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  1. #1
    Senior Member Freshman
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    Default Ways to prevent fires

    I thought I would take the time and try to explain a few ways to protect yourself from having a problem arise. I have read and know a few people who have had the unfortunate nightmare of a fire as a result of miswires and over amp. I want to try to explain each option and maybe you can make the decision on which you choose although I will tell you at the end which would probably be the safer one to install.

    First is a surge suppressor. There is a big difference between a surge suppressor and power strip. Power strips only take the one receptacle on the wall and just makes more. There is no protection what so ever. A surge suppressor is just that. It prevents an over surge of voltage going to whatever is plugged into it. There is a big misconception that lightning usually causes surges and that is not the case. Hvac, Stoves and other larger equipment in a house can cause more surge situations than most lightning storms. The other is electrical company substation malfunctions or problems which when they happen tend to cross 240v which is what most houses are wired for. When a tranformer drops it usually is causes a shorting of phases or each 120v line to each other. A good surge suppressor over 700 joules should work.

    GFCI receptacle - This receptacle would be switched out with the receptacle in the wall to give you Ground Fault Circuit Interuption or GFCI. These are designed to stop a shock to ground. This would happen if say you spilled a jug of water on a surge suppressor. This when installed will stop it locally or in the room. These can be installed by taking out your current receptacle and just wiring it in. In this case you would want to put the wires on the line side of the receptacle.

    GFCI Breaker - This I kind of only would recommend if you are wiring a whole room or shed and you know this is the only room that they will be installed on.

    AFCI Breaker -Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter is a breaker that you install in place of your current breaker. This is to protect from arcing of wires due to fraying or loose connections. These are required now to be installed in bedroom as lamp cords tend to short out and there are no grounds to help protect. As the cord heats up from the arcing it usually is laying on carpet or by combustable and that is how house fires start. If you were to touch the white and black or hot and nuetral while one of these are installed properly you will not get shocked it will trip before it even gets that far.

    Here is the configuration that I currently use. I use a good surge supressor strip to plug in equipment into for power surge. I installed an AFCI breaker to protect anything that is plugged into the receptacles. Most people by heat tape and try to solder their own wires on. This where a lot of the problems arise. When you do not make a good solder connection the wire expands and contracts and as that does it it will slowly start to arc when it works itself loose. It will eventually heat itself enough to melt the wire and fires tend to start from there. I also installed a smoke detector and wired it to our smoke detectors in the house to alert us if a problem arises that the other safety nets did not catch

    You also need to check the wire size that you are plugging into. There is a major problem with the way some people are wiring some residential houses. A lot of houses we go back into are all wired in #12 or 20 amp wire with 20 amp breakers the problem is they are using 15 amp receptacles which 99% of the time would be o.k. for short periods of time as the receptacle would not heat up too much, but when you start plugging in multiple items in one receptacle it is usually for long periods which is where the major problem will arise.

    To sum it up if you are installing a lot of equipment and multiple racks into one outlet it would be wise to have a qualified electrician check out your receptacles, wire and breakers to ensure that everything would be o.k. A little prevention would never hurt as the it would prevent a lot of heart ache and problems.

    Please feel free to pm me, email me if you have any questions or need advise on any electrical question/problem. Hope this helps and gets everyone thinking safely
    Last edited by Keith N; 11-06-2010 at 08:03 AM.
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  2. #2
    Wayward Frogger Junior Tony C's Avatar
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    Great post Keith, I'll make this a sticky.
    Tony Casler

  3. #3
    Wonder Reptiles Junior katie_'s Avatar
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    We had a fire. Cat knocked a lamp onto the ground while we were in vegas.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith N View Post
    Here is the configuration that I currently use. I use a good surge supressor strip to plug in equipment into for power surge. I installed an AFCI breaker to protect anything that is plugged into the receptacles. Most people by heat tape and try to solder their own wires on. This where a lot of the problems arise. When you do not make a good solder connection the wire expands and contracts and as that does it it will slowly start to arc when it works itself loose. It will eventually heat itself enough to melt the wire and fires tend to start from there. I also installed a smoke detector and wired it to our smoke detectors in the house to alert us if a problem arises that the other safety nets did not catch

    You also need to check the wire size that you are plugging into. There is a major problem with the way some people are wiring some residential houses. A lot of houses we go back into are all wired in #12 or 20 amp wire with 20 amp breakers the problem is they are using 15 amp receptacles which 99% of the time would be o.k. for short periods of time as the receptacle would not heat up too much, but when you start plugging in multiple items in one receptacle it is usually for long periods which is where the major problem will arise.
    I realize this is an old post but im sure people still read it. You brought up some good points but there were also some statements that are not correct. The only difference between 15 and 20 amp receptacles is the plug you can fit in them, thats it. Each side of the receptacle is designed to carry up to 15 amps (technically you should only load a circuit up to 80% of its maximum load which would put you at 16 amps) which would equal 30 amps total and should obviously trip the circuit. Also there isn't one appliance that even comes close to drawing 15 amps or else it would have a 20 amp cord or it would be a specific item and probably require a separate circuit to begin with. A 20 amp receptacle allows you to plug in both a normal 15 amp cord | | and also a 20 amp | --

    hopefully the diagrams kind of make sense, that is what the cord ends look like.

    Also what were you referring to soldering? i've never seen or heard of anybody soldering any sort of electrical connections inside a house. the receptacles are made for a certain connection most have a screw on top that you wrap the wire around or some have a compression type connection. either way i wouldn't suggest soldering anything. When it comes to splicing if you think you need to solder a splice i suggest calling an electrician because that hasn't been standard practice in a very long time. Being and electrician i felt i needed to clear a few things up. Any additional questions please feel free to post up. Thanks,

    Jake
    Last edited by jski711; 02-01-2012 at 11:39 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Freshman Ozy's Avatar
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    Like my grandma always says.. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!"
    Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

    ~ Confucius

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