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Old 11-26-2008, 06:17 PM   #16
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why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire?


Alot of electrical fires are from loose connections, and commonly, people putting 30 a fuses in because they "fit".

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Old 11-26-2008, 07:19 PM   #17
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why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire?


Hey, thanks for the info on exercising circuit breakers. I think I read that a long time ago, but had long since forgotten it. I have been doing a lot of work around the house, so all of my breakers have been exercised within the last year, if not 6mos.

Before we had the 200Amp CH panel, we had a 100A FP. Those breakers wouldn't trip anywhere near their rated current.
I once did a test, using a clamp-on ammeter and measured 25A of current through a 15A breaker for more than an hour. I don't recall exactly when the breaker finally tripped, but IMO, it was much much longer than it should have taken.
Then, Federal Pacific breakers have been known to be way out of tolerance, and have been the cause of numerous fires.
I don't believe those type are sold anymore.
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:54 PM   #18
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why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire?


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Originally Posted by KE2KB View Post
Hey, thanks for the info on exercising circuit breakers. I think I read that a long time ago, but had long since forgotten it. I have been doing a lot of work around the house, so all of my breakers have been exercised within the last year, if not 6mos.

Before we had the 200Amp CH panel, we had a 100A FP. Those breakers wouldn't trip anywhere near their rated current.
I once did a test, using a clamp-on ammeter and measured 25A of current through a 15A breaker for more than an hour. I don't recall exactly when the breaker finally tripped, but IMO, it was much much longer than it should have taken.
Then, Federal Pacific breakers have been known to be way out of tolerance, and have been the cause of numerous fires.
I don't believe those type are sold anymore.

A nightmare would be an fpe with aluminum wire...

Heres a link about federal pacific fires (with pics)

http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/fpefire.htm
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:03 PM   #19
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why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire?


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I believe this is why they invented arc fault circuit breakers.
I believe that arc fault breakers were invented so as to increase sales for some agressive manufacturers. They employed lobbyists to push for changes to the Code so we would all be forced into buying them.

We've been the guinea pigs for this fiasco.
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:51 AM   #20
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why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire?


Arc fault won't prevent a fire from a low amperage resistive heating situation anyway.

Think of it this way, a 20 watt light bulb has a white hot element in it, and that's not arcing or drawing more than a couple hundred milliamps.

There's no magic bullet for fire prevention.
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:14 AM   #21
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why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire?


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...There's no magic bullet for fire prevention.
Persactly.
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:08 PM   #22
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why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire?


I would hesitate to recommend exercising old breakers. Not that I disagree with the concept, but it's been my experience that breakers (ESPECIALLY Federal Pacifics) that have sat there for decades won't reclose after you trip them. Then you're stuck with a box that you can't find breakers for.

Particularly if you live in an area with fire ants (they love electrical devices) and gum them up regularly.
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Old 11-27-2008, 09:14 PM   #23
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why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire?


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I would hesitate to recommend exercising old breakers. Not that I disagree with the concept, but it's been my experience that breakers (ESPECIALLY Federal Pacifics) that have sat there for decades won't reclose after you trip them. Then you're stuck with a box that you can't find breakers for.

Particularly if you live in an area with fire ants (they love electrical devices) and gum them up regularly.
I'd rather a homeowner exercise their old breakers and possibly end up with the problem of not being able to reset them...Because they're obviously faulty to some degree...Than have them not trip when they need to. Not exercising them due to that possibility is like not changing the oil in the car because the oil fill cap might not go back on.
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:25 AM   #24
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why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire?


True enough!
I stand corrected
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:32 AM   #25
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why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire?


We had a job several years ago in a Bulldog panel:

I was called in to replace a breaker for a dryer circuit. Simple job, really. But since I was dealing with an old Bulldog panel, I switched off the main before attempting to change out the breaker. Bulldogs are bolt-in, and very dangerous to work on while hot. I have a half-burned thru screwdriver in my collection to attest to this.

Anyways, when I was done, the main breaker would not turn back on.

Bulldogs have been obsolete for some time, even back then and I had to do an emergency service panel changeout to restore power to this guys house!

This occured at the last call of the day (of course!) around 4PM. I ended up working until after 9 PM that day, missed out on a Code change seminar that I had already paid for, and had one unhappy customer who had to fork over hundreds of dollars to replace a panel that he thought was just fine that morning.

Certainly, that main breaker was bad from the get-go, it just had to be me that stumbled across it the hard way it would appear.
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Old 11-28-2008, 07:51 PM   #26
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why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire?


It's true that there are no more FPE breakers made anymore but American Electric makes a replacement for them.
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:38 PM   #27
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why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire?


Federal Pioneer makes breakers that directly replace the old FPE stab-loks.

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