Swamp Cooler and GFCI ?

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  #1  
Old 02-01-02, 02:07 PM
Debbie Ann
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Question Swamp Cooler and GFCI ?

Does anyone know if it is a good idea to install a GFCI receptacle for a swamp cooler on the roof? There is a receptacle on the roof that the cooler is plugged into. I asked to have it changed out to a GFCI and I was told it didn't matter. The cooler is on it's own 20 amp. breaker. My thoughts were...water is very close to receptacle so a GFCI would be better. What do you think? Thanks for any help.
 
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  #2  
Old 02-01-02, 02:48 PM
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Is there a possibilty the circuit is supplied by a GFI Breaker? If it is then it doesn't require a GFI receptacle. If the equipment requires dedicated branch circuit and is not readily accessible GFI's might required. Coolers have compressor units in them and might not respond well with a GFI The very action of their starting might trip the GFI, a good idea is to check with the manufacturer if your nervous of the situation and see if it is recommended to have that protection or not.
 
  #3  
Old 02-01-02, 02:51 PM
toucansam
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A GFCI is primarily for the protection of people. If the Swamp Cooler is in a location where it is impossible for a person to touch it, a GFCI is probably overkill. On the other hand, some local codes require that all outside recepticals or electrical equiptment be GFCI.

Gard: This is a Swamp Cooler question and they work of off evaporation and have no compressors.
 
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Old 02-01-02, 04:01 PM
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Sorry I thought it was another type of cooler
 
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Old 02-01-02, 07:58 PM
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Logically, I can't see where a GFCI would really be necessary on a roof, for the reasons already stated. However, I can't find any exceptions in the code that would allow you to not put a GFCI protection on that receptacle. But as already has been noted, GFCI protection does not require that the receptacle on the roof be a GFCI receptacle.
 
  #6  
Old 02-02-02, 09:17 AM
Debbie Ann
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Thank you so much for the advise.
Years ago, my husband was getting ready to repair a swamp cooler at a business. He touched the cooler at the same time that he touched the (copper?) water line. He disconnected the water line and was instantly severly shocked. He couldn't let go of the cooler and water line. Thank God, my son was there and realized what happened, knocked him loose. My husband could not make any noise when he was being shocked.
My thinking is: if the cooler was connected to a GFCI receptacle, he would have not gotten shocked. It would have tripped instantly.
Am I right about this....GFCI would have protected him?
 
  #7  
Old 02-02-02, 09:33 AM
toucansam
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Rule #1 when working on a piece of electrical equiptment (especially one that is having problems or you are not familiar with) is REMOVE ELECTRICAL POWER. If working with the power on is unavoidable, a simple meter reading from case to ground would have identified the hazard.
 
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Old 02-02-02, 09:42 AM
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Debbie Ann, you are correct that a GFCI would have prevented the incident. As long as you plan to keep the husband you have, I suggest installing GFCI protection immediately (if it's not already protected -- check it first with a circuit tester).
 
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Old 02-02-02, 09:51 AM
Debbie Ann
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Talking

Oh John.....you are so funny..... The husband is gone...LOL LOL Divorce..... maybe I'll find one that is more careful ha ha ha...Debbie
Anyone living in central California and single?? :-)~~
 

Last edited by Debbie Ann; 02-02-02 at 10:09 AM.
  #10  
Old 02-02-02, 10:34 AM
toucansam
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I use to live there near Monterey. Guess you missed you chance. LOL (married anyhow)
 
  #11  
Old 02-03-02, 09:01 AM
Wgoodrich
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I suspect you will find that GFI protection is required on any receptacle on a roof top in nondwelling setting such as commercial buildings. Try the following Code copied section.


210.8
(B) Other Than Dwelling Units. All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in (1), (2), and (3) shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel:
(2) Rooftops
Exception: Receptacles that are not readily accessible and are supplied from a dedicated branch circuit for electric snow-melting or deicing equipment shall be permitted to be installed in accordance with the applicable provisions of Article 426.


Hope this helps

Wg
 
  #12  
Old 02-03-02, 01:24 PM
Debbie Ann
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Thank you Wg.
My orginal question was for my home. Being as the ex is an ex, I won't be around any other buildings. I appreciate your help.
Debbie :-)~~
 
  #13  
Old 02-03-02, 02:12 PM
Wgoodrich
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Sorry I picked up you referring to commercial settings. Concerning dwelling the previous replies are correct, No GFI protection requied unless readily accessible when outside.

Wg
 
  #14  
Old 02-03-02, 02:24 PM
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Slow down, Wg.

According to article 210.8(A)(3), all outdoor receptacles must be GFCI protected. The only residential exception is for "receptacles that are not readily acceptible and are supplied by a dedicated branch circuit for electric snow-melting or deicing equipment."

Last time I checked, a swamp cooler provided no snow-melting or deicing function.

Article 210.8(B) has no bearing on this discussion.

Therefore, GFCI protection is required for the application being discussed in this thread. There are no exceptions that apply here.
 
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Old 02-03-02, 03:02 PM
Wgoodrich
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John, while I don't disagree that the written word says all receptacles outside must be GFI protected. This statement would lead you to believe that included receptacles mounted on a roof that in not normally accessible to nonpersonel skilled electricians, read on.

Check out 210.52 see copied section of the 02 NEC below;

210.52
(E) Outdoor Outlets. For a one-family dwelling and each unit of a two-family dwelling that is at grade level, at least one receptacle outlet accessible at grade level and not more than 2.0 m (61/2 ft) above grade shall be installed at the front and back of the dwelling. See 210.8(A)(3).

This seems to have a bearing in their intent but not necessarily in their words as written.

See below the commentary found in the handbook written by two of the editors and chiefs of the NEC might be shocking;

02 NEC commentary in NEC handbook;
The dwelling unit shown in Exhibit 210.11 has four outdoor receptacles. Three of these receptacles are considered to be at direct grade level access and must have GFCI protection for personnel. The fourth receptacle located adjacent to the gutter for the roof-mounted snow-melting cable is not readily accessible and, therefore, is exempt from the GFCI requirements of 210.8(A)(3). However, this receptacle is covered by the equipment protection requirements of 426.28. See the commentary following 210.52(E) and 406.8(B) regarding the installation of outdoor receptacles subject to moisture.

Exhibit 210.11 A dwelling unit with three receptacles that are required by 210.8(A)(3) to have GFCI protection and one that is exempt because it is not readily accessible.


After reading the commentary I don't believe it was their intent to include any outside receptacles that are not readily accessible. This is what it has said in the past but the new wording as you said does not say it in words written.

There I am again at odds only this time I am not going by word written but what I believe is their intent. Many times in the past several have worked me over when I used the words as written only not suspected intent. Now I am on the other side again creating questions.

While I truly believe the words written in the rule of the 02 NEC says you must GFI protect the roof mounted receptacle, The commentary leads you to believe their words changed but the intent still looks at readily accessible.

I have been in discussions in the making of this rule. The intent of the word change was to include those receptacles on lofts outside second floor outside entrances becuase they are readily accessible. When the words got printed I am not sure they said what they meant as you pointed out.

What do you think? Now be careful saying to go by the words written. That always gets me in to long discussions. May be your turn though?

Wg
 
  #16  
Old 02-03-02, 03:12 PM
Wgoodrich
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John, one more little tidbit just for fun.

YOu talked with confidence that de-icing receptacles were exempt from the GFI protection requirment as per the copied Code section 210.8.A.3 below supporting your statement.

(3) Outdoors
Exception: Receptacles that are not readily accessible and are supplied by a dedicated branch circuit for electric snow-melting or deicing equipment shall be permitted to be installed in accordance with the applicable provisions of Article 426.

SURPRISE !

Just for giggles and to add confusion check out the rule in 426.28 and remember the NEC is being slowly rewritten to make it more user friendly ! User friendly / Ha Ha !

426.28 Equipment Protection.
Ground-fault protection of equipment shall be provided for fixed outdoor electric deicing and snow-melting equipment, except for equipment that employs mineral-insulated, metal-sheathed cable embedded in a noncombustible medium.


John, Are we having fun yet ?

Wg
 
  #17  
Old 02-03-02, 04:11 PM
toucansam
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Debbie Ann;
Here is the kicker. Do you know when the swamp cooler was installed? A homeowner is Grandfathered on most code changes. Updating is suggested but not mandetory on grandfathered situations. Yes it would be adviseable to install a GFI in any case. In actuality it is probably entirely your decision as to wether the change is inline with cost. The exception may be that local code may require you to update upon sale.
 
  #18  
Old 02-03-02, 05:50 PM
Wgoodrich
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toucansam, well said.

Wg
 
  #19  
Old 02-04-02, 12:44 AM
Debbie Ann
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Smile

Well............ after all that ............. I'm going to spend 6 bucks and 20 minutes and install the GFCI. Simply put, the value of a life, be it careful or not, is priceless. Thanks guys..... Debbie :-)~~
 
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