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Old 02-04-2006, 03:08 PM   #1
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How much electricity is too much draw for one circuit?

I'm adding a second aquarium to my living room, a 55 gallon reef, and I was wondering... anybody on here have any idea how much juice is too much? Am I in danger of flipping breakers or burning my house up? Anybody have their house specially wired for aquariums? I'm going to be running both my 55 and my 58 off a shared 125 gal sump with halides/pc or halides/t-5 on both tanks, a big gen x pump for the mega skimmer, 8 power heads, and I'm not sure if I'll run one big pump to a splitter for return or run a mag 9.5 and a mag 7 for return, and one 2x96w pc on the sump/refugium. I reinforced the floor but I'm worried bout the juice now. Any input? I think I have one extra circuit breaker in my box, is it worth having my love slave wire it for me? Should I run my halides to the garage for their ballasts? Is this worth having a professional electrician come and do a sub box or whatever?
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Old 02-04-2006, 08:24 PM   #2
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Sounds like a lot of power for just a regular 15 amp wall socket.
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Old 02-04-2006, 10:20 PM   #3
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Well, my suggestion is that you do it in a rational fashion. Most electrical appliance will have an indication of how much current (amperes) each device consumes. You have to add the amp rating of each device to find out how much "juice" you will require. Most house circuits are rated at 15 amps, but safety requires to leave a certain amount of "free" amp because some device have a power surge when they start, like your refrigerator for example. Never, I repeat, never replace the 15 amp fuse or breaker with one of a higher value! This can cause your wires to heat up and surely cause a fire. You could have another circuit pulled in, by certified electrician or someone who is really knowledgeable, not a week-end warrior. Your life is worth more than a few bucks. You could and can request for a 20 amp circuit. Wires will be 12 gauge instead of 14 gauge. Also, I would strongly suggest that you also use a CGFI breaker if you can. Water and electricity never mix well together.

In my fish room, I pulled two 15 amps circuits for all my gears. All my fish stuff is separate from the rest of the house circuits and cannot affect or be affected by anything else. One circuit will be for my halide ballast and the other circuits for the rest: pumps, heaters, skimmer, actinics, etc... Each circuit is also wired with CGFI, just in case.

My 2 cents on this...

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Old 02-05-2006, 02:22 AM   #4
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you don't have any tripping issues with the cgfi? i'd think the halides would kick it.
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Old 02-05-2006, 02:32 AM   #5
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Yeah, that was pretty much my take on it too. This has caused civil war in the house, I've got one of those guys who likes to do it all himself, and he was a journeyman electrician, but I'm of the mind that a licensed electrician might be a little more accountable. And I do think a seperate circuit for the halides is a good idea.
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Old 02-05-2006, 02:34 PM   #6
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No issues with the halides yet, they are not on-line. But maths never lie and the 4 halides will consume 12 amps when all running, but they will have staggered start time, so the surges wont affect the overall stability of the circuit. I could have pulled a 20 amps circuit, but I already had a 100 feet roll of gauge 14 wire. But if I have issues, I will replace the line and breaker.

AS for the CGFI, it is there in case of short to ground, tho an overload of the circuit will also trip the breaker. Always think security.

Well, if your other half knows what he is doing, let him do it, especially if he has previous experience. But (personal) safety rules must prevail at all costs. Case in point, my wife knows I can do this kind of things, but whenever it is time to hook up wires and breaker in the main power boxe, she has me turn off the master switch. She helps me complete the task by holding the flashlight while on do what needs to be done. Works well for me and keeps the peace in the house. Things we do for our loved ones!

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Old 02-06-2006, 02:40 AM   #7
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Heh... I think I see a flashlight in my future. I trust him to be honest if he can't handle the job, so I think that'll be what we do. He says the house is wired 12g already, he swears 14 is good for nothing but lighting, but I say the wiring here is 50 years old, he already rewired two new circuits for my computer and fish, so now he's going to put in one for the halides. I've followed your suggestion, and did a spreadsheet of amps and watts, and I'm well in safety with the powerheads and pumps on one circuit. It'll actually get a bit better when I start running the shared sump. I think the dolphin ampmaster may be my next investment.
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:11 AM   #8
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Hehehe... Excellent! He may be more anal about electrical safety than I am! But that is good! Just one question tho, if it is already gauge 12, is it copper or aluminium wire? In older homes, they used to use aluminium wire for a while, tho now copper is standard. Just something to consider.

In fact, I had to pull an extra circuit just to hook up the heater/dehumidifier because the darn heater pulls 13 amps alone. This is a single outlet 15 amp circuit just for that. Talk about being anal. LOLOL In any event, all is well that ends well. Keep us posted on the development.

Cheers!

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Old 02-06-2006, 04:30 PM   #9
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It's all copper. The guy who built this house was more anal than all of us... He was a serious DIY guy and everything here is overkill. The attic is buttressed like a cathedral, house inspector said I could have a tile roof, solar panels, hotwater collector, and a rain runoff system and never worry about sagging. The joists and such all got replaced recently (when I bought the house) and my sweetie reinforced the floor with an extra 8x8 beam and concrete blocks and posts, and several 4x4 reinforcing studs. Then he tiled the dining room/fish area. Every major appliance has its own circuit, and the plaster here is bulletproof, I swear. (Believe me, I've tried to hang pictures and burnt batteries on my drill after just a few). We've updated lighting and put in grounded sockets, but that's about it. Besides the flooring. Aluminum wire... shudder. Scary. I don't even like THINKING about that.
Now I got a question... maybe you've done this with your fish room... what does it take to run return lines to 2 tanks off of one sump? I really would rather run two pumps than three. I was going to go with the Gen X but I saw that the Dolphin Ampmasters are REALLY efficient energy wise, and it would be better in that sense to run one ampmaster than two magdrives. But the 55 isn't drilled, it has a overflow box, and I'm afraid of swamping it. Maybe I should start a new thread for this.
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Old 02-06-2006, 09:28 PM   #10
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Well, if your pump has the proper rating, you can use a "Tee" and run a return line to each tank. You would require a ball valve on each line to adjust the flow to each tank. Not sure if I am clear with my explanation. I could make a drawing to represent what I am trying to explain.

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