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Old 01-07-2010, 10:26 PM   #1
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GFCI Problems


I have a pond in my Wisconsin backyard. I had a special electrical outlet put in for it. In the winter time I run a heater and aereator. I had no problems until our first snow. Then the GFCI would trip. I can run the aereator on that outlet but the heater trips it. I plugged the heater into a different outside outlet but it did the same thing. This is a new heater specifically for ponds. I purchase another heater and it does the same thing. I replaced the extension cord, same problem. I have made sure there is no water in the connections and have a covered connector over them. Would a better contractors cord possibly help or some type of surge unit? I'm at a loss and my fish can't survive much longer. Trudyjk

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Old 01-07-2010, 10:36 PM   #2
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Please do not make duplicate threads across the forums. I removed your other one.

Thank you.

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Old 01-07-2010, 10:55 PM   #3
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The key issue is the heater sound like you have moisture got in somewhere it should not be in.

Second thing is how far is the receaptle is from the pond is ?

Some case if too far it can cause a tripping issue with distance and many GFCI are only good for so many feet after that they get really funky.

Merci,Marc
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:39 AM   #4
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What size is the circuit to the outlet?
What kind of heater is it?
Plus Marc's questions!
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
The key issue is the heater sound like you have moisture got in somewhere it should not be in.

Second thing is how far is the receaptle is from the pond is ?

Some case if too far it can cause a tripping issue with distance and many GFCI are only good for so many feet after that they get really funky.

Merci,Marc
The recepticle is 6 feet away. The heater is for ponds, so it is in water, pretty much checked to make sur the connection was dry.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:24 AM   #6
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Looking at the circut board there is a 20 on the switch. Don't know really how to tell where do I look? the Heater is made for ponds and recepticle is about 6 ft away. Thanks
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:06 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by trudyjk View Post
1 the GFCI would trip.
2 I can run the aereator on that outlet but the heater trips it.
3 I plugged the heater into a different outside outlet but it did the same thing.
4 I purchase another heater and it does the same thing.
5 I replaced the extension cord, same problem. I have made sure there is no water in the connections and have a covered connector over them.
1 leakage current in the heater or other problems
2 see #1
3 see #1, I assume the other outlet is served by the same GFCI.
4 so it's very likely not the heaters but post links to the heater and aerator.
5 I assume the heater has a grounded plug. It does now sound like a defective GFCI or a defective cable inside the wall downstream of the GFCI.

A default fix would be to replace the GFCI. More likely than not that is the problem but you gamble the $15 for a new GFCI.

If you have a voltmeter and a 7-1/2w incand. lamp you can do further testing.
Post back.

Meantime you may be able to run the heater with an extension cord from an inside GFCI outlet. The cord should be rated for outdoor use. Some cords come with a built-in GFCI.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 01-08-2010 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:39 AM   #8
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What hapens if you plug the heater directly into the receptacle and not using an extension cord?
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:05 PM   #9
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unfortunatly the cord isn't long enough.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:34 PM   #10
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You have a fault in the heater or the cord. The first test would be to plug the heater direct in a receptacle. That should test the cord.

Or maybe plug the pump into the cord and see if it trips the GFCI. That should also test the cord.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:41 PM   #11
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Its most likely a restive heater which are bad about the inside element touching the sides of the outer part when they get older and they will trip a GFCI every time.

I know this from food warmers in kitchens where they use a similar element. It will drive you crazy.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:05 PM   #12
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IMHO, the chance of two consecutive heaters being bad is probably less than 1 chance in 10,000.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:17 PM   #13
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Could be the quality of the heaters. Ididnt read he had tried two heaters.And he also said he tried another outlet also.Their is also another issue since he said about the snow, if the outlets are the older ones the moisture could be destorying the GFCI's making them more suceptable to tripping. Try getting one of the new Weather resistant GFCI's the circuitry is encapsulated to protect aganist moisture.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
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the circuitry is encapsulated to protect aganist moisture.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformal_coating
?
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
?
Could be dont know. I was at a counter day with tech reps at a local supply house not long ago. The tech rep form one of the major receptacle MFG's showed me a cut away of their product. It was about an 1/8" thick.

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