WARNING! Please read and be aware so you don't experience our near fatal event!
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WARNING! Please read and be aware so you don't experience our near fatal event!

This is a discussion on WARNING! Please read and be aware so you don't experience our near fatal event! within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Late last night I plugged my laptop in to an extension lead which was running from a power board connected to one of my ...

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WARNING! Please read and be aware so you don't experience our near fatal event!
Old 08-09-2011, 09:42 PM   #1
 
Exclamation WARNING! Please read and be aware so you don't experience our near fatal event!



Late last night I plugged my laptop in to an extension lead which was running from a power board connected to one of my tanks. Bang! The power to 90% of the house was cut including to ALL our tanks. I immediately jumped up to check what had happened only to find that the powerboard I had the extension lead connected to was engulfed in water. Water that had formed a pool roughly a metre round! For an unknown period of time the powerboard had been sitting in this water as had the extension lead. I am unsure as to why it took plugging the laptop in to finally shut down the electricity but I fear what could have been.

So, here we were at 11.30pm madly cleaning the water, removing all power and trying to isolate where this water had come from. We knew there was definitely NO leaks in the tank that the water seemed to have come from. Then, it hit me. I often see our huge Mystery Snails climb over the pump outlet (internal sponge filter) and when I spotted the air hose hanging out of the tank it made me wonder. If the water outlet gets blocked (say, by these snails) does this cause water to pour out of the air hose?

YES! YES! YES! it most certainly does! This is something that in my mind can easily happen if you have Mystery Snails that are big. So, please ensure that if you have this set-up that your air hose runs either back into the tank (as we devised) or, that the water runs anywhere other than near power. Ideally, setting it up so that the hose goes back into the tank is the best option otherwise, if you have a strong stubborn snail, your water could completely drain off much quicker than you would think.

We simply put the end of the air hose between the two top pieces of glass on the tank so that in future, the water will simply flow back into the tank.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:54 PM   #2
 
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That sounds rather scary!! I'm so glad that no one got hurt. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Good warning. Make sure all electical cords have a "drip loop" too.
For the newbies that don't know what that means.... Your heater is in your tank, comes out over the top of the tank, let it drop straight to the floor and then loop back up to the outlet or power bar so that water that might travel down the cord will hit the floor and not run into the outlet or power bar.
Good place to start a safety thread!!
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:32 PM   #3
 
also any socket connected to appliances or equipment near water should be CFGI to protect against surges if it does get wet.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:06 PM   #4
 
YES! Thankfully all powerboards used in this house have the safety cut-outs on them. This is why I wondered why it took plugging the laptop in to cause the safety switch in the power box to kick in. The powerboard when removed was FULL of water!

But remember, drip loops are important but didn't prevent this situation. We are just so lucky and grateful that our filters/heaters/lights etc weren't blown out. That is where the safety powerboards are worth their weight in gold hence, we are off to buy 3 more today!
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:23 PM   #5
 
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Originally Posted by FishMad View Post
YES! Thankfully all powerboards used in this house have the safety cut-outs on them. This is why I wondered why it took plugging the laptop in to cause the safety switch in the power box to kick in. The powerboard when removed was FULL of water!

But remember, drip loops are important but didn't prevent this situation. We are just so lucky and grateful that our filters/heaters/lights etc weren't blown out. That is where the safety powerboards are worth their weight in gold hence, we are off to buy 3 more today!
That safety is entirely different unless your from the UK or something. ALL tanks should be protected by a GFCI as sincrisis said. These are the same outlets you find in your kitchen and bathrooms. They would of cut power in this situation, not led to a massive power-cut in the entire house. You are lucky that that is all that happened. Those safety switches are not sensitive enough to give a person much of any protection.

All my tanks are covered my GFCIs. Kinda similar to your case I have had a sudden leak from a canister filter that a kid has messed with. It basically turned into a fountain. The powerstrip had yet to short out so I waited till it became flooded and shorten before approaching. Though it was the GFCI that cut the power to the tank only.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:36 PM   #6
 
Buyer beware. Most inexpensive power strips are designed to minimize power surges to equipment but are not GFI circuits. A GFI power strip will have a heavy duty plug with test and reset buttons. Most with 4-8 outlets will retail for $40 - $60 USD. If you can, a wall outlet can easily be replaced with a GFI outlet for about $15.
In any case, shield the outlet or power strip from any overflow - mount the power strip up on the stand away from any possible pooling water.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:46 PM   #7
 
Just to clarify, I am in AUSTRALIA and the powerboard I refer to is the one described by 'AbbeysDad' as a GFI Power Strip which, is obviously what they are called in the Northern Hemisphere.

Had hoped my post would be helpful, not attacked Not everyone is able to mount powerboards to walls, as is my case (asbestos walls) so was offering alternate safety advice
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:10 AM   #8
 
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Originally Posted by FishMad View Post
Just to clarify, I am in AUSTRALIA and the powerboard I refer to is the one described by 'AbbeysDad' as a GFI Power Strip which, is obviously what they are called in the Northern Hemisphere.

Had hoped my post would be helpful, not attacked Not everyone is able to mount powerboards to walls, as is my case (asbestos walls) so was offering alternate safety advice
But if your GFCI affected 90% of your houses power there is no way it worked properly. Nothing but the powerstrip itself should of been affected.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:35 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishMad View Post
Just to clarify, I am in AUSTRALIA and the powerboard I refer to is the one described by 'AbbeysDad' as a GFI Power Strip which, is obviously what they are called in the Northern Hemisphere.

Had hoped my post would be helpful, not attacked Not everyone is able to mount powerboards to walls, as is my case (asbestos walls) so was offering alternate safety advice
Am glad that things are under control and no injuries occured.
One does not have to attach the GFI powerstrips to the wall. I have tanks that set on wrought Iron stands and powerstrip is hung up off the floor with zip ties attached to the stand.
Other stands are wood and powerstrips are attached to the wood with simple eyelet screws and zip ties either to the back of the stand, or inside.
Any time airstones or sponge filter's running off of air pumps are used,, I place an inexpensive check valve in the airline .
I once had a 55 gal tank drain onto living room floor when return hose came loose from the tank and dropped to the floor.
Nearly had the same thing happen to my 80 gal planted tank a couple months back when after cleaning the canister and hoses,I did not attach return hose to spray bar very good and when canister was re-started,,the return hose blew off the spray bar.
Luckily it happened while I was at the aquarium.

Last edited by 1077; 08-10-2011 at 12:44 AM..
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Old 08-10-2011, 01:39 AM   #10
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FishMad View Post
Just to clarify, I am in AUSTRALIA and the powerboard I refer to is the one described by 'AbbeysDad' as a GFI Power Strip which, is obviously what they are called in the Northern Hemisphere.

Had hoped my post would be helpful, not attacked Not everyone is able to mount powerboards to walls, as is my case (asbestos walls) so was offering alternate safety advice
I was not attacking you - merely offering some clarification about power strips typically used that are not GFI circuits.

Let's also be clear - standard circuit breakers do not detect subtle short circuits that may be caused by water. Special GFI outlets or circuit breakers are used in kitchens, baths, and outdoor fixtures so they will trip with even the slightest impedance difference across lugs. If you had a working GFI power strip, it should have tripped and shut down the strip with even slight moisture, let alone all the water you said it had!

Last edited by AbbeysDad; 08-10-2011 at 01:49 AM..
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