To GFCI or Not GFCI

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Old 10-15-16, 02:36 PM
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To GFCI or Not GFCI

35 years ago, electricity was run to an 80 acre piece of property. A creosote post was setup and a breaker box with 200 amp service was installed.

There are circuits for a water heater in the bathhouse (plus the lights there) and for the pump motor for the well. Additionally, there are five more circuits that are connected to allegedly waterproof outlets also fastened to the post.

The circuits and outlets are all present so that when people come camping (and we've had as many as 60), they can plug in their lights, electric blankets, and sometimes their space heaters.

This power setup gets used 3 or 4 times a year, max. Between times, power is cut at the main breaker on the panel.

The folks who camp run long extension cords... sometimes plugging a couple of them together if they are camped far away from the electrical post. For example, I run a 100 foot and a 50 foot 12/3 externsion cord to my tent away from the noise of the camp.

I'm cleaning this whole mess up. Thorough cleaning of the interior of the panel, replacement of at least a couple of the breakers, addition of three more circuits, better sealing of the panel box to keep out forest insects. I am also going to replace all the weatherproof outlets with new everything, including wiring.

I cannot decide whether to go with GFCI outlets or standard. Here is why. It has rained when we are camping. Connected extension cords have become wet lying on the ground. I don't know if the GFCI would kick off with a damp extension cord connection or not. All I do know is that over 35 years we've never had an electrical incident.

If things get damp and the GFCI trips, that's going to make for some unhappy campers, no pun intended. And although I see GFCI as being potentially useful, if it won't work in this environment, then standard outlets make more sense.

Thoughts on the use of GFCI would be appreciated.

Cheers.
 
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Old 10-15-16, 02:43 PM
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Whoever owns that property or campground is liable for the patrons safety. I'd hate to see an incident in your 36th year.

I'd highly recommend GFI receptacles and plastic bags to cover the extension cord caps.
 
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Old 10-15-16, 03:48 PM
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Yes, a GFCI will trip if things get wet. However, it only takes one incident for things to go south. How many unhappy campers would you have if somebody died because somebody was in there bare feet messing around with the cords in the wet grass?

I would suggest running some separate circuits to 4x4 posts with GFCI receptacles distributed around the campground to reduce the use of very long extension cords. Set them so that they will be within 100' of the campers. The GFCI's should have in-use covers to prevent them getting wet even when a cord in plugged in.
 
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Old 10-15-16, 08:08 PM
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Gfi protection is pretty much universal for all 15 and 20 amp 120 volt receptacles installed outside by the NEC.
 
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Old 10-16-16, 04:39 AM
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I would suggest running some separate circuits to 4x4 posts with GFCI receptacles distributed around the campground
That was my thought also!
 
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Old 10-16-16, 11:59 AM
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Pjmax - I'd be happy to update personal info, but I must be blind... link to profile I cannot find.
 
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Old 10-16-16, 12:04 PM
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I would suggest running some separate circuits to 4x4 posts with GFCI receptacles distributed around the campground to reduce the use of very long extension cords.
I have thought about doing this for quite a few years. The cost for conduit and cabling could be handled but it is the trenching that is a major pain... this is a heavily forested area and tree roots are a pain.

Still, this is the best way. I was 32 when electricity first arrived so you would guess correctly that I'm one of the older folk out there. And, this would be a good project for the newer generations of our families that come out every year.

Thanks as well for the insights... GFCI it is.
 
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Old 10-16-16, 12:05 PM
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