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#179312 - 07/06/08 02:47 PM Older Homes
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
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Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
Just about every "alphabet" group you can think of recently took part in a survey of older homes, and their electrical systems.

30 homes, slated for demolition, were examined from service drop to outlet. Components were sent to a lab for further examination and testing.

With the NFPA asserting over 24,000 household fires - and a disproportionate share of these being in homes older than 40 years - are caused by the electrical system, what causes do you think the study found?

(I'm cheating ... I have a preliminary draft of the report ... I just want to see what "conventional wisdom" thinks \:D )

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#179313 - 07/06/08 02:48 PM Re: Older Homes [Re: renosteinke]
SolarPowered Offline
Member

Registered: 07/05/04
Posts: 615
Loc: Palo Alto, CA, USA
I suspect homeowner modifications will rank high on this list. As will deteriorating insulation. And probably a certain amount of damage from rodents, birds, and the like.

I expect there will also be assorted problems at receptacles.

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#179314 - 07/06/08 02:54 PM Re: Older Homes [Re: SolarPowered]
twh Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 898
Loc: Regina, Sask.
Thirty homes is a small sample considering the number of homes that don't burn down. I would guess that very few had electrical problems.

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#179315 - 07/06/08 03:49 PM Re: Older Homes [Re: twh]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9045
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
I think most problems are on the load side of the outlets.
_________________________
Greg Fretwell

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#179316 - 07/06/08 06:27 PM Re: Older Homes [Re: gfretwell]
HotLine1 Offline

Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6804
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
I have to agree with Greg that what is plugged-in would be a primary cause. A lot used to be attributed to 'overfusing', in the days (and areas) that edison base fuses were prevelant, of which I saw my share.

I remember the guy at a local hardware store commenting something to the effect of....'we used to sell a lot of 15 & 20 amp fuses; but since a lot of people started buying the 30's, sales have slowed way down'.

Fire cause determined to be caused by 'electrical' seems to be vague; it should be broken out into utilization equipment and premises wiring.
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#179317 - 07/06/08 07:04 PM Re: Older Homes [Re: HotLine1]
EV607797 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/25/06
Posts: 756
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA, USA
I'd say improper use of extension cords would be #1 and fuse tampering would be #2. I get so mad when they report a fire on TV news and cite the cause as being electrical. Later they report that three portable heaters were plugged into a 100' 16/3 extension cord. That isn't an electrical fire.....That is a stupidity fire.

Something tells me that aluminum wiring is going to get thrown under the bus on this report too.
_________________________
---Ed---

"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."

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#179318 - 07/06/08 07:10 PM Re: Older Homes [Re: EV607797]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
Actually ... aluminum missed the bus - this time! The houses all pre-dated the aluminum wiring craze.

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#179319 - 07/06/08 09:16 PM Re: Older Homes [Re: EV607797]
leland Offline
Member

Registered: 08/20/07
Posts: 856
Loc: Lowell area, Ma. USA
 Originally Posted By: EV607797
I'd say improper use of extension cords would be #1 and fuse tampering would be #2. I get so mad when they report a fire on TV news and cite the cause as being electrical. Later they report that three portable heaters were plugged into a 100' 16/3 extension cord. That isn't an electrical fire.....That is a stupidity fire.

Something tells me that aluminum wiring is going to get thrown under the bus on this report too.



I'm right there with you on this!!!
But I say "Fire alarm" and my insurance rates (liability) go right thru the roof !!!! I prevent this crap!!! (Or at least detect it)
But I digress.. I will go with poor/loose connections at the devices. Wich coincides with the overloading of appliances. (whoa.. Both ends to the middle. Smooth.. No?):)


Edited by leland (07/06/08 09:18 PM)

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#179321 - 07/07/08 07:02 AM Re: Older Homes [Re: leland]
Zapped Offline
Member

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 481
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
As stated above, I'm sure deterioration from misuse on the load side is gonna be right up there.

Also, I would guess that, if the homes were old enough, they probably found quite a few exposed wire joints. I've found that the old solder-and-wrap method of wire joining, although good from an electrical conduction standpoint, suffer from deterioration of the wrapping materials and don't handle maintenance and handling too well. Also, a few times being pulled in and out of the junction box for add-ons and repairs tends to break up the old cloth insulation pretty badly too.

So, I would guess that they would classify this as "post-build maintenance damage", or something like that.

Induced voltage is also prevalent in these old installations.

Improperly bonded and altogether loss of the grounding system also comes to mind.

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#179322 - 07/07/08 07:04 AM Re: Older Homes [Re: Zapped]
Zapped Offline
Member

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 481
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
BTW, what a great idea for a study... I'm sure there was quite a bit to learn from this. I would have loved to have been on that archeological dig.

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