Pond Heater Shorting Out?? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 11-16-2010, 12:38 PM   #1
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Pond heater shorting out??

I have a pond heater, it looks to be a fairly simple design where the wires go into a plastic housing, then to a heating element.

A few years ago, I was at a different house with a different pond setup and not long before I sold the house, I would get a small shock, when I touched the rocks around pond and water, primarily on days when moisture was present on ground. It took some trial and error, but finally tracked it down to only happening when the heater was plugged in. Thought maybe it was where it was plugged in and that maybe the plug was getting moisture, since no GFI was present.

Move forward and I tried the heater once again last year at my current house. New pond setup and this time I have a GFCI circuit just for the pond. When I placed the heater into the pond and turned on the circuit, the GFCI tripped.

This tells me something isn't right, but I can't find a flaw anywhere on the cord. I have kept the heater so far, just to try to figure this out, but I'm not planning on using it. I just don't want to buy another $60-$100 heater if it's a design flaw in all of them as they are all built the same basic way. I am the type of person that wants to know what went wrong before buying another heater....

Any suggestions??

FWI.... none of the fish seem to be effected by the voltage that must be present, why is that? Are they somehow insulated being in the water?
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:52 PM   #2
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The plastic probably has some cracks in it letting in moisture. The cracks could so fine that you can't see them. Toss the heater out and buy a new one. Maybe try a different brand.
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Old 11-16-2010, 02:40 PM   #3
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the heating element is probably defective and leaking current into the water. The GFCI is tripping because it senses that the current going to the heater on the hot is different than what is coming back on the neutral (by more than 5 milliamps). Cut the cord off of that thing, throw it away and get a new one.
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