GFI Caused a Fire!

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On Thu, 27 Jun 2013 12:32:21 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"
replaced a circuit panel box for a friend, a couple years ago. We took out a FPE Stabloc, and put in something modern. Probably saved his life. And his wife and two kids. I could have sprayed all the neutrals and aluminum connctions with that stuff. Well, next time....

Just remember - if you use LPS and there IS an arc, you have a fire. That stuff is pretty flammable. It is a light petroleum base. A bit of a "catch 22".
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On Thu, 27 Jun 2013 00:43:06 -0500, The Daring Dufas

Just saying - over 40 years with "series 2" aluminum wiring and standard devices (not CoAlr or the previous version of "aluminum compatible" )and not a single sign of corrosion, degradation, or any other problems when replacing all the devices with CoAlr to satisfy insurance inspection. Never a single problem other than 2 outlets that lost contact tension and were replaced about 7? years ago.
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On 06/26/2013 10:12 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Can you use pigtails in Canada? (e.g. purple wire nuts with copper pigtails) that could be another option if for whatever reason it is inconvenient to use the breakers)
nate
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wrote:

You CAN use pigtails - with either the expensive crimp-on system or the bi-metal wire nuts - but the wire nut pigtails in particular are actually more problematic than a non-CoAlr device directly on the aluminum wire.(assuming second generation aluminum)
Box fill also quickly becomes a problem (which contributes to the problems with nutted pigtails)
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On 7/9/2013 10:40 AM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Probably not much 2nd generation wire around. But the UL testing for CoAlr devices is done with it.
There was extensive research done on aluminum connections for the CPSC. The engineer that did the research did not like the only wire nuts that are UL listed for aluminum (Ideal 65?). He preferred 3M ScotchLoks, after abrading the wire to remove oxide and adding antioxide paste. Wire nuts installed that way are quite reliable, and certainly better than some of the non-CoAlr devices.
He now recommends King Innovation AlumiConn connectors.
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wrote:

The alumiconns are the ones that require a trained, licences, and certified installer and cost about $10 each installed???

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On 7/10/2013 1:54 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That is COPALUM, which is an AMP product, and I suspect there are not many installers left.
With AlumiConn the connection is made with a set screw. http://www.electricalmarketplace.com/products/electrical-products/wire-connectors/alumiconn/alumiconn-aluminum-to-copper-lug.html?gclid=CPDh2sbXp7gCFe4-MgodtmsAxw It appears to be a good splice when made according to the manufacturer's instructions. It is also UL and ULC listed for aluminum.
The current recommendations for aluminum connections by the engineer in my previous post is at http://www.kinginnovation.com/pdfs/ReducingFire070706.pdf
In merry old England wire nuts have not been used in a long time, and I think AlumiConns are similar to what is used for all small branch circuit splices.
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On 07/11/2013 12:08 PM, bud-- wrote:

So what is currently used in England for wire splices in house wiring? the push in "chocolate block" things? I've seen them used in LV applications but they seem too close to a backstab receptacle for me to feel really comfortable with them.
Not really in any way pertinent to anything I'll be doing any time soon, but I just find this stuff interesting.
nate
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wrote:

Cheaper than a COPALUM at about $3.50 each locally, and more secure than a wire nut and not as much of an issue for box fill issues

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*I surmise that the GFI receptacle had loose connections and that there was a considerable load on the wiring. That would cause the arcing which would ignite any combustible materials in direct contact or in very close proximity.
As RBM pointed out the GFI is not designed for this type of protection, but an arc fault circuit breaker is.
Does this house have smoke detectors?
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On 6/26/2013 5:28 AM, John Grabowski wrote:

And if that is what happened the GFCI wasn't any more responsible for the fire than if the same thing happened with an ordinary receptacle.
I wonder how much of the GFCI was left for the fire marshal to determine what happened.

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wrote:

It was there. I saw it - together with his written report hanging from it. I saw it too.
me

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On 6/26/2013 8:33 AM, bud-- wrote:

Yep, the four legged type that barks. ^_^
TDD
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On Wed, 26 Jun 2013 07:28:10 -0400, "John Grabowski"

Yes. Though he never mentioned that one went off. Seems like a detector should have detected all that smoke. Maybe he had detector(s) in the house proper, but not on the porch enclosure on the rear. The smoke did not get into the house until he actually opened from the inside of the house one of the sliders from the house onto the porch, at which time the sliding doors actually exploded and blew into the house. At that point the black smoke inundated the house proper. So I'll bet he had no detector on the porch. I'll have to ask. Now that I think about that, I don't either. My enclosed sun porch was built after the house. As soon as I can, I am going to add one to my porch for sure.
me
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On Wed, 26 Jun 2013 07:28:10 -0400, "John Grabowski"

It had at least one four legged one.
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On Wednesday, June 26, 2013 6:37:26 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@b.c wrote:

Now I'm really going to burst your bubble.
You know all those years you were sleeping well because you thought your GFCI's were protecting you against a short and/or a fire? Well, you shouldn't have been sleeping that well because a GFCI won't do either.
You really should read up on how GFCI's work and what they do and don't protect against so that you are not living under incorrect assumptions.
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On Wednesday, June 26, 2013 3:37:26 AM UTC-7, snipped-for-privacy@b.c wrote:

1.    Did the fire start inside the electrical box of the GFCI or a circuit coming or leaving it? 2.    Was the electrical box metal or plastic and was it in a wet location and if so was it an outdoor box? 3.    Was the line connected to the box Romex or was it inside a conduit and if it was inside a conduit was it a EMT or rigid or PVC and was it in a wet location?
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On Wed, 26 Jun 2013 07:08:04 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I don't know

plastic box not in a wet location (was on the wall between the porch addition and the roofed open deck behind it)

I don't know. I'll bet Romex, not in conduit.
Your questions are all germane to the issue and certainly should be answered. Thanks for response. me
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snipped-for-privacy@b.c wrote:

Hi, My first impression, where is fire/smoke detector? Poor install(stab wiring?) cheap GFCI product? Overloaded circuit? Thank the dog, it could be worse.
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On Wed, 26 Jun 2013 06:37:26 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@b.c wrote:

GFI devices do NOT protect either the wiring or the house. They are not designed or intended to. They are to protect YOU and others from shock in the event of a malfunctioning device (power leakage to case).
An "arc fault" detector MAY have prevented the fire - as that is what they are designed to do. How effective they are, I don't know.
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