Info on GFCI

Originally Posted By: loconnor
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During some reading tonight, I came across this information regarding GFCI’s


Appliances that could be damaged or cause unreasonable inconvenience if power is lost, should not be plugged into GFCI outlets.

GFCI's don't do well on circuits for motor driven appliances because they can become damaged by motor surges. Computers, security systems, and appliances like refrigerators, and freezers should not be plugged into GFCI outlets.

I was not aware of this.

Would you, as an inspector, put this into your report to your client?
Reasons?


--
Larry
Western Michigan NACHI Chapter
http://www.w-michigan-nachi.org

"We confide in our strength
without boasting of it.
We respect that of others
without fearing it"
Thomas Jefferson

Originally Posted By: bbadger
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Larry I am short on time right now but in my opinion you have been fed a line of BS.


Motors.

Some pool pumps are required to run on GFCIs and they work fine.

I work large construction all our tools run from GFCIs

Computers

They will run on a GFCI but most times are not in a location where one is required.

Security Systems

They will work on a GFCI but there is an exception so you don't have to use one for a security system in a basement.


Refrigerators, and freezers

The NEC handbook explains it is actually the electric defrost elements in older models (very old) that used to cause tripping

As of 2002 the NEC required all commercial kitchen 15 and 20 amp 120 volt outlets to be GFCI there are no exceptions.

Refrigerators, freezers, computer systems whatever must run from a GFCI in those kitchens.

I know you HIs are mostly in dwelling units, my point is the NEC believes and so do I that these loads can run from a GFCI.

The NEC does not make many exceptions for GFCIs.

Ask some questions, I will get back to this when I have more time.

Bob


--
Bob Badger
Electrical Construction & Maintenance
Moderator at ECN

Originally Posted By: phinsperger
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GFCI in bathrooms - hairdryers, electric rasors, etc.


GFCI in Kitchen counter tops - Blenders, food processors, mixers, etc.

GFCI in exterior outlets - electric lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, weed eaters, etc.

That's a lot of motors. If there were a propblem with GFCI's and motors I think it would be common knowlegde by now.


--
.


Paul Hinsperger
Hinsperger Inspection Services
Chairman - NACHI Awards Committee
Place your Award Nominations
here !

Originally Posted By: loconnor
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Thank you Bob & Paul


This was the first I had heard of this before. I wasn;t sure whether to believe it, since I never heard or read any posts regarding this.


--
Larry
Western Michigan NACHI Chapter
http://www.w-michigan-nachi.org

"We confide in our strength
without boasting of it.
We respect that of others
without fearing it"
Thomas Jefferson

Originally Posted By: jpope
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loconnor wrote:
Appliances that could be damaged or cause unreasonable inconvenience if power is lost, should not be plugged into GFCI outlets.


I don't know of any appliances that can be "damaged" by power loss, so I'll leave that one alone.

"Unreasonable inconvenience" would be like your digital clocks, answering machines, televisions, stereo systems, etc. - things with memory that will require resetting each time a circuit is tripped.

loconnor wrote:
Computers, security systems. . .


Computers should not be plugged into GFCI's but rather, surge protectors. We don't want an inadvertent shut down while typing reports ![icon_wink.gif](upload://ssT9V5t45yjlgXqiFRXL04eXtqw.gif)

Security systems need continuous power to be effective. If the GFCI trips without you knowing, the security system becomes obsolete.


loconnor wrote:
. . . and appliances like refrigerators, and freezers should not be plugged into GFCI outlets.


I would hate to come home on a hot day to find my refrigerator and freezer thawed out

Standards have been implemented with these concerns in mind. GFCI placement requirements work around most of these scenarios except for, possibly, the deep freeze in the garage.


--
Jeff Pope
JPI Home Inspection Service
"At JPI, we'll help you look better"
(661) 212-0738

Originally Posted By: kmcmahon
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Jeff hit it on the head. If I see a fridge or freezer in a garage or basement plugged into a GFCI, I recommend a dedicated circuit. same with a security system. Doesn’t do much good if there’s no power to it!



Wisconsin Home Inspection, ABC Home Inspection LLC


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Originally Posted By: loconnor
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I should elaborate on my concerns regarding the wording.


To put the above disclaimer in a report would lead a client to be somewhat confused. I'm suggesting that they install GFCI's in basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and exterior outlets. But then I add the disclaimer I quoted above. So I guess I should leave that disclaimer out of my report.

Next, this part of the disclaimer gives a REASON why not to use a GFCI for them...."GFCI's don't do well on circuits for motor driven appliances because they can become damaged by motor surges. " However, as mentioned above, moter operated appliances such as blenders, hair dryers, etc. have always been used in these GFCI circuits.

What bothers me most of all is that this information is from an HI training manual. PLEASE don't ask which one. I am addressing this with them now.

Thank you all for your valuable feedback.


--
Larry
Western Michigan NACHI Chapter
http://www.w-michigan-nachi.org

"We confide in our strength
without boasting of it.
We respect that of others
without fearing it"
Thomas Jefferson

Originally Posted By: bbadger
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Jeff I only picked your post to quote as you touched on many issues. icon_cool.gif


jpope wrote:
"Unreasonable inconvenience" would be like your digital clocks, answering machines, televisions, stereo systems, etc. - things with memory that will require resetting each time a circuit is tripped.


Unreasonable inconvenience?

Where does that come from? Certainly not the NEC, they do not care if you are inconvenienced.

An unreasonable inconvenience is going to the hospital with electrical burns or getting embalmed.

Quote:
Computers should not be plugged into GFCI's but rather, surge protectors. We don't want an inadvertent shut down while typing reports


I would say they should be plugged into a UPS as mine is.

If you place your PC on a kitchen counter it is required to be on a GFCI

Quote:
Security systems need continuous power to be effective. If the GFCI trips without you knowing, the security system becomes obsolete.


True, however security systems are unlikely to trip a GFCI.

It is interesting to note that smoke detectors in bedrooms are required to be AFCI protected by the NEC. AFCIs have GFCI protection.


Quote:
loconnor wrote:
. . . and appliances like refrigerators, and freezers should not be plugged into GFCI outlets.


I would hate to come home on a hot day to find my refrigerator and freezer thawed out


The NEC does not care in the least if you die from food poisoning from spoiled products.

All they care is electricity does not kill you. Defective refrigerators have killed people.

Quote:
Standards have been implemented with these concerns in mind. GFCI placement requirements work around most of these scenarios except for, possibly, the deep freeze in the garage.


Or all the equipment in a commercial kitchen, or the refrigerators at the county fair that must be GFCI protected.

kmcmahon wrote:
If I see a fridge or freezer in a garage or basement plugged into a GFCI, I recommend a dedicated circuit. same with a security system


A dedicated circuit does not circumvent GFCI requirements.

The best way to prevent 'false' tripping is the use of individual GFCI outlets at the point of use.

When you have long cable lengths and multiple appliances running from one GFCI receptacle or breaker you are asking for trouble.

Every appliance has leakage current, when all connected to one GFCI the total leakage current can cause 'false' trips.

It really bothers me that this info still circulates, most times when asked people will say no GFCIs have not tripped for me but I was told....

Please explain the magic in a 4 amp refrigerator that trips GFCIs, when a 15 amp chop saw on a construction site started 50 times a day does not trip a GFCI?

Regardless of what we think rest assured the NEC will keep adding more GFCI requirements. ![icon_cool.gif](upload://oPnLkqdJc33Dyf2uA3TQwRkfhwd.gif)

Why?

They save lives and do not in themselves cause inconvenience. ![icon_cool.gif](upload://oPnLkqdJc33Dyf2uA3TQwRkfhwd.gif)

Bob


--
Bob Badger
Electrical Construction & Maintenance
Moderator at ECN

Originally Posted By: jpope
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bbadger wrote:
Jeff I only picked your post to quote as you touched on many issues. ![icon_cool.gif](upload://oPnLkqdJc33Dyf2uA3TQwRkfhwd.gif)


Jeeze Bob, I thought you wuz my friend


--
Jeff Pope
JPI Home Inspection Service
"At JPI, we'll help you look better"
(661) 212-0738

Originally Posted By: kmcmahon
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Bob, it’s happened to me and others. In a home I was renting there was a new freezer in the garage. About a week went by before I went to get something and it was off and stanky!! GFCI had tripped for reasons unknown. If it were plugged into a dedicated outlet, this wouldn’t have happened more than likely (unless a breaker were to trip).



Wisconsin Home Inspection, ABC Home Inspection LLC


Search the directory for a Wisconsin Home Inspector

Originally Posted By: wwarner
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Speaking of GFCI’s,


What is the proper wiring for GFCI sub panels (i.e. at a spa or hot tub)?

Neutral and ground bonded?
Separate ground?
Grounds bonded?
Neutrals bonded?

Just trying to clear up some confusion...


--
Bill

It's only Rock 'n Roll.... but I like it!

Originally Posted By: Greg Fretwell
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wwarner wrote:
Speaking of GFCI's,

What is the proper wiring for GFCI sub panels (i.e. at a spa or hot tub)?

Neutral and ground bonded?
Separate ground?
Grounds bonded?
Neutrals bonded?

Just trying to clear up some confusion...


This is still a sub panel so you bond the equipment grounding bus. The neutral bus is isolated from the ground.
The 8 ga solid spa equipotential grid (deck steel, handrail, light niche, equipment and steel in the spa shell if present) is not directly bonded to the service grounding bus but it is still connected via the equipment grounding of the pump, blower and light which are part of the bonding grid.
IMHO a distinction without a difference but still a distinction made in the NEC.


Originally Posted By: rcooke
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Some electric motors can cause a GFI to dump. There is more the one sensitivity GFI’s . I do not have the information but do remember that some for Induction motors should be on the less sensitive one . I would suggest the ones used on construction are the stronger or less sensitive type. There are now a new type of GFI’s out now cost a little more and have the picture of a lock on the bottom left. These are so you can not put one in with a false grnd or bootleg grnd on them .


I have know more then one inspector who has had replace the food in a freezer because they dumped the GFI. I also know of an inspector who had a flood when the GFI tripped while he was away.


Roy Cooke sr Brighton ont.


Originally Posted By: jpeck
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Class A GFCIs are for personnel protection and are supposed to trip at 4 ma to 6 ma.


Class B GFCIs are for equipment protection and are supposed to trip at 20 ma.


--
Jerry Peck
South Florida

Originally Posted By: bbadger
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rcooke wrote:
I would suggest the ones used on construction are the stronger or less sensitive type.


No, we have to use Class A GFCIs with a 5 ma trip. ![icon_cool.gif](upload://oPnLkqdJc33Dyf2uA3TQwRkfhwd.gif)


rcooke wrote:
I have know more then one inspector who has had replace the food in a freezer because they dumped the GFI. I also know of an inspector who had a flood when the GFI tripped while he was away.
Roy Cooke sr Brighton ont.


Interesting, my sump pump has been on a GFCI for a couple of years now, it runs often.

When the GFCI trips I will replace the pump. ![icon_cool.gif](upload://oPnLkqdJc33Dyf2uA3TQwRkfhwd.gif)

Boy... we will all be eating spoiled food considering all new restaurants wll have GFCI protected refrigerators, at least the ones that plug in.


--
Bob Badger
Electrical Construction & Maintenance
Moderator at ECN

Originally Posted By: rcooke
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Interesting, my sump pump has been on a GFCI for a couple of years now, it runs often.


When the GFCI trips I will replace the pump. ![icon_cool.gif](upload://oPnLkqdJc33Dyf2uA3TQwRkfhwd.gif)

I hope it does not happen when you are away for a long week end and we have a lot of rain . I am just going through that . 10 houses on my street . None ever had any sign of water in 18 years . Big rain 7 homes
( mine included ) got water in the basement $30,000.00 later just getting it back in shape . I now have a sump pump ( no GFI) and just bought a water powered pump back up in case of electric pump failure.
Roy Cooke sr


Originally Posted By: Greg Fretwell
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I have to go with Bob on this one. If your pump or your fridge are trippingf the GFCI they have a short to ground inside. The only reason you are not getting shocked is the equipment ground is shunting it away. If that fails it could be a shocking experience for the next person to grab the fridge handle or touch the pump case.


Bear in mind a 5ma leak trips the GFCI, if that leak gets up to ~10-15ma without protection you are approaching “freezing current” where your muscles lock up and you can’t let go of that hot door handle. Tough way to die.


Originally Posted By: rcooke
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[ I have to go with Bob on this one. If your pump or your fridge are trippingf the GFCI they have a short to ground inside. The only reason you are not getting shocked is the equipment ground is shunting it away. If that fails it could be a shocking experience for the next person to grab the fridge handle or touch the pump case.


Bear in mind a 5ma leak trips the GFCI, if that leak gets up to ~10-15ma without protection you are approaching “freezing current” where your muscles lock up and you can’t let go of that hot door handle. Tough way to die.[/quote]



Wrong ! Electricity is strange. Unless you have taken a lot of courses and done much studying . There are so many things that can and do happen you can get galloping voltage that does many strange thing you can get into back feeding EMF's that can dump a GFI. I still like the idea no GFI on Sump pumps and freezers. My Opinion .
Been a Sparky for a Looong time and seen many strange things.
Roy Cooke sr Brighton


Originally Posted By: jpeck
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rcooke wrote:
Wrong ! Electricity is strange. Unless you have taken a lot of courses and done much studying . There are so many things that can and do happen you can get galloping voltage that does many strange thing you can get into back feeding EMF's that can dump a GFI. I still like the idea no GFI on Sump pumps and freezers. My Opinion .
Been a Sparky for a Looong time and seen many strange things.
Roy Cooke sr Brighton


And I, for one, would NOT want to be grabbing hold of that freezer handle just as any of those things happened.

If the GFCI goes, it means there is 5 ma or more 'unbalanced' current between the grounded conductor and the ungrounded conductor, and the only way that will happen is for the 'unbalanced' current to be going through ground, or a person or thing making that ground contact.

One place it is NOT going to go and that is out into thin air, which is the only other choice. Lightning does that, but you can definitely tell the difference between lightning and a 5 ma ground fault. ![icon_lol.gif](upload://zEgbBCXRskkCTwEux7Bi20ZySza.gif)

Roy, something I have to use on all too many occasions, when the electrician says 'I don't care WHAT you say, I'VE BEEN DOING IT THIS WAY for 30 years' Me 'You have? You mean you are admitting you've been doing it wrong the last 27 years? Don't forget, the codes get revised every three years.'

Now, admittedly, THAT one thing may not have been changed during the next code cycle, but there is no denying that the code DOES get revised every three years, and NOT keeping up IS NOT an excuse for continuing to do it wrong.


--
Jerry Peck
South Florida

Originally Posted By: rcooke
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rcooke wrote:
Wrong ! Electricity is strange. Unless you have taken a lot of courses and done much studying . There are so many things that can and do happen you can get galloping voltage that does many strange thing you can get into back feeding EMF’s that can dump a GFI. I still like the idea no GFI on Sump pumps and freezers. My Opinion .


And I, for one, would NOT want to be grabbing hold of that freezer handle just as any of those things happened.

If the GFCI goes, it means there is 5 ma or more 'unbalanced' current between the grounded conductor and the ungrounded conductor, and the only way that will happen is for the 'unbalanced' current to be going through ground, or a person or thing making that ground contact.

One place it is NOT going to go and that is out into thin air, which is the only other choice. Lightning does that, but you can definitely tell the difference between lightning and a 5 ma ground fault. ![icon_lol.gif](upload://zEgbBCXRskkCTwEux7Bi20ZySza.gif)

Roy, something I have to use on all too many occasions, when the electrician says 'I don't care WHAT you say, I'VE BEEN DOING IT THIS WAY for 30 years' Me 'You have? You mean you are admitting you've been doing it wrong the last 27 years? Don't forget, the codes get revised every three years.'

Now, admittedly, THAT one thing may not have been changed during the next code cycle, but there is no denying that the code DOES get revised every three years, and NOT keeping up IS NOT an excuse for continuing to do it wrong.

___________________________________________________________
Please tell me what I have been doing wrong.
Where in the code does it say I must use a GFCI on sump pumps . I have a three wire feed to my pump. Are all the circuits in your home GFCI protected . The way you talk all homes should have GFCI protecting all circuits or am I reading it wrong . I only stated that in some cases I do think it could be better to not have GFCI . You talk about grabbing the freezer handle . How about a three wire cord if it is properly grounded then why would you need a GFCI.
I come from a family of Sparkys My son and two brothers are both electricians . We have great discussions on CODE and many silly things we see.
I read from many home inspectors that have no idea about electricity . That is where this forum does a big service to all they get a chance to hear what others think . I also do not do code inspections ,If I did then there is no way I could know all the different codes .
Roy Cooke sr.