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19

Generally, it is a good idea to replace it, especially if you can easily access it. One thing you don't want to do, is replace part of a circuit. Then the next guy might see the new romex and make some assumptions about the rest of the wiring. The other time you really really should replace it is if it runs through insulation, especially blown-in cellulose. ...


19

I'd say it's a mark left by the plumber's torch while soldering the copper pipes rather than an electrical problem.


18

The advice my family once got from an electrician on this question was that if you have low amperage service and NEVER touch it, you're probably okay. If you have regular electrical service or touch the circuits at all, remove ALL of it. His basic theory was that if you keep the wires cool, and they haven't caused you trouble yet, it's unlikely to cause a ...


17

You didn't show the ballast, (the black boxy thing with all the wires coming out of it in the fixture) so my guess is that it went bad and some of the potting insulation around the coils of the ballast over heated and melted. (Since I cannot see the whole fixture I'm just guessing about that.) It looks like the black on the cover is a tar type residue but ...


17

Your local home improvement store will surely have a "fire safety" section. This will be the best place to buy, because the items are bulky and stored under pressure. This makes them expensive to ship. If you currently have no fire extinguishers, I would suggest at least 1 per floor. Keep one under the sink in the kitchen, and store the others mounted to ...


16

Myths abound about K&T, and lots of it is ripped out unnecessarily. The K&T wire is exactly as thick as modern wire, and was installed by skilled craftsmen using bulletproof soldered joints rather than plastic wire nuts. The ceramic tubes will outlast civilizations. With certain important exceptions your K&T will outlast the house itself, ...


15

From the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of Klean-StripĀ® Boiled Linseed Oil. Flammable Properties and Hazard RISK OF FIRE FROM SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION EXISTS WITH THIS PRODUCT. Oily rags, waste, and other oily materials can cause spontaneous combustion fires if not handled properly. Immediately after use, and before disposal or storage, you ...


15

To the best of my knowledge, the only fire retardation requirements that exist for a residence apply to slowing the spread of fire between connected units - say in a duplex or row home. In the case of your personal dwelling, there is almost no way to restrict the spread of fire within a residence without making it extremely inconvenient to navigate in your ...


11

Actually, there are different types of sprinkler systems. In lots of residential homes, a personal protection type system are being installed. These systems use existing water pressure and lower flow heads. The heads are not interconnected and only release water if the temp is high enough at the individual heads. The purpose is not to extinguish the fire, ...


10

In a single family residence, with the exception of a garage, I don't believe there are any codes concerning the spread of fire. There are requirements to have smoke detectors to notify you of a fire, and other requirements to avoid creating a fire, but not to stop it's spread. If there were, you'd need fire rated doors that seal to the floor between rooms, ...


10

The trouble with linseed oil, especially boiled linseed oil, is that it generates heat as it dries. If you leave BLO-soaked rags in a pile, the drying process proceeds but heat is trapped. The drying process accelerates as the rags warm up, and the temperature rises to the point of ignition. Spreading the rags out lets the heat escape so that the drying ...


8

I had this same situation. I made a (written) list of issues (with pictures) and gave it to the landlord. When it became clear that the landlord would not fix them, I called an inspector. It turned out that there was a completely different department overseeing residential safety inspection vs. building code inspection, but after getting that sorted, they ...


7

Concurring mostly with Some Guy's answer here -- the reason why I take an aggressive tone in my other answers regarding FPE is because many of the OPs are coming to us because they want to do something to the breaker box, such as adding a new circuit or replacing a breaker that "died". Trouble Brews in the Panel I will start by linking my main source here, ...


6

A house in San Carlos CA, Having 50% knob-and-tube, 50% 1980 romex: Insurance was no problem: No company cared (I ended up getting it from Travelers, via GEICO). So, I wouldn't let the insurance stories scare you until you pick up the phone and ask. What they do care about is the type of Circuit breakers you have. The modern ones that look like switches, or ...


6

to avoid fire you can do a few things: remove fuel: not as easy, but washing the rags and disposing of the waste water properly should reduce the risk here remove air: storing the rags in a sealed can or under sand or submerged in water (you can add detergent to wash them at the same time) will take care of that remove heat: if you keep the rags under the ...


6

They make Dryer Vent Cleaning Kits for this very purpose: As to why there is water in there - hopefully it's just condensation.


6

What Danny said - someone didn't use a flame shield while soldering the pipe. The soldering process involves blasting the copper pipe with a hot flame until the lead solder melts: A RESPONSIBLE plumber will use a flame retardant barrier while soldering. Whoever did your pipes just chose not to and nearly burned down your house. Sorry, so to answer your ...


6

Assuming you are asking about US residential biphase 240 volt wiring (or equivelant), then there is nothing wrong with reversing the black and red wires.


5

You could not just have asked a question that would start a simple debate, like who will win the Superbowl next year. There is not a reason to replace the panel in a panic. It has worked this long, there is no reason to expect it to fail. Replace it when you can comfortably afford it. Yes, you almost certainly have FPE breakers. Instead you threw a ...


4

There may be issues with your insurance company. I recently bought a house and asked two insurance companies about the knob-and-tube wiring. Liberty Mutual said that they would insure the house, but would require that the knob-and-tube wiring be removed within 30 days by an electrician. Met Life said that they would not be able to insure the house until ...


4

You should read up on what your legal rights (and responsibilities) are. Most landlord/tenant law in the US is at the state level, but your city and county may have additional rules. Most states have an easy-to-read summary of rental housing laws, and many major cities (including Baltimore, it seems) provide additional protection for tenants. You should also ...


3

I have been researching this subject and it seems like its pretty cheap to add sprinklers during the construction stage. If I was building a house I wouldn't hesitate for even a second to install one. I don't understand why someone wouldn't do if given a choice. Moreover I think it should be mandatory for all new construction. I'm currently saving up money ...


3

The way fire insert stoves work is relatively simple in conversion. You cut the damper out of the fireplace, run stainless steel pipe (6" dia.) up the inside of the chimney. The lengths are held together with 3-6 sheetmetal screws so this is an actual inside pipe assembly and it hangs off a sheetmetal cap that covers the top of the chimney and is silicone ...


3

The ballast failed because of arcing caused by an incorrect connection. IE your elecrical tape connection was loose and over time the small contact points increased in resistance. This could have been prevented by following code and installing a wire nut instead of twisting the wires together and taping them.


3

I had this problem for awhile with my recently installed hardwired detectors. At first I started replacing the batteries figuring maybe the ones included in the box were old (who knows how long they were sitting on the shelf at the store?). Then it kept happening even on some of the detectors that I had already replaced the battery with a fresh one so I ...


3

Take a walk through with the home inspector and see what he says. If you are still interested in the house, find a good general contractor (that you trust) and take him on a walk through. The contractor should be able to give you a good estimate on what it will cost to fix any issues, he may also give you some price breaks if you are willing to let him ...


3

As BMitch and The Evil Greebo both point out, you may not be required to seal the penetrations. However, if for your own peace of mind you wanted to do it, here is what I'd do. Install a single gang electrical box on each side of the wall (not back to back. And don't use low voltage boxes for this application). Connect the boxes using flexible metallic (or ...


3

An Oily Rags Bucket is not just a metal bucket with a lid, nor is it sealed, ever (explosions are worse than a fire). It is a specially designed container incapable of being left open while it remains upright. The top handle keeps it from opening past a 45 degree angle; self closing. The means of disposal may differ, however the safe storage of oily rags ...


2

Yes definitely. In some spots, knob and tube is a deal breaker for a house sale and must be replaced before the house is sold. It's fairly dangerous to have around, even more so if it's brittle. I'd hire an electrician if you're not comfortable replacing it all yourself.



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