New Treadmill / GFI


Old 05-14-10, 10:31 AM
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New Treadmill / GFI


I recently bought a new treadmill and had an electrician come out to install new outlets near the location where I wanted to use the treadmill - this is in an unfinished basement (cement floor, foam padding in kids area). Note I had run an extension cord from the sump pump outlet for my old treadmill until the treadmill broke, but I thought it would be much better for the new treadmill if I had an outlet close so I could plug it in directly.

The electrician installed the new outlets (2 near each other for kids TV/video game near where I run, off an existing circuit I believe) - and he indicated he was required to install GFIs in an unfinished basement. I responded, sure, whatever is required.

Well, I finally got around to putting the treadmill together, and tried it out last night (you experts know where I'm going with this). The GFI kept tripping (so frustrating!). I did some googling and discovered some treadmills will not work on a GFI. So sure enough, I checked the manual and it says exactly that!

So, where do I go from here? What are my options? I just spent a ton of $$ on the new treadmill and I need to be able to use it.

1. Change out the GFI to a regular outlet and run the risk of injury in water conditions (I do have kids)? I do believe the existing/original outlets are not GFI (one actually in the kids play area)?

2. Run a LONG extension cord from the sump pump outlet again? And if this is my only option, I assume I need a very good quality extension cord?? It will be about 20 feet away. Is this putting undue stress on my new treadmill?

3. Any other option? I saw one person installed a hospital grade GFI??? Is that a possible solution?

Any help/advice you can give would be great!

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Old 05-14-10, 11:12 AM
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What I would do (in my own house) is replace the treadmill GFCI with a standard simplex receptacle so that only the treadmill may be plugged in to the non-GFCI protected receptacle. As for your electrician, his hands are tied by the 2008 code as there is unfortunately no exception for GFCI in an unfinished basement.

Feel free to re-use the GFCI receptacle to protect the receptacles in the kids' play area. If your kids are young, you may also want to use tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles which prevent small objects from being inserted in the slots.

The extension cord option could cause damage to the treadmill motor.

"Hospital-grade" receptacles usually only refer to the physical construction and durability of the receptacle, not the actual level of protection provided by the GFCI circuitry. I do not think it would make a difference unless it happened to be a quirk based on different manufacturing.

Another option you could try is a different brand of GFCI receptacle. I usually have good luck with Cooper brand.
Old 05-14-10, 11:46 AM
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In line with ibpooks' solution, if you do replace the receptacle you could look into replacing it with a twistlock setup. The inspector is more likely to allow you to vary from the code if you take some precaution to prevent utilization by other equipment at a later date. A twistlock cord end and receptacle would make the dedicated outlet an easier sell, IMO.
Old 05-14-10, 12:26 PM
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Thanks for the replies!

The other new outlet coming off the GFI one (which has the treadmill), is specifically for the kids TV/games. So perhaps what I can do is swap those 2 outlets (since I still want theirs to be GFI protected). And I like the ideas of doing what I can to ensure they cannot get access to that outlet - so I will change to a single plug and somehow protect it further, whether the twistlock idea or maybe some kind of covered/locked/childproof outlet???? I do have a big wheeled TV that I can put right in front of it to also help ensure they cannot get access to it.

I also need to look into replacing the other one in their play area to a GFI outlet.

You learn something new every day!!

Old 05-14-10, 01:32 PM
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I agree with ibpooks. Had one do the same thing and I replaced it with a Cooper brand GFCI and didn't have any problems after that.

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