Reef Aquarium Fact #246 Using a ground fault interrupter to plug your equipment into can save

Discussion in 'General Equipment, Hardware, Filtration' started by revhtree, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. revhtree

    revhtree Owner Administrator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member

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    We are going to continue discussing the reef aquarium facts submitted by our members. Do you agree or disagree? What are your thoughts?

    Fact #246

    Using a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to plug your equipment into can save your life, or at least save you from a nasty shock.

    GFCI Info


    Truth or False? What else might we need to learn on this subject? Please also share any pictures that may pertain to the subject.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
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  2. ChoxRox

    ChoxRox Well-Known Member

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    Everything in my tank is hooked up to one of these... but I have not much opinion on the subject since my fiancee installed it for me.. Seems safer though!
     
  3. levianth

    levianth Member

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    Saves you from getting shocked in the event of an equipment problem but certainly can be annoying if you overload them or get a faulty one. Failed return pumps because of a faulty GFCI is a headache!
     
  4. Flash

    Flash New Member

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    If you have many pumps, troubleshooting can be difficult with small stray voltages. Many resets on the GFCI. A breaker GFCI is also available for your panel. I'll consider buying some once the trip band is widened. I haven't had much luck with them but do agree they are a great safety.
     
  5. zoous

    zoous Well-Known Member

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    Never had any issues using regular outlets so knock on wood.
     
  6. cdness

    cdness 2006 - Present Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Using regular outlets at the moment but when the tank is moved downstairs it will be hooked up with GFCI. I will also be building a GFCI power block to use instead of the standard power strips. Just not enough hours in the day :(
     
  7. jerwin

    jerwin Well-Known Member

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    I was talking to guys at MACNA about this and I think Melvin mention not to use one for a tank. His statement was what happens if it pops while you are at work and shuts off all of your tank. This could basically kill your whole tank in a matter of hours. I see the pros and cons for it. i was going to put one on my new 180 but now have decided not too.
     
  8. Hyprviperx

    Hyprviperx Well-Known Member

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    while i love my tank i like my house fire free more. also i have 6 dogs so if theres a spill on the floors due to faulty equip, i dont want them electrocuted. the GFCI protects the wall socket from overloading and catching fire setting the wall on fire, not just shocks. you might lose the tank but you might not if you get home in time, however you will not stop the fire before you get home... my 2 cents
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  9. kschweer

    kschweer Zoas!!! Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award NJRC Member Partner Member

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    I like to use gfi on my tanks for the safety factor. It is important to check them and to replace as needed. I have found that some LED fixtures don't "get along" with them for lack of a better word.
     
  10. AZDesertRat

    AZDesertRat Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    GFCI's have absolutely nothing do do with overloads !!! You are confusing a circuit breaker with a ground fault circuit interrupter which are two entirely different things with two entirely different purposes!

    The circuit breaker will protect your house wiring from overloads.

    THE GFCI WILL PROTECT YOUR LIFE FROM SHORT CIRCUITS OR GROUND FAULTS ..

    Do not confuse the two, they are not interchangable and neither does the job of the other. Not using a GFCI could be a life and death decision and absolutely assinine to not use one. Remember water and electricity do not mix and when you are sticking your hands in saltwater, which is many many more times electrically conductive than normal tap water you are taking a huge risk. Its not a risk I am willing to take, ever.

    If nuisance trips are a concern then do as I did and place half of your pumps, heaters etc on one GFCI protected circuit and half on another. I installed a dedicated 20A GFCI protected circuit strictly for my reefs but still keep a couple circulation pumps and heaters on another circuit as a back up. Never had a problem though as good GFCI's don't trip fpr no reason, they are telling you something when they do.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  11. sluicebox

    sluicebox Well-Known Member

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    Amen, to everything said above. My career has been as a Safety Professional in industry and I would never have an aquarium set up without GFCI protection. If it is tripping you have an electrical problem that needs a diagnosis and solution....don't blame the GFCI. It may have just saved your life.
     
  12. darryl_v

    darryl_v Well-Known Member

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    These guys are telling the truth......you should not be running an aquarium with out a GFCI. They are code for washrooms and our tanks are many time more dangerous in terms of mixing water with electricity. They should be mandatory for aquariums. If they are tripping either the GFCI is faulty or the equipment has an issue.

    It's not opinion...it's fact, a GFCI can save your life.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  13. Wesley42079

    Wesley42079 Well-Known Member

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    I will look into purchasing one of these.

    You never know what might happen.
     
  14. AZDesertRat

    AZDesertRat Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I need to clarify my earlier post. The equipment I have on a separate circuit is also protected by a GFCI since it is the circuit that feeds my kitchen area and is required by national electrical codes to be protected same as exterior outlets and bathrooms.
     
  15. Giancarlo

    Giancarlo Well-Known Member

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    Is it hard to install, and is an electrician mandatory for this kind of thing?
     
  16. AZDesertRat

    AZDesertRat Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    You can get a simple plug in style GFCI at Lowes or HD or any good hardware store. I use the plug in style for my Nano tank in my living room.
    For my 100G system I have a permanent one wired into the wall outlet as they are more robust and reliable, reducing or eliminating nuisance trips.

    If you are comfortable working around 120v AC electricity, when it is switched off at the breaker and verified with a meter of course, you can install one in a few minutes. One thing you want to think about is how you install it. If you have other wall outlets on the same circuit, it can be installed so it protects only thae outlet it is wired in to or it can be wired to protect all outlets downstream of that outlet and itself. Eithwer way, the included directions are usually pretty clear and easy to follow as long as you are comfortable with electricity.
     
  17. goodtogo

    goodtogo Well-Known Member

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    I am in the process of getting my outlets GFCI.
     
  18. Me z

    Me z Well-Known Member

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    Another thing speaking as a electrician. First you cant have two gfci plugs on the same circuit, for all of you rushing out to put them on your tank. They wont work properly. One first in the line of plugs is all you need to protect every outlet down the line it will all be gfci protected. Second they do not always work! Get a grounding probe as well just to be safe. It only takes one, one millionth of an amp at 9v to stop your heart! Your house has 20 amps at 120v running through it. More people die from household electricity than high voltage power lines. I'd rather flush some fish than get put in a pine box.
     
  19. ColaAddict

    ColaAddict Well-Known Member

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    I kept getting zapped the other day putting my hand in the tank with gfci. I found out my heater was zapping me. I was wondering why it never tripped the gcfi.
     
  20. sjnovakovich

    sjnovakovich Member

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    Well... kill your tank in a matter of hours or kill yourself in an instant. I had a skimmer malfunction that spilled a load of water into my wiring. Thank God everything was hooked up to a gfci. Salt water and electricity are a fatal combination. Do you know that when someone receives capital punishment in the form or the electric chair, their head is doused with a salt water - soaked sponge prior to placing the eletrode on their head? This is done for a reason.
     

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