GFCI 2 pole circuit breaker help

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  #1  
Old 02-08-15, 02:35 PM
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GFCI 2 pole circuit breaker help

I have a 220 volt 22 amp heater that I use for a greenhouse. It gets wet when I water and I want to protect it with a GFCI circuit breaker. My current panel is a subpanel on a detached garage. I have a GE Power mark subpanel box that fits plug in circuit breakers. My wire is 10 gauge copper and I currently have a 2 pole 30 amp circuit breaker. I have looked and looked but all I can find are a 20 amp and 50 amp circuit breaker.
I can't use a 20 amp breaker because the heater is 22 amps. I can't use a 50 amp circuit breaker because my wire is too small. Therefore the only appropriate circuit breaker is a 30 amp breaker.
Question #1: Is that statement above true?
I assume it is so I will continue.
I did buy a 30 amp GE GCFI circuit breaker but it is a screw in type.
Question #2: Does a plug-in 30 amp GFCI circuit breaker exist that will fit a GE powermark plug-in style subpanel? If so, where can I get one?
I assume that is does not because I cant find it anywhere on the internet.
I could get the 50 amp breaker and run new thicker wire, but that is too much work.
Therefore I have chosen to install a subpanel solely to house my 30 amp GCFI circuit breaker and as I read about this I had some questions.
Question #3: Can I use the old 30 amp circuit breaker from the original subpanel to power the new subpanel and use 10 gauge wire to supply it if I only run the 22 amp heater off of it? Or do I need a higher amp circuit breaker and wire connecting the two subpanels?
Question #4: Do I bond the new subpanel with a green screw or not?
The original subpanel in the detached garage does not have a green bonding screw nor a grounding rod.
Question #5: Should I bond the original subpanel with a green screw and run a grounding rod or just leave it as it is.
 
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  #2  
Old 02-08-15, 03:07 PM
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Question #3: Can I use the old 30 amp circuit breaker from the original subpanel to power the new subpanel and use 10 gauge wire to supply it if I only run the 22 amp heater off of it?
Yes.

Question #4: Do I bond the new subpanel with a green screw or not?
If you are asking if you bond the neutral bus to the enclosure the answer is no.

Question #5: Should I bond the original subpanel with a green screw and run a grounding rod or just leave it as it is.
No sub-panel should ever have the neutral bus bonded to the enclosure.

Is this greenhouse attached to your main house? If not, then the sub-panels are required to have a ground rod connected with a minimum of #6 copper wire. You can use a smaller wire BUT it would then be required to be in conduit and if metallic conduit the conduit also needs to be bonded to the grounding electrode (rod) conductor. The second sub-panel needs to be bonded to the first.

Also, do you have a four-wire (hot, hot, neutral and equipment ground) feeder from the service (main) panel to the first sub-panel? You also need four conductors from the first sub to the second.
 
  #3  
Old 02-08-15, 03:15 PM
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A 240 volt circuit for the heater is not required to be GFI protected. I don't think you would gain much by adding the GFI protection.
 
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Old 02-08-15, 08:21 PM
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I did buy a 30 amp GE GCFI circuit breaker but it is a screw in type.
That would be a THQB type, a bolt-in breaker. You need a THQL type.

Google is your friend. My first attempt and the very first result I got was a THQL 30A 2P plug-in GFCI breaker that you want.

GE Electrical THQL2130GFP 2-Pole GFCI Circuit Breaker at EssentialHardware.com
 
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Old 02-09-15, 06:50 PM
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The heater is a portable unit that will be located in a wet location. I move it outside when I water and I let the water drain before putting it back inside, but it is still wet. It is too cumbersome to unplug it from the receptacle because of where it is located. I turn down the thermostat so it wont turn on, but it still makes me nervous to hold a 240 volt 22 amp heater while standing in wet grass. With this scenario, do you think I need the GFI protection?
 
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Old 02-09-15, 06:57 PM
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Thank you Casual Joe. I Googled, Binged, Asked, and Yahooed and could not find this circuit breaker. But of course I did not know enough to put in the THQL reference. This sure saves me a lot of time and grief because now I do not have to install a subpanel. However, the subpanel stuff is interesting and I may need to know about it in the future so I will stay up with the forum.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 07:24 PM
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Furd,

Thank you for your responses.
The first subpanel is located in a detached garage that is not attached to the main house. It is about 20 feet away. The greenhouse is attached to the detached garage. I had an electrician install the subpanel and do the wiring. I dug the trench and buried the cable and I do not remember placing a grounding rod at the detached garage. I know the electrician did not place one.
A 4 wire (hot, hot, neutral and ground) comes from the main panel. The ground wire and all the ground wires from the wires in the garage are all connected together and attached to a screw with a washer attached to the subpanel enclosure. In other words, the ground from the main panel and all the grounds for outfeed wires supplying power to the detached garage are all grounded to the subpanel enclosure. The neutral bar on the subpanel is not grounded to anything. If I were to place a second subpanel, I would use a 30 amp circuit breaker in the first subpanel that has 2 hot wires. The neutral wire to the second subpanel would come from the neutral bar of the first subpanel and the ground wire would be attached to all the other ground wires that were grounded to the first subpanel enclosure. Is this correct and would I attach the ground wire going to the second subpanel along with the ground wire going to my heater to the second subpanel enclosure?
 
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Old 02-09-15, 11:37 PM
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The ground wire and all the ground wires from the wires in the garage are all connected together and attached to a screw with a washer attached to the subpanel enclosure.
Electrically this is correct but it would be far better to have an equipment grounding bus bar installed that has screws for each individual conductor.

If I were to place a second subpanel, I would use a 30 amp circuit breaker in the first subpanel that has 2 hot wires. The neutral wire to the second subpanel would come from the neutral bar of the first subpanel and the ground wire would be attached to all the other ground wires that were grounded to the first subpanel enclosure. Is this correct and would I attach the ground wire going to the second subpanel along with the ground wire going to my heater to the second subpanel enclosure?
Again, electrically correct but the equipment grounding bus bar is the correct method. Equipment ground bus bars are readily available from the mega-mart homecenter for a few dollars and fasten to pre-drilled holes in the enclosure with self-tapping screws.

ALL sub-panels in detached buildings require a ground rod as I previously stated. If your greenhouse is attached to the garage then only the panel in the (detached) garage requires the ground rod.
 
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Old 02-10-15, 07:46 AM
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Thank you Casual Joe. I Googled, Binged, Asked, and Yahooed and could not find this circuit breaker. But of course I did not know enough to put in the THQL reference.
You don't have to order from the site I linked to, I know nothing about them. You can order the GFCI breaker from almost anyone who sells GE breakers such as Lowes, Ace or True Value Hardware stores. The best source would be a local electric supply house that handles GE equipment, they might even have one in stock.
 
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