Power Cord Warning

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On Fri, 24 Jan 2014 12:05:06 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net"

Yes, indeed.
I am normally quite safety sensitive, so this was a wake-up call to think about safety a little more than I have apparently been doing lately!!!
I had a similar problem. Around 1980, on very cold nights, I supplemented the apt. building heat with an electric heater, no ext. cord needed.
Woke up one morning to find 1 or 2 inch flames coming from the heater plug, made of hard black rubber. I rarely panic, and this time I did the proper thing, reach for the cord to pull the plug out, I couldn't reach the plug itself, and even if I could, it was on fire! But a girl was between me and the cord and every time I reached for it, she grabbed my arm and pulled it back. I don't know why. The third time I was prepared, and I pushed my arm harder than she could pull it, and I pulled out the plug and the flame subsided almost immediately.
I had a six-room apt, building built in 1930, 50 years earlier, and I was sleeping in the maid's room, right off the kitchen. For some reason, the receptacle only had space for one plug, and the plug from the heater fit very loosely. That was my mistake, not paying enough attention to that. . I never used the heater there again but I still have it, and if I needed it, it would work fine in my 1979 receptacles. But I'll feel the plug, to make sure it's not hot.
Sometimes one can put a knife or small screwdriver in the plug prongs, if they are folded over, and spread each prong so it's thicker, but frankly that hasn't helped much.
I had used the heater at 15 or 20 times before in the 11 years I lived there, with no problems. Maybe it was waiting until there was a girl there, so I could watch her panic.
On another occaision, my car would stop and when I went out to jiggle the battery clamps, one was hot. From cranking the engine. That was the one that was loose and that was the reason the car stopped.
Hot may mean broken strands but it also can mean bad, loose, or dirty connection.
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Around here in the Chicago suburbs, when the first really good cold spell a rrives, we have more water main breaks than normal. It doesn't necessarily have to be frozen pipes, when the cold penetrates deep into the ground the pipes shrink slightly. If a run of pipes is straight and long, the tensio n from the shrinkage can cause the pipe to break at its weakest point. Tha t is why there will be some sort of a "S" bend periodically in a long pipe run, to allow for slight lengthening and shortening of the pipe length with out putting strong strain on the pipe.
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