Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Saltwater and Reef > Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 06-22-2003, 10:30 PM   #1
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: St. Louis MO
Posts: 23
power source in "new" home

Hey everyone,

I know this is probably more of a home improvement question, but it is related to aquarium use. I hope y'all can understand what I'm talking about, since I know nothing about electrical work.

Basically, I'm moving into a "new" house in the city of St. Louis. It's a pretty old building, probably built around 1920 or so. Anyhow, I'll be moving my aquarium there and I am a little concerned about the electrical wiring. It's passed city inspections just fine (or so I'm told...), and my girlfriend has been living there for nearly four years and has not had any problems associated with the house's wiring itself (i.e., power outages and "flickering" have been the fault of the local electricity provider). Then again, she's never plugged 3 powerheads, 384 watt lighting, a 250 watt heater, etc. into the same wall. I do know that none of the electrical outlets are grounded. Moreover, the outlets themselves are only double-pronged (probably not the right terminology…). You know, just the little face with two vertical eyes, NOT the face with two vertical eyes a dot for the nose (and no mouth).

Is there anything I can do external to the wall to make sure everything will be safe? Will a GFI alone do the trick? Or, how hard is it to ground one outlet internally? The room where I want to set up the aquarium and where the power source is just above the basement. Couldn’t I just run more modern cable to the outlet and down to the basement to the electrical box? I'd just ground the appropriate wire to the water pipes or something. Is this even necessary, though? Is it inappropriate?

Any help would be greatly appreciated and I understand if no one has an answer for this. I could direct my question elsewhere. And, finally, I apologize once again for my lack of electrician knowledge. How embarrassing… I will not give-up the tank, however. If worse comes to worse, I'll just set-up some kind of remote power supply, like a few hamsters on a wheel or some neighborhood kid on a treadmill…: "Welcome to MY neighborhood, Punk!"

Best,
Michael
__________________

__________________
mtglore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2003, 11:02 PM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Champaign, IL
Posts: 2,725
Yea, saying that there is no ground is the same as saying only 2 holes. If possible, I like your idea of putting the tank on it's own new circuit with proper grounding.
__________________

RogerMcAllen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2003, 12:02 AM   #3
AA Team Emeritus
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Chatsworth, GA
Posts: 4,071
Send a message via Yahoo to loganj
I agree with Roger. You really need to have that equipment on grounded receptacles. I would run a 12-2WG romex cable up to the floor where the tank will be located. Then I'd cut into the wall and install a dual outlet box with at least 20 amp commercial receptacles. I'd also, if this is going to be for the tank only, use a GFI breaker in the box. If the box is the old style with the screw in fuses, you may have to go with GFI receptacles. Don't ground it to a water line. There will be (should be) a grounded bar in the box...probably opposite the neutral bar...that you can attach the ground to. If you're not familiar with how all this works, I'd strongly suggest getting some help from someone who is or just hiring an electrician.
__________________
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Logan J
loganj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2003, 12:12 AM   #4
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Champaign, IL
Posts: 2,725
I didn't even know that they still used romex. I think conduit would be a much better choice, as you can always run more wires up the pipe if you need them. I also definately agree with the electrician deal.

It would be helpful to know the location of the fuse box in relation to the wall in question. I know running new power lines in existing walls can be a real pain. Hopefully you can just run straight down from your wall into the ceiling of the basement, and then over to the box.
RogerMcAllen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2003, 12:16 AM   #5
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Cleveland, Oh. USA
Posts: 2,158
Send a message via AIM to ReefRaff Send a message via MSN to ReefRaff Send a message via Yahoo to ReefRaff
Please if Your not comfortable wiring your self then you should get an electritian. or a friend who knows how. it only takes a millisecond to die from electrocution. 8O
ReefRaff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2003, 12:42 AM   #6
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Mtns of Denver, CO
Posts: 346
Wow, I finally get to help someone for a change.
Just adding a GFCI recept would not work, it senses the difference between the ground and neutral and you don't have a grounded outlet.
I would concure with Logan but with a few more thoughts. One would be to think about the house panel's service amperage, make sure that any added load (of the tank and equiptment) will not be more than the panel has available to you. I have seen many, many times in older houses like yours that there is already a borderline overamperage draw in place. Remember, when these houses were built the was no such thing as refrig/freezer, microwave, a/c, TV, washer/dryer, etc. there is a load calculation that can be done that takes this into account to see if your panel's main is up to snuff.

Secondly if the house amperage is okay and there is space in the panel buss, why not run 2 circuits up there and split the load. Since it will all be new wiring already, I wouldn't charge much more to run 2 ckts there as opposed to 1 ckt.
Also, I would reccommend installing surge suppression receptecles as well as a surge strip, there is no such thing as being too safe.

Also, Logan I don't want to step on toes but, there probably isn't a grounding bar in the panel because it wasn't required in the code at that time. Probably his best source for a ground would be the panel enclosure itself. If you do want to go to the water pipe it should be where the cold water pipe ENTERS the house from the ouside.
It is a pretty easy task and should take a good electrician a couple of hours to do. Hope this helps.
__________________
It's not a dress, it's a kilt.
pipermurphy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2003, 01:06 AM   #7
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: St. Louis MO
Posts: 23
THANK YOU! Thanks for the quick answer to my question and for everyone's concern for my safety. Man, is there anyhting y'all don't know?

-Michael
__________________
mtglore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2003, 05:04 PM   #8
AA Team Emeritus
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Chatsworth, GA
Posts: 4,071
Send a message via Yahoo to loganj
Yeah, I mentioned the ground bar in the hopes that the house had a modern breaker box. To be honest, although I didn't say it at first, if the house has the old screw in fuses, I'd have a replaced with breaker box. 40 space with 200 amp entrance. Expensive? Probably. Worth it? Yes.
Romex is still in common use. For wiring inside the wall, it's just fine. For exposed wire, I would certainly go with PVC conduit.
__________________
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Logan J
loganj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2003, 05:35 PM   #9
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 124
All good stuff.. especially the total panel load calc. I would also take a look at the type and condition of the wire insulation. Some of the older houses used a woven fiber type that over time becomes very brittle. Specifically in places where it is over loaded and gets hot. The load from your tank should not be to bad depending on pump loads. It looks like you only have 5.3 amps being drawn from lights and heaters, if you are actually getting 120 VAC to your home... slightly higher if you are running at the more common 113-117 VAC. (P=IV) As for conduit.. well I sure wouldn't run that down my living room wall so yes romex is what is still being used and #12 is good for a 20 amp breaker. Another grounding option would be to run a bare copper wire.. .(size 00 I think) to a grounding rod outside. I think these rods can be purchased pretty cheap at HD. The size grounding wire is dependant upon the size of your service... 100... 150... or 200 amps.
__________________
maiceman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2003, 05:58 PM   #10
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: St. Louis MO
Posts: 23
Thanks for the input, everyone. I've done some more looking at the house's wiring, read some of the home wiring literature (and your posts!), and had a look around Home Depot and it doesn't look like this will be too much of a problem.

Thankfully, the house doesn't have an old fuse box, but does have a breaker box. Moreover, my girlfriend tells me that she thinks one or two receptables in the house have been grounded. I checked, and there is a grounded wire running to the water pipe. It was done by an electrician so I figure it's up to MO state code. Unfortunately, the receptacle I plan on using is not grounded (I tested it). So, I figure I'll pull out the old wiring and put in the Romex. I also like the idea of splitting two circuits, which I'll probably do. I'll also install a GFCI and get a good surge protector. I figure there's not much else I can do after that.

I'm pretty excited about this. Given the location of the receptacle and the basement, I don't think it'll be too tough. Maybe afterwards I'll try to ground other receptacles around the house. I was always so afraid of home wiring, but after reading up on it, I think it is something I can definately do and a good skill to learn. Plus, it just means more tanks.

Thanks,
Michael
__________________

__________________
mtglore is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
"Duckweed" (Lemna Minor) and "Water Spangles" (Salvinia Minima) floating plants jackdaniel Archive 3 09-28-2009 11:16 AM
GE "aquarium" bulbs at Home Depot hashbaz Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 2 05-03-2005 10:47 AM
Can I "move" a fishes home? XXFirefighter Saltwater Reef Aquaria 4 04-20-2005 12:23 AM
"Frag" - "Barter"/"Trade" for OmarD Archive 1 11-26-2003 12:14 PM







» Photo Contest Winners








Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:45 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.