electrical fires


Old 06-24-05, 10:59 AM
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electrical fires

I am just curious about what is the cause of most electrical fires. When problems do arise, what is the main cause? Is it usually from unliscensed work or from electricians? Just curious.

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Old 06-24-05, 11:07 AM
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Here's what the NFPA (National Fire Protection Assoc.) has to say:


Although, not directly electrical -- unattended cooking is the #1 cause of home fires. Many of those are electric ranges, hotplates, toasters, etc... Careful use of electricity is just as important as careful installation and maintenance.
Old 06-24-05, 05:59 PM
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I think if you read the NFPA you see that there's a whole lot of consumer carelessness to blame. It's pretty rare that a properly wired/protected circuit is a source of fire without a lot of external help. Like frayed cords, overloaded extensions, faulty appliances, etc, etc. There's only so much the NEC can do to counter stupidity.

and don't assume "licensed" is a guarantee of quality. I've seen too often that it just means they know the 'legal' shortcuts to get in and out quickly.

Old 06-26-05, 07:52 AM
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I have to agree with most that is posted here. However, since the 1999 NEC started talking about ARC Fault breakers and the advent of the protection of the ARC fault it possibly has stopped some of the issues with cords and frays and so on I wanted more to address the issue of licenses and so on.

For starters being licensed means nothing unless you have a tradeoff in experience and testing in my opinion. I know some friends who are not basically electricians in my mind but have it on their license as contractors simply because they said to the DPOR before it took over in 1995 that they had been doing electrical in a limited fashion for years...thus the state grandfathered them in...which in my opinion was wrong.

Second, I had to take a state wide test for both my journeymans and masters in two different code eras just to get " Licensed " on my profession and be an Electrical Contractor so to me experience is fine but TESTING puts the stress level higher and tests the mental knowledge versus the OLD SCHOOL mental approach.

Do I think all "grandfathered" electricians are bad...no not at all as I do know some who are awesome and would trust them totally but I have also run into some who have " slipped " throught the loop holes in licensing and I can venture to say because I know them....I would not let them wire up a switch leg.

Sad to say in VA their is no Continueing Education requirement right now other than verifying a statement when you renew your license that you have done some on going education...which again is voluntary and no one has a checks and balance on it.

I think it is very important to have " Licensed " and "Tested " Electricians doing the work but that again is a personal feeling, as for the work being safer I would say a good electrician is one that cares about the work he/she does and would actually loose sleep at night over things they know they did wrong and change it......But not knowing you did something wrong is human nature and we all make mistakes.....

But the common principles of Electricity should always apply and every good electrician or bad one for that matter should have a firm grip on the basics and understanding.....just in my opinion testing under STRESS of a statewide exam is the only way to know for sure...but again thats me.

Now some will say...bull crapola Mr. ElectricalMan....but those are usually ones that were grandfathered in and all I can say to them is you can still take the test......they will let you.....prove your worth and take the statewide test or hold your comments.....Does not mean I don't respect you...far from it as it is not my place to do so.......but to me I would prefer a TESTED under STRESS contractor than a grandfathered one.

But now I step off the soap box and say....even licensed electricians can do bad work....they become embelished in deadlines, overhead and project issues that fog the judgement and can lead to mistakes they might not normally make.

In closing, in VA as long as you have a Master Electrician as head of the company and a journeyman on the site you can have OTHER electricians on the job that are not licensed and it is perfectly legal..does that make them bad electricians....NO WAY as they could be quite GREAT ones and do great work....I am not by any means touting Licensing...what I attempted to clear was the unlicensed vs. licensed issues on safety.....my opinion stands and is not the opinion of the DIY Forum..only mine.....BUT as a NEC Instructor and Electrical Private Market Inspector...I have seen bad wiring from BOTH licensed and none-licensed.....so the title only HOPES to give us more security and in my mind it does IF testing has taken place....thus the loop hole.

Anyway I am a big believe in TESTING your knowledge not sitting on your accomplishments.

Ok...off the soap box now....

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