WARNING: GFIC outlets may not protect against coop fires!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RonP, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    First off, I am not a licensed electrician, but I do have a better than average understanding about electric wiring.

    There are many posts touting the necessities of wiring your coop via a GFCI Receptacle, which helps protect people from shock or electrocution resulting from ground faults. This is all great information that may save your life, but not necessarily your coop from a fire.

    Unless you have steel-sheathed cable or the equivalent, your electrical wiring insulation may effortlessly become compromised by a rodent chewing through it. There then is an excellent possibility it could develop an arcing condition that may not trip a GFCI receptacle.

    That arc may very well ignite the combustible materials associated within our coops!

    I did a quick site search and found little to no posts about the benefit of using a AFCI/GFCI Dual Function Outlet such as the one I have installed in my home, supplying electricity to my coop. An AFCI receptacle or breaker is designed to trip upon an arcing condition.

    I started this thread hoping to make aware the false sense of security many have believing they have done a fine job wiring their coop…

    It’s you coop, your choice, but my advice to all is that if you do not know what you are doing, you should consider hiring a licensed professional, not me, as I can only offer my opinion. :hmm

    I hope this helps someone prevent a potential disaster.
  2. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Free Ranging

    Apr 19, 2012
    NW Vermont
    Good point @RonP. I know the electricians put in arc fault breakers in the rebuilt part of our house other than the potentially wet areas where there are GFI outlets.
    Hamiam, chickisoup, penny1960 and 2 others like this.
  3. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    I'm sure to meet new code requirements...
  4. NoNameHomestead

    NoNameHomestead Chirping

    Jan 3, 2018
    Sumter, SC
    Good info! I'm not a licensed electrician either and like you I have a good understanding of electrical wiring as a facility maintenance tech. I second your post!
  5. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Free Ranging

    Apr 19, 2012
    NW Vermont
    Yep. They said the most likely cause of arc faults in the past were from people who ran extension cords under carpets, the cord wore through with years of people walking on them. Arcing catches the carpet on fire, house burns down. It is pretty unlikely with wire properly run through walls, not on the floor.

    BUT the chewing rodent angle has merit, especially outside in a barn or coop.
  6. DwayneNLiz

    DwayneNLiz ...lost...

    Jun 18, 2013
    i have also seen arcing/fires from dust/debris build up in the outlet itself
  7. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Free Ranging

    Apr 19, 2012
    NW Vermont
    True @DwayneNLiz, and SO much more likely out in the dusty barn or coop than in the house.
  8. Farmer Connie

    Farmer Connie All My Friends Have Hoofs

    Feb 28, 2017
    Florida Peninsula
    My Coop
    Wickedchicken6 likes this.
  9. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    I hyperlinked the breaker in my original post.
  10. cholland

    cholland Songster

    Jan 17, 2017
    Good point, those breakers are to help prevent fires. Not a sure thing.

    Side note: if you are running an electric fence charger. You do not want it on a GFCI breaker. When the fence arcs, as it does if something touches it. It will trip the breaker and then the fence is off.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: