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Looking for info to support use of GFIs


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According to the CPSC, GFCIs could prevent 2/3'rds of the 300 electrocution deaths that occur every year. 67%... 200 people a year..... It also goes on to say that they would prevent 'thousands of burn and shock injuries'.

The document was created after 1990, when GFCIs were first required to be installed on branch circuits that service crawl spaces and unfinished basements. Outdoor GFCIs were required in 73, bathrooms in 75, garages in 78 and kitchens in 87. That would mean electrocution deaths were actually higher before those standards.

It's interesting to note that the first place GFCIs were required were for OUTDOOR outlets. The same ones that some people around here REMOVE.

http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/99.html

Edited by oldcqr
(I hate it when I use ' when I shouldn't!)
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  • 10 months later...

I'm new to Planet Christmas, so excuse this question. I'm sure it's been addresed many times.

I understand the importance of GFIs, but whenever it rains ( even a light mist) or there is wet snow, the GFI cuts our lights. We have over 20,000 mini lights, I have all the connections raised off the ground and wrapped with electrical tape.

What else can I do to keep the GFIs from triggering?:(

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I started using the tape after the first year because the GFIs kept triggering. So the problem was there even without the tape.

I'm thinking of switching to a portable generator like the Honda 6500...no GFIs!

What makes you think that the power comming out of the generator is any safer than the power coming from your house?

I've been waiting for the first 'I aint using GFCI' post. You win!

-->Some people still don't get it

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...no GFIs!

Them's fighten words around here.

The information in this thread was specifically intended to point out the importance of GFCIs. They save lives, period.

Edit:

I see you're new to PlanetChristmas. That must be why Mike took it easy on you ;)

Edited by rwertz
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Most likely the problem isn't with your lights themselves but rather with either your GFCI's being weak or the fact that you need to redistribute your loads among several GFCI's since it could be nothing more than the total leakage of all the devices exceeds the trip current of the GFCI. In either case DO NOT ever remove your GFCI protection, someones life is not worth it.

Tony

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I have always wrapped all my connections with Walmart bags and duct tape. I only tripped a GFCI once in 5 years of doing this, and it turns out that a bag and tape had a hole in it. (Although it took me 3 hours to figure out which one.)

This year, I decided to give it a whirl without the bags. I tested my lights a couple of days ago in the rain and they worked fine. But the next day AFTER THE RAIN I tripped two GFCIs.

I'm wondering if I made the right decision. I guess time will tell.

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Hi All,

One more reason for installing GFCIs on these exterior outlets is simply "it is required by the National Electric Code". Check out this link:

http://www.checkthishouse.com/gfci-locations-in-residential-buildings-based-on-2008-nec.html

Pay particular attention to what it says on item #3 in the left-hand column: 3. All exterior receptacles except for deicing equipment .

I know moisture can cause leakage currents to ground and trip them. But kids getting too curious can also cause leakage currents and let's hope there is a GFCI in place to protect them. Just imagine the consequences if there is not! :eek:

Dennis

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What is the difference between GFI and GFCI receptacles?

Where can they be purchased besides Home Depot or Lowes or some store like that?

I have them for my outdoor outlets--but my house was built when they were not required.

I would like to put them elsewhere in the house also.

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What is the difference between GFI and GFCI receptacles?

Where can they be purchased besides Home Depot or Lowes or some store like that?

I have them for my outdoor outlets--but my house was built when they were not required.

I would like to put them elsewhere in the house also.

I think you mean between GFCI breakers and GFCI Outlets.

The answer to that, other than one is an outlet and the other is a breaker, is nothing.

Both will do the exact same thing. Receptacles are generally easier and safer to install (and cheaper). If you want to protect downstream outlets, you have to hook them up properly (the GFCI outlet will have 2 sets of screws: 1 for the 'Line' side: that's power coming TO this outlet, and another set for the 'Load' side: that's power going down stream to other outlets). GFCI breakers automagically protect everything on that circuit.

Home Improvement stores are a great place to get them, and the are more likely to have the 'new' GFCI version (which I believe has a 'it's working correctly' light, and won't energize if wired backwards). You may also find older style ones cheaper at places like Harbor Freight. Electrical supply houses will also have them, but they usually have MUCH higher prices.

If you house does NOT have them, at a minimum I would immediately get my kitchen and bath outlets protected (but not things like your fridge or range).

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What is the difference between GFI and GFCI receptacles?

Where can they be purchased besides Home Depot or Lowes or some store like that?

I have them for my outdoor outlets--but my house was built when they were not required.

I would like to put them elsewhere in the house also.

I've always used the terms interchangeably, Ground Fault Interrupter vs. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.

I only found one search result that stated a difference. That person indicated that a GFCI was mounted in the breaker box and a GFI was installed as an outlet.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest csx5861

After far too many trips of the CB (circuit breaker) that controls the outdoor outlet(s), 1 in front, 1 in back, I opted to put in a CGFI outlet (only requires one to protect BOTH outlets), so I did, and then to my horror I found the idiot electrician that built the house (original outlet and wiring had never been changed since the home was built in 1977!)m anyway, I had installed the GFI, one that has the feature that shows(lights up) if the wiring is installed incorrectly and also when the GFI is tripped. Had shut all power down, turned off the CB, installed the GFI exactly the same way the wiring came off the original outlet, got everything back together and turned the power back on and wah-la, oh wait, GFI incorrect wiring indicator light came on to say it was installed (wired) incorrectly... WTH? So turned all power back off, double checked the wiring (I had written everything down and even taken digital photo's of the wiring/outlet before removal, everything was okay, everything looked as it should(I had COLORED each wire with a different color marker so I knew where they came off and went back to by my diagrams and photos), so back to turning power back on, nope, still says wired wrong and IT WAS, the original electrician had two of the 3 wires reversed. And they had used (this was soooo dumb too) the same color sheathed wires for this outlet, no way to know which was hot, neutral or ground! Got out the trusty multimeter and turned the power back on (and if you aren't familiar with electricity and not an electrician I don't recommend you do this yourself, get a qualified electrician to do it!) and found the HOT and NEUTRAL wires were reversed, turned the power back off and then changed them to where they should be, reinstalled everything and turned the power back on, and now the GFI said it was wired correctly, no incorrect wiring idiot light this time.

Now the GFI trips long before the CB in the garage, however, if you reset the GFI (reset button) and their is still a problem outside somwwhere, it WILL trip the inside CB off. And this is why I'm going to be looking for some "PLUG" covers that are used to blank out outlets inside to keep little kids from putting things in them to plug up all my exposed female connectors because during the long and sometimes hard rains we had in Florida Friday 12/4/09, the GFI tripped, and when I reset it, the CB tripped, telling me water HAS gotten into these plugs (they all point down and are off the ground!) and I traced the problem to the very wet, and very saturated plugs! So instead of electrical tape, which I have used and had no problems with ever in the past, I'm going to try something new, the child protective plastic outlet covers and see if I can put them in all the exposed female connections to prevent this from occuring again.

But I highly recommend anyone that has outside outlets have CGFI's installed, if not for yourself, at least for your family, they DO save lives because they cut the power COMPLETELY from anything plugged into them if something happens to trip them.

Some folks may get upset with this, but those that don't use CGFI outlets, especially outside or anywhere near or around water (bathroom, kitchen) are fools!

BTW:, no I am NOT a certified electrician, but my late father and late grandfather were, so I was taught about all kinds of electrical criteria and I'd rather be SAFE than dead any day, what about you?

Edited by csx5861
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  • 2 weeks later...

Several points to add:

First, when I sold my last house, the buyers home inspector checked every GFI circuit to insure it would trip. I had to replace one recepticle that went bad. Buy a GFI checking tool (several dollars at HD or Lowes) and check your circuits every year.

You don't need to replace every recepticle with a GFI recepticle. Only the first in the series. Often outlets are wired sequentially. If the first one is a properly wired GFI outlet, it will protect all the others. (example: in a kitchen, only one outlet may have the GFI test and reset buttons, but all are protected. Use the GFI test tool in one of the other outlets and it should trip the GFI outlet).

Furthermore, I been trying to find documentation/reason for this, but at work they have a rule against using an extension cord with GFI protection in an outlet that already has GFI protection. Apparently, some undesireable results can occur if this is done.

Lastly, my biggest culprit for tripping GFI's is water getting into spotlights set on the ground. Although they are supposidly waterproof, water will always seep in during a good rain.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter and a Ground Fault Interrupter are exactly the same thing! One is a breaker and the other is an outlet. Receptacles are cheaper and actually better in some ways. But both provide the same protection. A GFI was the first "label" when they originally came out. They were always a ground fault circuit interrupter but for some reason the c was not there on the packages. Over the years, they added the C in there. I know a few electricians and they still call them just plain old GFI. They say it's hard to teach and old dog a new trick!

As far as changing them in your house, I would recommend if you don't do this stuff regularly, to contact a licensed electrician. He will have liability insurance and if he makes a mistake, the worst is he will be responsible for damages. If you do it yourself, who do you blame? If you do something stupid and you cause a fire, it's your fault, your responsibility! And don't say "it won't happen to me"! Those are the words of an idiot! Loose connections mean fires! Don't risk your family or loved ones for a few dollars in savings! They can do this fairly cheep and fast. And the end result will be satisfaction! Electricity is NOT a hobby! Anyone who say's it is, never worked as an electrician. There's a lot of knowledge and training that goes into it!

Now here's the shocker! If you want to get technical, this is a temporary set up! You don't need to plug them into a GFCI! But you also have to find somewhere to plug them into that aren't GFCI protected! Good luck with that! No electrician alive will install an outlet outside without a GFCI protection device in there. If he does, he's crazy and opening himself up to a lawsuit! Also now there are AFCI's in bedrooms! They are still only in breaker form and most likely will remain that way. "Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter's" are different and will not protect you from ground faults! They trip more on a hot and neutral fault! Until AFCI's a hot to neutral short would not necessarily trip out a breaker! We made up demo boards waaaaaaaaay back in vo-tech and as a kid, I found out the hard way! My lead burnt until it burnt off! It was scary really!

ONE LAST THING! If you do not test these devices on a regular basis, (monthly is recommended but you can do it every time you use it) the protection may not be there! A GFCI can still function when they need to be replaced! If the button doesn't pop out, call an electrician!

Anyway, I'm just new in town! An I'm looking to get my feet wet, but not while holding a bad extension cord!!

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  • 1 month later...

I started using the tape after the first year because the GFIs kept triggering. So the problem was there even without the tape.

I'm thinking of switching to a portable generator like the Honda 6500...no GFIs!

Hi , this is the first time saying anything on this site so I'll make it short.

I am a lineman for a power company gfi,s are life safers to not use them indangers yourself and anyone else that is plug in , one of many reasons gfi trip is do to grounding issues check connections also gfi do wear out over the years . when making sure of ground you have to go all the way back to your main panel including the one with the meter because this is were the ground return goes to , this is just a general overview there are

other issues to consider but 7 out of 10 times inadquate ground in what trips gfi's.

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The only info I have to support the use of GFCI's is that my son is still alive.

He was helping plug in the lights for the display and put his fingers on plug hot lead.

I heard the ZAP in one ear, and the GFCI trip out in the other ear. He jumped back and was shocked, but still breathing. That is enough for me. At that time we were on a 50 amp breaker at a campground and it takes a lot to trip those.

I use a GFCI in every one of my controller boxes. It is very helpful at isolating where the problem is when one trips. It has almost always been at the far end of the electrical string and isolated to 1 of 16 channels. I always carry a spare outlet because they do fail often (especially when a box gets flooded under water).

I did have 2-3 days in the last few years that parts of my display were down, but I would rather have that than someone dead.

- Michael

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  • 3 months later...

I am a lineman for a power company gfi,s are life safers to not use them indangers yourself and anyone else that is plug in , one of many reasons gfi trip is do to grounding issues check connections also gfi do wear out over the years . when making sure of ground you have to go all the way back to your main panel including the one with the meter because this is were the ground return goes to , this is just a general overview there are other issues to consider but 7 out of 10 times inadquate ground in what trips gfi's.

GFCIs compare the power going out to the power coming back in. This involved the "hot" and the "neutral". The ground is not involved. A GFCI does not require a ground to work. Also, Christmas lights do not have ground wires. I don't see how an issue of "inadequate ground" could cause a GFCI to trip.

TED

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