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#179312 07/06/08 05:47 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
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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 laugh )

renosteinke #179313 07/06/08 05:48 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 625
S
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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.

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
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twh Offline
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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.

twh #179315 07/06/08 06:49 PM
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I think most problems are on the load side of the outlets.


Greg Fretwell
gfretwell #179316 07/06/08 09:27 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
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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.





John
HotLine1 #179317 07/06/08 10:04 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
E
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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."
EV607797 #179318 07/06/08 10:10 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
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Actually ... aluminum missed the bus - this time! The houses all pre-dated the aluminum wiring craze.

EV607797 #179319 07/07/08 12:16 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
L
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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?):)

Last edited by leland; 07/07/08 12:18 AM.
leland #179321 07/07/08 10:02 AM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 482
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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.

Zapped #179322 07/07/08 10:04 AM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 482
Z
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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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