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Re: gfci??

Chrys asked  
>      How hard is a GFCI to install?  

Not terribly, but it absolutely must be done right or it won't offer
the safety protection it's meant to and you or someone else could
suffer an electrical shock, which could result in injury or death. 

You really need to be able to turn of the house power on the circuit
you are going to be working on.  That might not be an option in an
apartment.  The GFCI will have wiring diagrams in the box it comes in. 
But don't do this if you are not sure that you can read the diagrams
correctly.  Get someone who can or hire an electrician.

Alternatively, you can get an extension cord that offers Ground Fault 
protection or that is a GFCI (they are not quite synonomous).  That's
must easier than installing a GFCI wall socket or GFCI circuit breaker.
 GF protection and GFCI extension cords come in two basic types:

1)  when power supply to the cord goes out, for example a power outage
in your area, the GFCI trips and must be manually reset.

2)  when the power supply to the cord goes out, for example a power
outage in your area, the GFCI *does not* trip and the cord provides
power again as soon as power to the cord is supplied again.

The first type of cord is intended for use with power tools and on
construction job sites -- If the power goes out and then comes back on,
you don't want that circular saw running on its own.

The second type is intended for use with life supporting equipment such
as medical equipment, where you want the  equipment ot come back on as
soon as possible and automatically.

You want the second type, of course, for aquariums.  You can test which
type any cord is by plugging it in, pushing the reset button to make
sure the cord is set to provide power, then unplug and check again.  If
it needs to be reset again, then it's the first type of cord.

Here's a place to order a groudn fault protection cord


If you order one from this page, then you want the "Indoor Extension
Cord" not the yellow cord which is the first type.   The Fire Shield
cord also offers some protection against broken insulation or frayed
wires.  While the Fire Shield offers ground fault protection, it does
not offer protection against all three of the ground fault conditons as
does a device that is UL approved as a GFCI.

You can get these at ThatPetPlace.com among other places.
Model 90259 

Hope that helps,
Scott H.

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