Shock Protection! - Installing GFCI Outlet Question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2006, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Shock Protection! - Installing GFCI Outlet Question

Is it easy to install a GFCI plug?
Where does one get one and how does one install it?

As you can tell I'm not very electrically or mechanically inclined..

Anything advice will help this blank slate!

Thanks!


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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2006, 06:16 PM
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They are easy to install during construction or remodel but a PITA when trying to simply replace an existing plug. I bought a GFCI cord at Wal-Mart. Basically it looks like a short extension chord with a small box that plugs into the wall. Nice and easy. No wiring and no sanding drywall.

This should give you an idea what I'm talking about. The residential ones are much cheaper. To the best of my knowledge one I have is less than $20.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2006, 06:23 PM
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GFCI's have three wires - a ground colored green and two current carrying wires, sometimes colored white and black. If you have a grounded, three prong-type outlet installed, you can easily replace it with a GFCI. Or you can, as I do, install one in a steel junction box with a electric three wire cord and plug to be plugged into a grounded, three wire wall outlet.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2006, 07:13 PM
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Easy to install. Two tips:

Cut off the breaker to the outlet, then *make sure* the power really is off by probing the existing outlet with a voltmeter.

Have a flashlight, as you'll most likely be in the dark while installing it. A helper to hold the flashlight can be useful too.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2006, 08:46 PM
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place I went to get a quote charged me $99 just to come out to look at my place. Then they were going to charge me $279 to replace my existing outlet

This is in Southern California, but I think I could have gone cheaper with another vendor.

I decided to get these portable GFCI units instead from Home Depot since if I move, I can take them with me.

I heard if your building is not up to code (say it's an "older house" that it may be more than just replacing the plug.) from the electrician that quoted me for the job, it might cost more.

I spent my money better by getting the various devices for home and work (since my building was up to code anyway):

I use these at work and place a surge protector after it.


At home, I use these. One for each outlet:


I got these so I could put GFCI on both plugs since I run several tanks at home.

You can also get this one if you have 1 aquarium system:



I didn't like this because since i run 4 tanks at home, I could only have GFCI protection on the one outlet.

These can be found at Home Depot and it may not be near their "surge protector" section all the time (as I found out).

The company's name is TCRI at www.tcri.net

I think another place I heard charged $75 for a GFCI installation. Much better than I was quoted. I like these portable units for my application better.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2006, 08:48 PM
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Please excuse my ignorance, but whats the difference between a GFI and a surge protector? Don't both "pop" if theres a short?
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2006, 08:57 PM
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from trci.net website:

"Standard surge protectors only provide protection against power surges, which is important. However, standard surge protectors do not provide ground fault protection for devices plugged into the surge protector nor do they provide for cord fire prevention. TRC has recently introduced a next generation line of Fire Shield Surge Protectors that not only protects against power surges, but also provides cord fire prevention and ground fault protection. Please check our website, www.fireshield.com, under “Products” to find the Fire Shield Surge Protector best suited for your requirements"

You can check out their video as well:
http://www.trci.net/products/shock_shield/index.html#

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, provide protection against the hazards of shock and electrocution. GFCI's are required by both the National Electrical Code (NEC) and OSHA for use on jobsites for temporary wiring applications.

This is also required in kitchens, garages, and bathrooms (i think for newly developed places at home, not sure about commercial sites).

I read this article as well to find out more about GFCI
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebI...WGFIUseArt.htm

Also go to this site and search for "surge". It explains the difference in there.
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/electrical-wiring/part1/

TRCI has the one surge protector that looks like it has GFCI built into one (Although I don't see that it says it's GFCI protected on the container)

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2006, 09:04 PM
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Thanks, that's just what I was looking for.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2006, 12:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AoiGSR
place I went to get a quote charged me $99 just to come out to look at my place. Then they were going to charge me $279 to replace my existing outlet
At HD they sell GFCI outlets for 9 or 11 or so bucks. If you know what a circuit breaker looks like, and can hold a screwdriver, it's really straightforward to change an existing outlet to a GFCI outlet.


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2006, 12:59 AM
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Yeah I know, I figure I let a "professional" handle it. When he gave me that price, I was sad, I'd let you do it if you guarantee your work

I saw those too and was thinking man... $11 and it cost SOOO much for labor? what a rip!

I was not confident with wiring as well. If it's computer stuffs, I am okay. if it's cars or houses, usually I let the pros do it

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2006, 01:50 AM
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First of all, take anything that I say on this matter with a grain of salt, as I am not an electrician. I have done some remodeling though, and I have checked up on GFCIs. The GFCI can replace a simple 2 prong outlet, though it will not give the added protection of the ground. The GFCI works by making sure that the amount of current coming in equals the amount of current going out. If this is not equal, then it interrupts the circut. If the current is not equal, it must be going somewhere, like through you, which is more likely in wet situations. This is why they are used in bathrooms and kitchens.

Surge protectors are designed to route surges in current into the ground so that it doesn't damage you or your equipment. These surges can come from lightning or your own appliances. The surge protectors come into play because these surges happen too quickly for your fuses to kick and protect you.

Installing a GFCI in an existing 2 or 3 prong outlet box is no more difficult than installing a regular outlet except that because they are a little bigger, it can be more difficult to fit it back in the box. The GFCIs occasionally kick due to other reasons (certain motors, or lighting systems for example) so make sure that if you hook one up that you know what other outlets are further down stream, as it could do damage - imagine if your refridgerator or someone's medical equipment kicked off until someone got around to resetting it. I would recommend to anyone to hook up a GFCI to their aquarium equipment, whether it is a replacing a 2 prong or a 3 prong outlet. If I am wrong on anything that I said above, please feel free to correct me.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2006, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, great info guys. I think I like Clone's and Aoi's Idea of a portable "inline" GFCI plug. For $20 it doesn't seem like a bad idea. Home Depot and walmart here I come!

Anyone else use these portable GFCI?

Thanks Folks!

the KK


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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2006, 02:57 AM
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Yeah, thanks for sharing AoiGSR. I have GFIs on two of my tanks and have been meaning to put in two more GFI outlets in my "fish room". But now I think I am might get a couple of these portable jobs. BTW, GFIs don't last for ever... if you click them on and off all the time testing. So its best to just let them stay on and test very infrequently. It is a mechanical switch which can wear out with friction, so I was told by an electrician.





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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2006, 03:47 PM
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Just to add on to what negatived mentioned regarding other devices that might get turned off when the GFCI triggers...

If you replace the wall outlet, make sure it is accessible. If figured that the place behind the stand would be great, cause you don't see it. Problem is when it triggers, I need a chopstick and a flashlight and lots of patience to reset it, through a hole I drilled into the stand...


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2006, 09:05 PM
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When the electrician came to make his $99 visit, he said if I did pay the $278 to replace my regular outlet to GFCI, it would include a 1 year warranty including warranty on their labor. He said he'd extend the warranty by a year afterwards.

I decided to go the portable route instead. I figure, I can replace the portable ones by myself. This also bought me time to figure out when and how I can replace out my own GFCIs in the future when I meet the right person should the ones in my Kitchen, bathroom, or garage ever "fail". And should I decide to migrate my whole setup somewhere else, I can do so with the portable ones. Or if i learn by then, to replace my outlets with GFCI units in the room that required it.

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