Soot Damage From Gas Logs

Although it has been several years since we’ve seen sooting damage from a set of gas logs, it still occurs. The main problem is that soot is created when a fuel such as natural gas or propane is burned incompletely.  That is, there is a lack of air mixed with the gas and as a result, carbon is not completely burned.  The excess carbon then appears as soot on solid surfaces.  Appliances, like gas logs units, that advertise the appearance of a realistic wood fire tend to burn with a yellow flame.  The yellow flame is an indication that the fuel is not burned completely.  Some older readers might remember when gas appliances, including log sets, were made to burn with a blue flame.  A blue flame indicated that your appliance was operating as efficiently as possible.  When the flame turned yellow, this was owner’s cue to have the appliance checked.  This is no longer true and hasn’t been true for at least 30 years.  As a result, homeowners don’t have any warning as to when their appliances need attention.  Many of the log sets made today come equipped with what is known as an oxygen depletion sensor.  The device is supposed to shut the log set off if the oxygen in the space drops to a point below what is required to operate the set.  In reality, soot can be produced before the oxygen level drops to an unacceptable level.  This is because the sensor does not sense oxygen, it senses heat from the pilot.  As long as the pilot is producing a flame and the sensor is detecting the heat, the main gas valve will remain open.

Scholarship Award Winners

2015 Scholarship Award Winners

No Applicants

2014 Scholarship Award Winners

Autumn Douthitt

Chemical Engineering

Tennessee Technological University

 

Caitlin Richey

Civil Engineering

Tennessee Technological University

Ceiling Fan Recall

A recall for Casablanca Ceiling fans has been discovered for a simple yet dangerous fault.  30,000 fans have been recalled because the fan motor and blades can separate from the adapter when it is used in updraft mode.  This won’t come as a surprise to many but, the fans were manufactured in China.  This is yet another example of the kind of poor manufacturing process that results in the erosion of public confidence.  How does something like the separation of the fan motor from its adapter escape scrutiny from quality control (assuming they have a quality control department) so as to put the consumer in danger?  Adding insult to injury, the recall affects 12 fan styles and 43 different models of Casablanca ceiling fans that were manufactured between 2013 and 2014.  The recalled styles are: Aris, Bel Air, Bullet, Caneel Bay, Heritage, Isotope, Riello, Stealth, Tecera, Trident, Whitman, and Zudio.  The recalled models are: 59018, 59019, 59020, 59021, 59022, 59023, 59057, 59059, 59060, 59061, 59062, 59064, 59065, 59068, 69069, 59070, 59076, 59077, 59078, 59081, 59082, 59083, 59090, 59091, 59092, 59093, 59094, 59105, 59106, 59107, 59109, 59110, 59111, 59113, 59114, 59119, 59121, 59123, 59124, 59164, 59165, 59527, 59528.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there have been eight reports of falling fan motors and fan blades with one report of a minor injury and one report of minor property damage.  Consumers should stop using the fans and contact Casablanca for a free in-home and repair.  Casablanca can be contacted by calling 1-855-800-3789.  Consumers should also be aware that the recalled models are associated with certain date codes.  The date code can be found on the top of the motor housing near the center where the vertical support rod attaches to the motor housing.  The date code is a four digit code with the last two digits being a “13” or “14”.  The recall specifically applies to those fans manufactured in 2013 or 2014 and with a catalog number of “A01”.  For Isotope models 59018, 59019,, 59020, 59021, 59022, and 59023, the canopy ring has to be removed in order to identify the product. These particular products also have a green dot that is part of the identification of the recalled units.

After having said all of the above,  the procedure that a consumer has to go through is not only time-consuming and troublesome but, can be frustrating.  Keep in mind that because the manufacturer is a Chinese company, holding the company responsible might be very difficult. The consumer has to depend on the American distributor, in this case, Casablanca, to make good on the inspections and repairs.  For many, this means relying on Casablanca’s representative to be truthful and honest about their findings.  If things don’t go as expected, the consumer could end up with a useless fan.  Unless there is a substantial amount of damage or injury involved, filing a lawsuit is usually not a practical option.  Consumers can file complaints with the CPSC and Better Business Bureau which could affect the company’s business reputation but, usually not enough to cause any significant change.  Another way to hit a manufacturer where it counts is to post unfavorable reviews on social media.  Enough of a following can affect sales, negatively!  The last recourse is to replace the fan at the consumer’s expense, chalk the whole thing up to a bad experience and go on with life.

 

 

Craigslist and Recalled Products

ABC News has reported that Craigslist is allowing users to post ads in an attempt to sell recalled products. It is against the law to knowingly sell recalled items.  Please be careful when purchasing any manufactured item, whether from Craigslist, Ebay, or any other forum where products are offered on an “as is” condition.  Before you buy do a little homework; it might save you a lot of pain in the future.  Get the name of the manufacturer, model and serial numbers.  Go to the manufacturer’s website and check for a recall on the item.  If you can’t find the item, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website; www.cpsc.gov to see if they have any recalls for the product.  By law, manufacturers are required to report defects to the CPSC as soon as they learn about a problem.  If you find a recalled product – STAY AWAY FROM IT!  Remember, products are recalled because there is the possibility of personal injury or property damage or both.  In either case, working through a serious injury or property damage can be expensive and time consuming.

What’s Going on With Carrier and Goodman?

 

For a number of years, the Carrier Corporation has been manufacturing air conditioning equipment and selling their products all over the world.  Virtually everyone in the HVAC industry and a large part of the consuming public is familiar with the Carrier name.  To a lesser extent, the Goodman Company has also been manufacturing air conditioning equipment.  Although the Goodman Company is not was well known as Carrier, the two companies manufacture some of the same products.  Case in point: packaged terminal air conditioning units or PTACs as they are more commonly known.  These are units that are commonly found in motel rooms.  Recently, both companies recalled some of their PTAC units, Carrier on December 22, 2015 and Goodman on February 17, 2016.  But, the most troubling commonality is that the recalls are for the same problem.  That is, both companies recalled their products because their PTACS were equipped with line cords that could overheat and pose a burn hazard to consumers.  The only reason that line cords overheat is because they are sized too small for the unit’s load; i.e. the unit is drawing more current than the line cord can handle.  How does that happen?  This problem is not something that has been recently discovered.  It is not something that belongs to new technology innovations.  Any company that has been manufacturing an electrical device for any length of time has to know full well what the consequences are of undersized wiring for a specific load.  So, again how do companies like Carrier and Goodman get it wrong?  If the problem can’t be in the lack of knowledge, it has to be in the manufacturing process.  Maybe it’s time for some worker retraining.

Product Recalls

Ford Ranger:

The Ford Motor Company has recalled nearly 400, 000 year model 2004-2006 Ford Ranger vehicles manufactured between March 24, 2003 and May 4, 2006.  Ford has learned that if the driver’s side front air bag is deployed, the inflator can also rupture.  This recall is part of the Takata air bag problem.  In the event of a rupture, metal fragments cause serious injury and possibly death to the driver and passengers.  Ford will notify owners and will replace the inflators free of charge.  The recall was expected to begin on March 7, 2016.  For additional information, owners can contact Ford by calling 1-866-436-7332 and referring to recall number 16S03.

Propane Gas:

Now that the winter is coming to an end, most homeowners and businesses will begin to use their furnaces less and less.  But, before that happens, there is an ironic twist that consumers should know about.  Approximately 118,000,000 gallons of propane had been recalled due to insufficient odorization.  That is, the gas contains an insufficient level of odorant to help alert consumers of a gas leak.  Failure to detect a gas leak can result in fire and explosion hazards.  The propane gas has been distributed in the following states: Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Utah.  Consumers should contact their gas supplier or Crescent Point Energy Corporation to arrange for an inspection of their equipment.  Crescent Point Energy can be contacted by calling 1-866-421-4266.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has assigned a recall number of 16-101 dated February 12, 2016.

Gas Station Hose Swivel Sets:

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that Franklin Fueling Systems has recalled approximately 9000 gas station hose swivel fitting sets. The swivel fitting can separate allowing fuel to spill creating a fire and explosion hazard.  The swivel fittings have been stamped with date codes for both ¾ and 1 inch hose diameters.  For ¾ inch hoses, the date code range is M1615 to M3515.  For 1 inch hoses, the date code range is M2215 to M4115.  Fueling stations should immediately stop using the recalled hose/fitting set and contact Franklin Fueling Systems to receive a full refund or a replacement hose/swivel fitting set.  Franklin Fueling Systems can be contacted by calling 1-800-984-6266.

Solar Anyone?

I just completed a refresher course in solar design.  Discussed mounting of solar panels on roofs and on ground.  Also discussed conversion of direct current to alternating current using string inverters and micro inverters.  Reviewed NEC code and TVA policy on connecting to grid (lots of requirements).  Ready to tackle any solar projects now.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: