I hate GFCI's

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by David Gretzmier, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    I think I reset my 100th gfci plug tonight ( this year mind you, probably over 1000 in my lifetime ) and I have at least a dozen to do tomorrow. I know that water causes a connection to the ground and that is fed back into the ground of the building, and that causes the button to pop. I hate it. This single thing probably costs me in the neighborhood of 1-2 grand a year in labor for service calls. The more it rains, the more money out of my pocket.

    yet I have many jobs, with different name brands of GFCI outlets, that never pop, no matter how much it rains. I know that newer outlets sometimes pop less than old, but not always. and GFCI breakers seem to pop less than GFCI outlets. further, experience tells me that heavy loaded outlets pop more than less loaded ones. but AGAIN, not always.

    I wonder where these things came from and who decided these things help protect homes or people. were folks getting shocked from water and electricity outside so they made all outside outlets and garage outlets shut off if any water is present? then why do all of them not work, or only 1/4 of them or so?

    I have some jobs that have dozens of cords with open outlets on 3 ways in gutters and they never pop. and I have some jobs with one cord from on wreath to an inside garage outlet, no open pugs that pops all the time.

    OK, enough of a rant, now you guys tell me your experience with GFCI's.
  2. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,753

    I will agree to all you said Dave

    I have one house that we switched to all LED's hoping to reduce the load on the lines, use less cords and hopefully reduce tripped GFI's. Not the case. We have been there just as much this year as last year.

    Of course we also have had more rain than normal as well.

    How many of you tape the ends of mini lights and connections between extension cords and splitters? Does this help? Does it make it worse if water does make its way behind the tape?

    Reason I ask, is we have not found any difference in tripped GFI with tape or no tape. BUT, we have complaints from customers because the perception is we should tape everything.
  3. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    Hmmm. I have had one GFI pop this year (well that I know about) it was after a big rain fall.

    We are very carefull about where we leave our plugs. If they are on the ground we squirt in a little greese. Seems to be working so far....
  4. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,924

    I had one, guy forgot to turn off the sprinklers, all yard displays were soaking wet, he keep messing with it until I showed up, unplugged the yard art, fired up just the house lights.....told him wait until it dried out, unplugged the sprinklers....

    It happened all the time with icicles lights blowing back into gutters filled with water.....I hate those lights;;;;LOL!!!
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  5. christmas79

    christmas79 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 208

    I have the same problem here in Chicago! The weather here is cold now and the outlets are good no problems now.
  6. OP
    David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    we have taped jobs and no tape jobs. no difference. The jobs that have a minimum of cords, especially those that we just plug into the soffit outlets have much less popping.
  7. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    Makes sense. Less cords = less chance for issues. See Dave, you'll be switching to LED's in no time to save on cords :)
  8. OP
    David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    less cords = good

    vibrating LED's = dain bramage.

    Led's that look exactly like incandecant, last 10 times longer and use 10% of the power = priceless
  9. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    Hey, did you use any of the HBL full wave LED's this year? I never got a chance to order some to test out and wanted to know if they are any good?
  10. M&N Maintenance

    M&N Maintenance LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    I have the same problem with gfi not with snow but with rain. The other issue is the client that does not understand that it is not the installer but the moisture.

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