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Country Discussion Topics
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What kind of breakers in your boxes?
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DeadCarp    Posted 01-06-2003 at 07:59:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
If your house was wired 30 years ago, and you have either Zinsco or FPE circuit breakers in the box, this might be worth a read -- might even prevent a house fire :)

Spence    Posted 01-06-2003 at 14:31:39       [Reply]  [No Email]
DC I don't think 30 years isn't that bad really and can't say for sure but I think the mice hate the asphalt romex more than the modern vinyl.
Whats scary is the war time cable that I see used
in some of the older homes, but not in mine. You peel back the sheathing, and bend the wire and the insulation crumbles.

My breakers are square D and my main is 200A.
That feeds my older home, and there is a main cable from there to my granny suite, it looks like 3 wire #4. In that suite there's another electric range, and a 60Gal water heater supplies both units.

I'm thinking of adding a basement 1 bedroom
bachelor apartment in the granny suite. Just in case I'm running the limit on my service, I think I'll use gas for the kitchen stove down there.

fredo    Posted 01-06-2003 at 15:10:16       [Reply]  [Send Email]
in the next TWP. over[charter],you cannot install any gas appliances below ground level. ie basements and such. not in our TWP. but can see it comming. anywhere else in USA like that?

Spence    Posted 01-07-2003 at 06:58:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks, I'll remember that. Sounds like
bureaucrat legislation to me. After a while home
owning, you get to tell the difference between that and reasoned,logical,experienced and well thought out stuff.

Scott Hansen    Posted 01-06-2003 at 12:15:35       [Reply]  [Send Email]
What good would cycling them several times once a year do?

dig    Posted 01-06-2003 at 12:23:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
Some people claim it helps keep them from corroding. I read somewhere that all breakers should be cycled a few times at least twice a year to maintain a good electrical contact and clean all the moving parts.

Manitoba    Posted 01-06-2003 at 10:28:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
Does FPE stand for Federal Pioneer..???

DeadCarp    Posted 01-06-2003 at 12:46:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
What kind of power do you use in Canada? Is it 220 volt? In Australia they use 220, and their fuses (look like porcelain breakers) have 2 screws on the side, and you just get a roll of fuse wire (2 different guages available at most stores), pull the fuse out, install a new wire between the screws, and snap it back in the box. Weird, but they're simple & work nice. :)

Bob /Ont.    Posted 01-06-2003 at 13:21:10       [Reply]  [Send Email]
DC. all of North America is on the same grid and in sync with the 60 cycles. Household power is 220/110 like yours. We do have some higher industrial voltage that is different than you have though. Europe and OZ use 220volt but it's 50 cycle.
Later Bob

bil b va    Posted 01-06-2003 at 11:28:52       [Reply]  [No Email]

i think its federal pacific

Farmer Wantabe    Posted 01-06-2003 at 09:19:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
Willy N hit that one on the head. For years, reputable electricans have been telling people to replace those type breakers and panels. No electrician around here will touch them with a ten foot pole except to replace them with new.

Willy-N    Posted 01-06-2003 at 08:13:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
Don't even have to read that!! Been changing out those for years now. They are both bad breakers and have big problems with the way they hook into the buss. They cause a lot of problems other than fires. Makes 220 problems with one pole sizzeling out and loseing a conection. The Zinsco's burn big chunks out of the bars and get real hot along with FPE old style they are bad and should be changed out as soon as you can. I have seen big holes burned in the back of panels because of them. Mix them with allumin wire and fire problems big time!! Mark H.

DeadCarp    Posted 01-06-2003 at 12:30:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
While we have you handy Willy, how about picking your brain a little? Having been in the trades years ago, i had a couple close calls with juice - outside of notches fried in my wire cutters, i guess i remember the ones involving little kids for some reason.

Once a gal wanted some paneling on one wall, so we went to prep for it and while Bob got the outside stuff setup, i started pulling the receptacle covers, tilted the plugs down and took the pictures off the wall. Well, one clown picture belonged to this little girl so she went to get it out of our way so it wouldn't get hurt or anything - i was just outside and heard a BZZZT and the little girl started crying - turned out, the picture hangar wire was draped over some plug wires i'd just exposed, and when she moved it, they shorted it out. Luckily, nobody was hurt but it sure gets everybody's attention!

And our new (1-yr-old) grandson has a nasty habit of chewing on everything - including light cords! First of all, am i correct in assuming that a GFI receptacle would take the hazard clear out of both these situations?

And if i may - If we were sitting over coffee and i asked you what are the biggest electrical hazards in the average home, what would you say?

Willy-N    Posted 01-06-2003 at 17:18:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
Several things come to mind. To large of bulbs in the fixtures over heat thebox and cook the wires into the ceilings too the point of crumlbleing bare. Extention cords on heaters is another big problem!! Most people do not relise a breaker can be ruined in a short circuit. It causes a large arc in the contacts and make them not work the same afterwards might take more or less amps to trip them next time. Over loads are different they warm up the breaker and trip it but short circuits create lots of heat. Remember what it dose to a set of pliers?? It will do the same thing in the breaker to. After a bad short circuit you should change the breaker out but nobody dose. Then they wonder why they get hot when loads are on them for a while. Loose plugs are another big problem. Most of the time when I would go to fix a problem with several plugs not working it would be the one the Vacume uses all the time. They wear out after a while do to being pluged in and out alot. They also tend to loosen the wires up on the quick wire push in type and a wire will pop out and break the conection. Your story reminded me of a problem at a house once. They kept tripping the breaker and called me to find the problem. They thought a squirrel chewed the wires in the wall?? I found the problem it was a extion cord draped over a coat hook on the wall and it had come part way un/pluged and shorted out the prongs on the cord. Cost around 120.00 to find that one!! The list go on and on. Been finding problems for the last 30+ years in the electrical trade and still have not seen it all yet. Mark H.

Red Dave    Posted 01-06-2003 at 14:46:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
GFI recptacles will NOT take the hazard out of those situations.
If your grandson chews through a two wire light cord, even if it is plugged into a GFCI protected outlet, he can still be injured or killed. Ground Fault Circut Interupters can only protect against certain ground fault hazards. GFCI's trip when current flows somewhere it is not supposed to, such as through a grounded bathtub or power tool.
In the case of the light cord, current may flow from the hot conductor to the neutral conductor through the childs mouth. A GFCI would not see that as a fault since current is supposed to flow from hot to neutral. In that case, the GFCI would not protect him.
In the case of the picture hanger, it would depend on which two wires were shorted.
GFCI's are wonderful and I put them many places they are not required by code, but they have limitations.

I ain't Willy but ......Cur Mudgeon    Posted 01-06-2003 at 12:54:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
According to our local Fire Marshall, whom I have the honor of escorting through my workplace every year, the biggest hazards in home and office is the improper use of extension cords. This is according to their after the fire investigations.

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