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Topic: GFCI Breaker for Steam Generator Electric  (Read 5214 times)
SuavePrince
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Posts: 14



« on: June 30, 2011, 02:19:24 PM »

My steam generator trips the breaker.
The manual says I should not have a GFCI breaker but that is what my electrician and he insists that electrical code required him to install the GFCI.

Who's correct, the steam generator manufacturer or the licensed electrician?
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Jennifer
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Posts: 627



« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2011, 11:11:48 AM »

Both are correct in their own way.

For the Electrician - While National Electric Code (NEC) states that GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt) outlet are to be in areas where the plugged in item, such as a hair dryer, may get wet, a GFCI is required.  It's common to see these in Kitchens, Baths, Basements, Hot Tubs, and Whirlpools.  So in this sense, the electrician is going off this knowledge.

NEC has not been written yet for Steam Generators.

What the electrician doesn't know that the Steam Manufacturers do is that GFCI do not play nice with Steam Generators and the answer is a little scientific.

The Manufacturer - When a steam unit is sitting not used, it is normal for the heating elements to absorb some humidity from the house environment.  When the product is tuned on and in use, as the heating elements are heating up, all the humidity is driven out from heating action.  A GFI/GFCI picks up that change as a heating element leak to ground and therefore trips, hence nuisance tripping as there is nothing wrong with the product in reality.

So, the recommendation would be to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the type of circuit breaker.

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