I hate GFCI's

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

  1. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,753

    I pulled the gfi at my house, but I dont dare do it on a clients home.

    We have cut our gfi calls significantly this year, instead of the usual dozen or so calls, we have it down to 3 or 4 and of those 2 have had the issues found and corrected.

    We split the load, even with LED's, to lessen the chance of tripping in the rain and also have come up with a few tricks that seem to have worked extremely well!!!
  2. NY Landscape Lighting

    NY Landscape Lighting LawnSite Member
    Messages: 121

  3. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,753

    For a dollar.....

    Nothing like reinventing the wheel, but some of these things may help, it seems to have helped in all but one situation.

    Split the power up to different outlets even if you are using LED's, it seems to take some of the load off and less likely to trip.

    We use cube splitters and I made sure the guys were not putting them on the ground.

    When setting power in trees/shrubs we made sure that the cord/splitter was about 2 feet off the ground to avoid as much water as possible.

    had the guys pay attention to tree/shrub lighting and try to make sure the open ends of the mini lights were not facing straight up in the air to catch the water.

    And perhaps the most effective thing we did was use baby safety covers for the open ends of all mini lights. (we get them bulk) They act like an umbrella, better than taping because if water does get in, they will dry out.

    We had a couple of houses that we had issues to the point of wanting to cancel last year, this year we have them under control (knock on wood) and it was been raining for days here.

    Not sure if one of the ideas worked or a combination of all of them. But we made a point of doing all of them and it seems to have worked.

    I assume some of these things are being taught to your guys already, but they are easy to get lazy with doing, espcially the baby covers as it does add some time to the job but having a happy customer and no service calls saves much more in the long run.

    Good luck.
  4. TimNNJ

    TimNNJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    Amen. I've had a couple calls gfci related. I need to add an info page with contract.
  5. OP
    David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    I rarely see 15 amp breakers. I can't remember the last one. in nearly every instance of a gfci popping issue it was water in a plug somewhere, or a bad plug somewhere.

    after being reset 20-40 times, then a popping gfci can be more of a load issue.

    we try to keep all cord connections out of the gutters, off the ground and hanging in bushes or trees. while I like the idea of the safety caps, I know for a fact my guys will not do it.

    I still hate gfci's.
  6. TexasFire221

    TexasFire221 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 480

    Last week it was GFIs this week it's wind. The wind is blowing steady 40mph with gusts up to god knows what. Have many calls today chasing strands that have come loose, I'm guessing near trees that have snatched to the lights. Rain for Christmas Day yay GFIs.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. CL&T

    CL&T LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    I rarely scroll down the board this far so it's the first time I'm looking at this forum. I really can't believe why you guys still want to do this with all the aggrevation.

    As an electrician I can tell you where your problem is and that's squarely with the lighting manufacturers not making their outdoor products waterproof. There should be no reason for water entering the LED or bulb sockets. All plugs should be waterproof and mate with waterproof extension cords, adapters and taps that the lighting manufacturer also needs to make so that they will fit their products. Thing is good luck with that because I have never seen any of this junk that wasn't made in China.

    It always amazes me to see all this indoor electrical stuff lying on the ground in the rain and buried in snow. Would you want to stick the end of a hot extension cord into a bucket of water? How is what you do any different? You really can't blame the GFI receptacles or breakers, they are just doing their job.

    Just for the heck of it, does anybody want to do a Google search for people being electrocuted by outdoor holiday lights?
  8. OP
    David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    It is always nice to have folks comment on his forum that have absolutely no experience with Christmas lights and feel free to tell us everything we are doing wrong. I appreciate the references to putting a cord in a bucket. that was so helpful and informative. This may come as a shock to you, but guess what, we do temporary lighting and use products made for such. how about I join you on your jobsites and share with you what you are doing wrong with your electrical installs? I mean really, why do you use all those plastic boxes for switches and outlets anyway? Don't you know all that crap is made in china? by the way, all your outlets, breakers, switches, boxes, most of all those ARE made in china. look on the box.

    while you may know how to run spools of 12-2 wire all day long and how many outlets on a 20 amp circuit, and can install a breaker box in your sleep, perhaps you are not aware that 100's of millions of feet of open socket c9s have been installed over the last 70 years. And while you may wish for us to use "waterproof" cords, I am not so sure those exist. and despite your request for a search, up until 20 years ago, all those old lights got plugged into the old style outlets with no gfci buttons. and there were not a rash of 1000's of folks getting elecricuted back then.
  9. Birchwood

    Birchwood LawnSite Member
    Messages: 218

    100% agree Dave.

    There is not a single set of Christmas lights that has that 3rd grounding wire so what is the point. We use plenty of 2 wire indoor cords for wreaths, garland, and to drop down from a tree to the ground. I will switch over to a 3 wire cord for the large loads.

    Maybe when you visit it him on his job you can point out that homes should have dedicated outlets for the exterior and not tied into the dinning room light fixtures or the refrigerator, or half of the first floor. or all of the above.
  10. addictedtolandscaping

    addictedtolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 569

    I have a few tricks I use that aren't mentioned here, anyone who is interested shoot me a pm, but I am fortunate enough to have experienced no GFCI issues this year. THANK GOD HIMSELF!!!! I spent enough time dealing with it the past few.

    With regard to this guy, dont bother. He just doesn't get it. What I mean by "it", why we do, how we do, and the 30-500k we make right before winter when all else is slowing and nature isn't snowing. Not worth the time guys.

Share This Page