Help: de-icer tripping gfi

Discussion in 'Winterizing Your Pond' started by Mark Schlenoff, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. Mark Schlenoff

    Mark Schlenoff

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    We’re afraid we may lose all our fish and frogs. Our 250 gal pond has a K&H 250 watt Perfect Climate Deluxe pond de-icer that is tripping three different gfi receptacles. Ice has formed totally around it and we fear losing all fish & frogs. This is the 2nd de icer that this company has sent us. Results the same. Anyone know of one that really works?
     
    Mark Schlenoff, Jan 1, 2018
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  2. Mark Schlenoff

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    sounds like you're using the deicer on a line that can't handle the extra load. Maybe use an extension cord and plug it into a receptacle that is underused/capable? You'll prob need a heavy duty extension cord, 14 ga minimum.

    Or, you're using a gfci that is rated too low for your use. If the gfci is rated to blow at 10 amps and you're pulling more, well, that's going to happen. A typical receptacle should handle 15 (before the fuse or breaker blows). That said, it is possible your deicer is malfunctioning and pulling more than it should. See if you can check the specs. If it shows less than your gfci cut off, then I'd suspect your deicer is the problem because it shouldn't blow. Also, any moisture around the gfci will also cause it to reset. If you try the extension cord and all is well, suspect the gfci.

    Generally speaking, the deicer is just a heat element. Electricity flows, heat is created, voila, job done. When the deicer doesn't work, there's no heat. So, my bet is if you circumvent the gfci, you'll get the deicer to run properly.


    hmm, just re-read your post; 3 different gfci, huh? Could still be the deicer is drawing too much relative to the cut-off. Try circumventing and see if you lose a house fuse/circuit breaker. If so, definitely the unit(s) aren't compatible. I still think it's the gfci limiting that is fouling up your system, though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
    brokensword, Jan 2, 2018
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  3. Mark Schlenoff

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    btw, I use a cattle trough heater only in emergencies, to create a hole in the ice, and have never had the gfci trip. Nothing fancy to mine, though. And all the above said, consider a pond breather for the future as it will keep the hole open and not use a lot of electricity doing so. Your pond being so small does invite more winter problems and maybe heat is the only way to keep it from icing solid.
     
    brokensword, Jan 2, 2018
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  4. Mark Schlenoff

    MoonShadows The Jam Man

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    A gfi should be on a least a 15 amp circuit, but 20 amps is preferable.
     
    MoonShadows, Jan 2, 2018
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  5. Mark Schlenoff

    bettasngoldfish Maria

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    I have an above ground 220 gallon pond. I am using a 1500 W stock tank heater. It is 11 degrees right now outside (single digits at night) and the water is 49 degrees (was just outside checking it) the pond is also covered with polycarbonate roofing panels.

    In the past I had a de-icer/heater that was tripping the system. It ended up being the heater went bad. Once we replaced it there was no more problems.
     
    bettasngoldfish, Jan 3, 2018
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  6. Mark Schlenoff

    sissy sissy

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    Could be that you pond heater could be defective also and could raise a shock hazard for you and your fish
     
    sissy, Jan 7, 2018
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  7. Mark Schlenoff

    qclabrat

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    Had the same problem, first was an outlet closest to the pond, not GCFI and shared with some basement outlets. Kept on tripping the breaker when the treadmill was used. Then relocated to a GCFI for front accent lights. Worked fine even when the lights came on, but as the weather got colder and the deicer switched on and off more frequently (mine is 1500 watts), it would trip and I needed to go out and reset. Got tired of the daily routine so this weekend, pulled a long extension cord from the garage which are dedicated to power tools and seems to be fine for 3 days. If I need to use tools, I can unplug from a relatively warm garage as needed. 250 watts is not a big draw, is your circuit is not the problem, check the outlet.
     
    qclabrat, Jan 8, 2018
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  8. Mark Schlenoff

    teeemkay

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    I would double-check the GFI outlet to make sure the outlet itself isn't bad. One of ours went bad a couple weeks ago... I thought our de-icer had died, but not so--it worked with an extension cord to the outlet on the wall of the house.
     
    teeemkay, Jan 9, 2018
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  9. Mark Schlenoff

    sissy sissy

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    Check the breaker also because after awhile they go bad .I even had a wire to one of my breakers come loose .Electrician found it and had to pull breaker and put it back on .I have had to do it also .He told me some of the times that happens after thunder storms and power outages cause a surge and loosening the wire .
     
    sissy, Jan 10, 2018
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  10. Mark Schlenoff

    Sparky

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    Ok, I’ll chime in being an electrician. First off, over current does not trip a gfi. It trips a fuse a breaker. Inside a gfi is a little gizmo called a CT or current transformer. It measures the amount of potential difference in current between hot and neutral. If something is leaking to ground (example bad winding in a motor) the difference in potential will grow. The gfi CT sees this and trips at a predetermined mV rating. If you are tripping multiple GFIs then you have an equipment or feeder issue. GFIs are sensitive and do fail but sounds like it’s doing its job to the letter. Check your feeder (supply feeding the equipment and the heater itself. Something somewhere is leaking to ground. Not enough fault current to trip a breaker however. I could go on but I’m a windbag and the day is short.
    Peace, Sparky
     
    Sparky, May 12, 2018
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  11. Mark Schlenoff

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    @Sparky LOL! So, I just made the connection with your name — Sparky = electrician!
     
    Mmathis, May 12, 2018
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  12. Mark Schlenoff

    Sparky

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    Also my Jack Dempsey’s name.
     
    Sparky, May 12, 2018
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