It can also be caused by high power use devices which turn on or off, such as the air conditioner or refrigerator. Past recalls have included power strips or surge protectors which turned out to be defective or faulty and may have increased the risk for a surge protector fire.
Consumers should periodically check recall websites to ensure that their products are not listed as dangerous. By following a few safety tips and staying alert, the danger of surge protector fires or other electrical hazards can be avoided.
Sometimes, it takes a long time for a company to recall a potentially dangerous product. A report filed on the CPC public database details an incident that took place Dec. 24, 2011, involving one of the now-recalled Schneider units.
The incident report to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said this APC surge protector “started crackling” before it caught fire and filled the room with smoke. No one was injured in this 2011 incident, but there were small burn holes in the floor. Today By the time I reached the top of the stairs smoke was filling the room and I saw my girlfriend standing over the surge protector while it was on fire.
The APC Surgeries surge protectors involved in this recall were made in China and the Philippines. The devices plug into the wall and are supposed to protect electronics from power surges.
“In all but a fraction of these cases, the inquiry was resolved with no property damage and the consumer was provided with a replacement product,” the statement said. We could not reach anyone from the CPC; the agency’s public affairs office is closed because of the government shutdown.
“If you smell something or feel something that's extremely hot, stop using it and find out why it’s acting up,” advised John Greenberg, director of consumer safety at Underwriters Labs. Update the question, so it's on-topic for Home Improvement Stack Exchange.
What would happen if you plug one of those 120 volt unit into 240 volts ac outlet (say accidentally of course). Would the thermal disconnector activates preventing the burn up of the MOVE element or would the MOVE and plastic casing catch fire. A surge protector was the chief suspect in a February fire that started in the home office of Michelle de Putron.
Her heart had to be restarted by rescue workers, who were unable to resuscitate DE Patron’s dog, Perry Mason. A San Jose fireman was injured when he stepped into a hole the surge protector burned in the into the floor of her office.
“This time of year, with holiday decorating, we put a little more emphasis on overloading circuits,” said Alex Filip, a spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. “We realize very few people are able to calculate the number of ohms or watts the unit they are going to plug in is going to take, but they do have limits,” Filip said.
My wife’s synthesizer, amplifier and mixer and another electronic instrument were plugged into an APC Surgeries made in 1996. A second early vintage Surgeries connected a computer and television in another room Last year, Schneider Electric announced a voluntary recall of approximately 15 million APC Surgeries surge protectors made before 2003, following reports of fires caused by the devices.
Schneider will replace them for free (http://recall.apc.com/en), and based on complaints of fires this year, there are plenty of these devices still in use. In a complaint to the CPC last month, a couple reported that they awoke at 2 a.m. on Sept. 6 “smelling wires burning.” They shut off power and searched their house, finally discovering a burned APC surge protector behind their entertainment center.
“It burned our carpet, part of the entertainment center and ruined our DVD and stereo system that were plugged into the unit,” the couple reported. The recalled and improperly used power strips in my home may have left me vulnerable to a fire similar to the one that nearly killed her.
“I had just set a little TV right here on their dresser,” Lizzie's mom, Rebecca Steinmetz, pointed to the top of the chest of drawers. The burn marks resulting from the fire only stopped when Lizzie's dad unplugged the Welkin surge protector from the outlet.
A call to Welkin, one of the biggest names in consumer electronics, did little to reassure her the company would look into the cause of the fire. Fire hazard,” reads one Amazon review posted in 2010, along with pictures of a charred, black, melted plug of the same model Welkin surge protector.
Earlier this year, Amazon stopped selling the six-outlet commercial surge protector with a rotating plug. When Steinmetz filed a claim for the damage to her furniture, Welkin asked for the device, so they could analyze it to find out what went wrong.
Since Rater knew Welkin had requested the device, he didn't continue with more invasive tests that would have made it difficult for the company's analysis. “I'd like to understand the failure mechanism, so I could guard against it in the future,” Rater said, imagining he were in Welkin's position.
Polk said, “We cannot send the device back,” so Rater lost the opportunity to continue his own tests. Welkin also refused to tell Channel 2 Investigates how many complaints it has received of fires started from the devices since 2011.
On the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website, PRC 2 found five reports since 2012, not counting Steinmetz's fire. When buying a surge protector, experts said buyers should always look to make sure it's UL-certified and has at least 600 joules, the minimum amount needed to protect most electronics in a home.
While they wouldn't tell PRC 2 why, we know that Home Depot, where Steinmetz purchased her surge protector, has since stopped selling it. But despite being commonplace in the home, these little plastic gadgets can be extremely dangerous when used improperly or when they malfunction.
According to the ASFI, over 3,300 home fires originate in extension cords and power strips each year, killing 50 people and injuring 270 more. After hearing harrowing stories from our customers of burn-outs and near-catastrophes stemming from extension cords, we want to make sure everyone knows the best practices they should follow to minimize the risks.
Most devices like phone chargers, TVs, clock radios, hair dryers, and laptop computers won’t come anywhere close to drawing that much power, so if you’re mostly just plugging in smaller appliances into your power strips, you’re probably pretty safe. Before you plug any of these appliances into a power strip, glance over the packaging or do some research on the manufacturer website to make sure the math checks out.
The wires inside power strips tend to be cheap and lower quality than the wires you find in your walls, so when you start chaining power strips, you lose a lot of electricity capacity in the process. Plugging in an appliance with high power usage will heat up those low-quality wires until they burst into flames.
We can ’t always be at home to watch over our power strips 24/7, so for the moments when we’re not around, smoke detectors can pick up the slack. Smoke detectors are most effective when combined with a security system and alarm monitoring to ensure fast response times from police and fire departments.
They’re supposed to protect your computer in case there’s a lightning strike or a power surge, right? Over-Voltage Fire It turns out that the MOVE’s (Metal-Oxide Various) that are used in Surge protectors offer a short to higher voltages but the usual 120 volts pass right on through to your equipment.
Most plug-strip housings don’t come apart easily, you might be better off just getting a plain old non- surge protected plug strip. If you can get your plug strip apart you can just clip out the MOVE, but be sure you do this with the strip unplugged, and be sure you insulate the old leads with electrical tape, so they don’t short out.