Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Over the past several months – in counties all over Jersey – there has been a significant spike in home and apartment fires.
No one is sure why this is happening, but many fire officials think the increase may be tied to the economic downturn- where people have been more willing to put off fixing or upgrading the electric wiring in their homes, because it’s so expensive.
New Jersey state Fire Marshal Bill Kramer says “we don’t have the data yet to make a comparison (on how many fires there have been this year compared to previous ones” but older homes or apartments can have sub-standard electrical wiring, and if you find yourself having to reset – or your breakers are tripping on a regular basis – and it’s the same breaker all the time – that’s a problem – that circuit is overloaded and you need to either find out where that circuit is and unload it or have an electrician come in and upgrade your service or add more outlets.” Read More
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Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Faulty Circuit Breakers In Thousands of Homes
May Cause Serious Fires
Circuit breakers are designed to keep you, your family and your property safe from fire, some breakers might not only fail to protect your family, they may cause a fire.
“There’s thousands of them out there,” Clifton, N.J. Fire Chief Vince Colavitti told NBC 4 New York's I-Team. “It’s a ticking bomb waiting to happen.”
The breakers, mostly found in homes built before 1990, were made by Federal Pacific Electric and there are thousands of these breakers that are still installed in homes today.
Circuit breakers are designed to trip during an overload or short circuit, if the breaker doesn't trip, the increasing current causes excessive heat and can ignite a fire. Any circuit breaker can fail however Federal Pacific has the reputation of an extreme failure rate. Any competent Electrical Contractor would always suggest that Federal Pacific Electric breakers and panels be changed..
Home inspectors and some insurance companies are aware of problems with Federal Pacific Electric breakers. Some insurance companies refuse to cover homes that have the breakers. Some Municipalities also notify Homeowners of the dangers and suggest that the electric panels be changed.
According to fire investigators, the Federal Pacific Electric breaker in Clarissa Rosario's New Jersey home did not trip when overheated wires were burning in the ceiling between her bedroom and the attic. “I saw the light flickering and I thought it wasn't normal,” said Rosario. “When I opened the attic, it was full of smoke.”
Engineer Jesse Aronstein has been studying the breakers for decades. He has testified in lawsuits against the company and published reports about the failures. According to his research, Federal Pacific Electric breakers may be associated with as many as 2,800 electrical fires each year in the U.S.
“People should know that these have a high defect rate and should be advised to have them replaced,” said Aronstein. Read More
May is Electrical Safety Month !!!
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