chances are that it will kill you is rare.
So why do I choose to do it this way ? It’s because we plug way too many things into the gfi outlet. Probably pushing the max out of it. Then when and it will trip. Your aquarium and everything is dead. Has it happened to me. Yes many of times. So I choose to do it this way. Just out of experience. Is it the right way ? Of course not. Gfi saves lives. But I don’t stick my hand in my sump really , Only on the super rare occasion.
hope that clears things up a bit.

so please don’t get me wrong. I’m not Arguing , I’m just stating how I do it and what has happened to me.
Oh. I do use a ground probe in the aquarium and the sump. FWIW.
 
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MarcF

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I touch the tank, water in the sump, water in the tank, etc. I'm not dead (to my knowledge). I'm also getting that plug in GFCI adapter and I'll play around with it and decide how many, if any, accessories to plug into it. But what's the point if you leave the return pump off the protected circuit - especially if that's one of the likely culprits. And I don't mean to minimize the fact that electricity CAN kill or injure me.
I am afflicted by confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance, being a human (to my knowledge). I have this tank. I have only one place to plug it in, and it's not GFCI. But I have a ground probe and I'm getting a GFCI adapter. I'm trying to find a reasonable path through this morass, avoiding the extremes, taking safety into consideration, and feeling pretty comfortable about it - except for all the anxiety having a fishtank automatically causes in the first place.
For me I am not debating the safety, sure it is the safest with both. GFCIs are critical in the bathroom where your whole body is submerged. When we can't find even a single case of that being a person and their aqaurium with tens of millions of fish keepers worldwide tells me the likelihood of someone dying is almost non-existent if you use current statistics.
I think someone came up with one. One. You can find instances of people being killed while playing chess, if you look hard enough.
 

MnFish1

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I'm still looking for a case where the GFCI tripping caused an unavoidable tank crash. By unavoidable, I mean no battery powered airstones, no Apex warnings etc.

I'd be interested if there were any GFCI related tank crash, despite all the backup precautions.
Here is your example - I had a GFCI plugged into my wall - it tripped (during a storm) - I got no warning from apex - and had was away for 3 days. The way I found out is that I noticed that the temperature, etc on Fusion were not reading. The failure was due to no heat, no flow, etc. Obviously if a person lives in an area - where the temp is always around 76 etc - this becomes less risky.

Here is a second example - without GFCI - a filter overflowed (HOB) - onto an outlet in my daughters room - and caused a $40,000 insurance claim.

So - clearly - there are problems with and without GFCI
 

MnFish1

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I feel bad for him. But that's not the GFCI causing the crash. When I go on vacation, I have someone checking my tank daily. Just like I would a cat or dog. Easily preventable in his situation.
Except - depending on where you live, the temp, the bioload - even having someone check 'once daily' might not be enough to prevent a tank crash...
 
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zalick

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Except - depending on where you live, the temp, the bioload - even having someone check 'once daily' might not be enough to prevent a tank crash...
With a battery powered airstones it pretty much is. Except if you live in sub freezing temps and you've lost power too.

Fish can survive a slow temp drop.

IME, an airstone will keep a tank alive for 24hrs, in a non frigid house.
 

alton

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My last crash was in may 2019 when the cleaning people slapped water on my plug strip which tripped and it is ahead of my GFCI protection. They didn't say anything so when I got back in the office on Monday, the tank was milky and all but one fish was dead. Killed all my SPS also. So even if you do not have GFCI protection and slap water on something it may trip which is better than catching on fire. Now I have two Wyze cameras pointed at my tank and check them on weekends. With a micro SD card I can go back two days and check if anything happens with cleaning people and my tank. The one camera is plugged into the same power strip as the aquarium, the second is plugged into my UPS.
 

jgvergo

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I see 61% said it was mandatory. For the record, the remaining 39% are (potentially dead) wrong.
 

TheHarold

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I see 61% said it was mandatory. For the record, the remaining 39% are (potentially dead) wrong.
Yes because in the entire history of reefkeeping, one person (Known for DIY) died of electrocution. I think if we are talking about avoiding relative risk... better to avoid getting into a vehicle, or going swimming at a beach. There is a difference between a recommendation and fear mongering.
 

Brian_68

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Yes because in the entire history of reefkeeping, one person (Known for DIY) died of electrocution. I think if we are talking about avoiding relative risk... better to avoid getting into a vehicle, or going swimming at a beach. There is a difference between a recommendation and fear mongering.
Least we forget the risks of all those that run a DIY MH setup in a wooden hood with the an arc temperature in the bulb running 1000 deg. C or more...... An example:
1579576986921.png
 
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CuzzA

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Least we forget the risks of those than run a DIY MH setup in a wooden hood with the an arc temperature in the bulb running 1000 deg. C or more......
There have been a few studies on aquarium home fires. Light fixtures were the number one cause followed by power strips.
 

TheHarold

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Least we forget the risks of all those that run a DIY MH setup in a wooden hood with the an arc temperature in the bulb running 1000 deg. C or more...... An example:
1579576986921.png
Exactly........ if we are trying to minimize risk, would be better off banning palythoa.
 

NoFeedback

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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??
I lost a mature 120 G reef tank due to a GFCI trip while I was on vacation. I definitely would not use one for the life support functions like the return pump, lights and possibly one or more heaters. Since the crash, I have gone with zero GFCI. Has anyone heard of anyone being fatally electrocuted by their fish tank? I have not.

Mike
 
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blackadonai

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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. ;).
You'd be surprised at how easily you can be electrocuted working on a saltwater aquarium. The salt makes the water extremely conductive and 120v at the average 15a circuit that most receptacles are run will easily pass through you, your shoes as well as the carpet and wood floor. Now the chances of you experiencing more than a suddenly hard jerk as the electricity contracts your muscles and pulls you away are pretty slim even though it technically only takes 0.25a to stop the human heart. I'd still recommend using a GFCI for everything but the return pump to protect your equipment though. A small spill could destroy everything connected to the circuit affected without GFCI protection. My advice comes from my 20yrs experience as an electrical technician
 

zalick

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You'd be surprised at how easily you can be electrocuted working on a saltwater aquarium. The salt makes the water extremely conductive and 120v at the average 15a circuit that most receptacles are run will easily pass through you, your shoes as well as the carpet and wood floor. Now the chances of you experiencing more than a suddenly hard jerk as the electricity contracts your muscles and pulls you away are pretty slim even though it technically only takes 0.25a to stop the human heart. I'd still recommend using a GFCI for everything but the return pump to protect your equipment though. A small spill could destroy everything connected to the circuit affected without GFCI protection. My advice comes from my 20yrs experience as an electrical technician
I agree! Im a big advocate of using GFCI and AFI. Including on return pump. I have separate circuits for my return and powerheads. Also battery backup air stone. And whole house generator. :D
 

Terry Mattson

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You'd be surprised at how easily you can be electrocuted working on a saltwater aquarium. The salt makes the water extremely conductive and 120v at the average 15a circuit that most receptacles are run will easily pass through you, your shoes as well as the carpet and wood floor. Now the chances of you experiencing more than a suddenly hard jerk as the electricity contracts your muscles and pulls you away are pretty slim even though it technically only takes 0.25a to stop the human heart. I'd still recommend using a GFCI for everything but the return pump to protect your equipment though. A small spill could destroy everything connected to the circuit affected without GFCI protection. My advice comes from my 20yrs experience as an electrical technician
I totally agree with you. To mitigate risk of any root cause power outages aquarist should consider a well thought out battery backup system. And for potential long term power outages like hurricane and tornado states or California with rolling black outs purchase a gas generator.

I install gfci and caution to purchase a quality unit. For my tanks I use a regular outlet with an indoor / outdoor inline gfci extension cord. Most are well built and are protected from corrosion. Having a power back up plan can help when aquariest are on vacation and other travel ... etc.
 

CuzzA

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I lost a mature 120 G reef tank due to a GFCI trip while I was on vacation. I definitely would not use one for the life support functions like the return pump, lights and possibly one or more heaters. Since the crash, I have gone with zero GFCI. Has anyone heard of anyone being fatally electrocuted by their fish tank? I have not.

Mike
Well it's clear you haven't read the thread then and for some reason a few of you focus solely on electrocution and ignore aquarium fires, which are more common and likely have led to deaths. Nevertheless, far more people have lost their tank to power outages than GFCI tripping. In both instances not having a battery back up and tank sitter is bad practice. I cannot imagine having thousands of dollars of livestock that was pulled from failing reefs and not ensuring that if something as simple as a car hitting a utility pole or lightning striking a transformer or GFCI tripping to not have a failsafe or backup to give you the best chance at having the system survive. Not to mention used controllers are so cheap these days and can inform you of loss of power.
 

Terry Mattson

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I lost a mature 120 G reef tank due to a GFCI trip while I was on vacation. I definitely would not use one for the life support functions like the return pump, lights and possibly one or more heaters. Since the crash, I have gone with zero GFCI. Has anyone heard of anyone being fatally electrocuted by their fish tank? I have not.

Mike
I think a better power loss mitigation strategy would include a auto battery backup system. That way we can mitigate power disruptions while on travel or work. And use a well made gfci to help mitigate electrical shocks.
 
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