Home Electrical Tips

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/corals10/public_html/libraries/joomla/utilities/date.php on line 56

Warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/corals10/public_html/libraries/joomla/utilities/date.php on line 198

Warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/corals10/public_html/libraries/joomla/utilities/date.php on line 198
Electrical Tips PDF Print E-mail

GFIs

 

GFI stands for Ground Fault Interrupter. Also known as GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters.

This is a safety device that can reduce the chances of you getting a severe or fatal shock from electricity.

 

Hopefully someone has already told you that water and electricity don't mix.

Electricity and Water Don't Mix!

And if they do get mix, they can kill you.

Im sure you have seen the movie where the guys in the bathtub and someone (usually a pissed off girlfriend) throws a radio into the water and fries the guy in the tub. It kills him because the 120 Volt electrical current traveled through the water (a good conductor) from the electrified radio into her body, looking for the nearest ground.

GFICircuits300Most building codes require that all wet areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens and outdoor outlets, have a GFI receptacle or circuit. If your bathroom wall receptacle has a little red "test" button, then its most like a GFI outlet.

Bottom line is, you need to keep water and electricity separate at all times.

WARNING:

Again we absolutely DO NOT recommend that you do this yourself if you are not an expert or a licensed electrician.

A Great Backup "Insurance" Policy

The GFI is the great thing because it can reduce the chances of you getting electrocuted should water and electricity some how mix in your system. A GFI is an important insurance policy to keep you from getting electrocuted from all the electricity that is near the water in your aquarium system.

We highly recommend that you plug everything electric into a GFI outlet.

The best way to do it is to have an electrician wire either a wall outlet to plug into, or better yet, a GFI circuit breaker in the panel box on the circuit you are trying to use for your aquarium.

Wall Receptacle GFIs

If you are handy with tools, there are plenty of places on the web that will tell you how to install a GFI breaker or receptacle. You can either install a GFI in the wall, replacing the wall receptacle where you plug things into, or you can install it in the panel box.

Panel Box GFIs

Okay, now in our systems, because we have multiple outlets on one circuit, we simply GFI all of our circuits at the panel box, instead of the individual outlets. You can have one GFI breaker in your panel box and then every outlet that is connected to that circuit will be GFI protected.

Power Strip GFIs

Some places sell a power strip that is also a GFI. I don't have any experience with these, so I cant say if they are safe. But you might research this as an option if you don't want to have an electrician come into your house.


Another note of warning! Some GFIs will fail. Its very important understand that GFI are not 100% foolproof. You can test the circuit by pushing the "trip" button that comes on them. But I like to think of GFIs as BACKUP protection. I still take all other precautions to avoid electricity and water ever mixing in our systems.

So don't bet your life on a system that doesn't have a GFI. And don't bet your life on a GFI that might not be working. But having any GFI is certainly a lot better than none. Just make sure its properly installed and tested by a professional.

A problem you might have is, that the GFI will tend to "kick" off if you have any sort of short in the wiring or your equipment. It might not kick a regular circuit, but a GFI circuit is very sensitive to fluctuations in current, and reacts in milliseconds. So a GFI that kicks can indicate a problem in the circuit somewhere that demands your attention. Don't just keep flipping the tripped lever back. It's a warning that you might have a short that could lead to a fire hazard.

Much of the equipment that you buy today such as a submersible pump is shielded and is designed to be used underwater. So in that situation water and electricity should never mix. However, there's always a possibility the housing can get cracked, and even in an item such as a Eheim pump.

Another Important Consideration

Keep in mind that if all of your aquarium pumps are on one GFI or regular receptacle, and you go on vacation….. if the breaker kicks over, you will lose power and your tank might die.

So always put your pumps/powerheads on at least 2 different circuits. That way if one circuit goes down, you at least have some circulation in the tank.

My Close Call

I have been personally shocked by a submersible Eheim 1060 pump that was not on a GFI circuit. The wire had become frayed where it entered the housing. It hit me so hard I thought I had been kicked in the chest. I fell back but luckily I wasn't seriously hurt. You can bet all or our pumps (except an emergency circuit) are on GFIs now. Don't wait and make the mistake I did. Put all of your electrical items for your aquarium on a GFI.


Warning: mktime() [function.mktime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/corals10/public_html/libraries/joomla/utilities/date.php on line 117

Warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/corals10/public_html/libraries/joomla/utilities/date.php on line 245

Warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/corals10/public_html/libraries/joomla/utilities/date.php on line 249

Warning: strftime() [function.strftime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/corals10/public_html/libraries/joomla/utilities/date.php on line 250
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 February 2011 20:32
 
 

Polls

What's your all time Favorite Coral ?
 

Random Image of Our Corals We Farmed