Floor Receptacle in Living Room Causes Fatal Fire in Kentucky

According to the NFPA Journal: Electrical arc blamed for fatal early-morning house fire

KENTUCKY—A neighbor called 911 after hearing a bang and spotting a fire when he went outside to investigate.

Two sides of the house were heavily involved with fire when fire crews arrived shortly after 3 a.m.

As crews established a water connection, a mutual aid company was summoned to assist with fire control due to the intensity of conditions. Crews used a deck gun and handlines to attack the fire, which grew and spread to an adjacent house that also required extinguishment.

When conditions permitted entry, a rapid intervention team entered the structure and found the body of a male resident in the bedroom.

Investigators determined that an electrical arc in a 125-volt floor receptacle in the living room caused the fire. They were unable to locate any smoke alarms in the house.

The house, which had a ground-floor area of 1,000 square feet, was a total loss, estimated at $70,000 for the property and contents. Damage to the neighboring house was estimated at $5,500.

Cooper Electric's CurrentSAFE electrical hazard detection service is designed to find hidden electrical problems such as the one in this NFPA journal story. The floor receptacle in the living room caused the house to catch fire.
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Knob and Tube Electrical Wiring: 1800s–1930s




Knob and tube wiring was an early standardized method of electrical wiring systems in buildings, commonly used in Cincinnati from about 1880 to the 1930s. Original homes built in the neighborhoods of Cincy such as Hyde Park, Clifton, Mount Lookout, Norwood, Price Hill, Wyoming, among others, and any homes built in that time period will have knob & tube electrical systems.

Knob and Tube, was designed as an open air system that used ceramic knobs to separate wires from combustible wood framing. These suspended wires were directed through ceramic tubes to prevent contact with the wood framing and starting a fire. Today's practice of "blown in" insulation and other methods of insulating walls that were previously open-air have compounded the knob and tube fire hazard problem.


Today, knob and tube wiring is considered a fire hazard mostly due to faulty reworking, renovations or additions to this aged electrical system by unskilled labor. Furthermore, Knob and Tub was not intended for the electrical load demands of today's modern home appliances,  electronics, and our overall larger electrical loads. Knob and Tub also does not have the safety feature of a grounding conductor.

ktspliceHomes with existing k&t electrical systems dating back to before 1940, have fewer branch circuits than is desired today. Further compounding the problem was the practice of installing higher current rated fuses in the old "fuse box" that would prevent a blown fuse, but would cause heat damage to the wire intended for a lower current rating.


As existing K&T wiring gets older, insurance companies may deny coverage due to a perception of increased risk. Several companies will not write new homeowner insurance policies, at all unless all K&T wiring is replaced, or an electrician certifies that the wiring is in good condition. For this reason, we recommend having our CurrentSAFE service performed on your k&t system.


Lastly, depending on the age of the home, the very first form of lighting in your home might have been gas powered ceiling fixtures. Therefore, there could very well be live gas lines in your ceiling, albeit, ones that are sealed, however these gas lines often still support old style light fixtures or chandeliers that were retrofitted with electrical wiring and electrical sockets for bulbs. When removing these fixtures it is imperative to understand that the gas lines are most likely still filled with gas and not to loosen the seal. The knob and tube wiring was added after the gas lines, as show here:


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Bad Connection Collection

Cooper Electric's "Bad Connection Collection" is an assortment of devices that have been removed from our customers homes within the past year.
These examples serve to remind people that electricity when done improperly can lead to fire hazards.


Our CurrentSAFE service is specifically designed to find and fix fire hazards in the home. It is the most comprehensive electrical test for the home in the US today, and Cooper Electric is the licensed provider of CurrentSAFE in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Area.

Bad Connections

At home remodeling shows we have created displays to show the ugly demons lurking in homes that are a result of many different types of electrical hazards. Bad Connections being those that are loose, worn out, wired improperly.

Aluminum Wiring

Then Aluminum wired connections which are problematic because of the coefficient of expansion between the aluminum conductors and the brass terminal screws of devices, we remedy this using the Amp Cop Alum retermination system.
Lightning Surge

Lightning Strikes and Surges

There are also instances of Lightning Strike and Surge damage which we display as well, it is amazing and sometimes scary the power that lightning has when it travels through conductors in the attic and walls of your home. CurrentSAFE is also an ideal test for insuring the wiring is safe after a lightning strike, so no hidden damage is left behind, and to mitigate the risk of a fire.

Back Stab Devices

Lastly, there is back stab devices. Which are outlets/receptacle and light switches that actually have a compression fitting on the back of them. This type of connection has proven to be very problematic. In the production mindset of homebuilders in the last 20 years, back stab devices we popular because it made wiring the device faster. Unfortunately back stab is such a poor connection it creates high resistance, which ultimately melts the devices. At Cooper Electric we use the proper and proven method of side-wiring devices and in our installation use specification grade level products and materials that take away the high resistance seen in back stab style.
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Licensed Electricians

How much do you know about electricity?

Electrical work to a Qualified, Skilled and Licensed Electrician is not a guessing game. We have the proper tools for the job, and more importantly the training and knowledge to use the tools properly.
Our years of experience and know-how is something we pride ourselves on at Cooper Electric. Continuously investing in training our electricians and updating our tools to the best technology to be able to determine the problems precisely, and fix them efficiently.
Our electricians attend a 4 year apprenticeship school, with 8,000 hours of on the job training. Through years of experience and training, our electricians have most likely been in the situation or job similar to the one at your home. We know what to look for, and HOW to look for it, utilizing our tools and knowledge.
At Cooper Electric we are experienced and trusted.
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Arcing Faults

Arc Faults

An "electrical fire" can be defined as a fire involving some type of electrical failure or malfunction. If equipment powered by electricity fails, a fire may occur.
According to Leviton, a manufacturer of electrical equipment and devices, arcing faults are responsible for starting more than 28,000 home fires each year in the U.S.
Arcing occurs when a connection is loose or wires or cords are damaged, resulting in ignition. Of that 28,000 home fires, just 5,300 of them start in the vicinity of receptacles, meaning a majority of arcing faults occur in hidden locations.
The electrical safety foundation in their October Fire Prevention infographic, stated that "arc fauls are usually unseen as they can occur anywhere in the home and are one of the major causes of electrical wiring fires." In the graphic they show a nail piercing the insulation of a wire behind a wall.
AFCIs or arc fault circuit interrupters are advanced devices that detect arc faults and shut down the power to the affected circuit, reducing the chance of an electrical fire. This situation is different from an overloaded circuit or short circuit which would trip regular design circuit breakers.
The education of the general public on different types of hazardous scenarios in a circuit is the mission of Cooper Electric and CurrentSAFE. AFCI and GFCI are two different kinds of protection, and are in no way interchangeable lingo. They protect against two vastly different types of faults.
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Is Electricity Dangerous?

what is current safe

Is Electricity Dangerous?...Call an Electrician!!


Hi and Lois comic strip brings us a great image of a son, asking his father if electricity is dangerous!.... Father replies, "not if you know what you are doing"... ZAP!!!...  And then son inquires "should I ask mom to call someone who knows what he's doing?"...  HA-HA

If you have not checked out Hi & Lois comic, it is a fun take on the life of a suburban family. Scenarios like the Flagstons family are into here with modifying the electrical system in the home, is something that comes up from time to time in houses all around the U.S.

For the professional electricians working on electrical inside your home, keep in mind that our electricians do this every single day of the week. There is time based training, years of education in understanding and knowing how to wire circuits, as well as maintaining the knowledge of the National Electrical Code through continuing education classes. The NEC code book is part of the National Fire Protection Associations efforts to prevent fire, and knowing the proper way to do things takes years of experience.

The Right Tools and Meters

We also have the right tools , meters and testing instruments to do the job properly the first time, and most important SAFELY!

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May - National Electrical Safety Month

Each May, Cooper Electric partners with the Electrical Safety Foundation to promote, "National Electrical Safety Month".

The mission of "NESM" is to reduce the number of electrical fires and electrical related injuries. Each year, too many lives are adversely effected by failures and malfunctions of electrically related items in the home.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates 47,700 home structure fires, reported to U.S. fire departments each year, involved an electrical failure or malfunction as a contributing factor to ignition. These fires resulted in 418 civilian deaths, 1,570 injuries, and $1.4 Billion in direct property damage. Again, these are the reported fires only, several smaller occurrences that go unreported are not included in these estimations of damages.

These incidence are preventable. Homeowners should be aware of the risks that faulty electrical systems pose to their property and lives, and take a proactive approach to investigating their home.

Cooper Electric does this through CurrentSAFE, a whole house electrical hazard detection service. The month of May is a great time to investigate electrical branch circuitry in the home. The season is changing, more electrical apparatuses will be plugged into the walls, weather it be a fan, a window air conditioning unit, or the running of ceiling fans. More energy flowing on the circuits, means the chance of failure is greater.

Taking preventive measures to assure your home is safe, is the best course of action.

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The Risk of Federal Pacific - FPE - Panels

Circuit Breakers Defined

A circuit breaker is defined as an electrical switch, designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by an overload or short circuit. A circuit breaker is meant to detect a fault condition of these types and interrupt current flow by "tripping".

FPE Circuit Breakers

The problem with FPE Stab-Lok circuit breakers is that when an unsafe condition, such as an overload or short circuit occurs, the FPE breakers fails to "trip" which is what a circuit breaker is designed to do in an electrical system.

Federal Pacific Hazards

This hazard worsens for double pole breakers. Double pole breakers are used on higher load circuits, such as for a clothes dryer. Under certain conditions it is possible for one leg of these circuits to attempt to trip the breaker, resulting in a jammed breaker which at minimum will afterward not trip under any load condition, or worse yet cause a high risk failure.

Federal Pacific Breakers Cincinnati

The FPE Dilemma

Although documentation of persistent hazards, and real life loss exist, there are still individuals that chose to ignore the warning signs. For example, some people try assuming a position that the "since the home has not burned to the ground in the last 25 years, how could someone predict that it will". Well, despite what some people postulate even with proof of the contrary, that FPE panels are hazards, this still can be a bone of contention. At Cooper Electric, we want our customers to be aware of any existing hazards.

FPE panels which are found in existing houses, 25 years and older, can/have burned homes down. As recently as, August of 2012 a Federal Pacific Electric Panel started a fire that burned a home down in the Wyoming Neighborhood of Cincinnati. The structure caught fire at the FPE panel in the garage of the home on Chisholm Trail and damage was estimated at $240,000. The home was over 25 years old.

FPE use

FPE panels were popularly used in home construction in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has deemed them prone to failures, but has not recalled them. However, FPE had their UL Listings revoked in the 1980s.

Furthermore, incompetent handymen who install used FPE circuit breakers as band-aid fixes to replace failed FPE circuit breakers are not solving a more complex problem of the entire panel itself.

The variables of the conditions of the circuit breakers, how much load the circuit will be under, and IF the breaker will trip... all become part of the RISK that you are taking on with an FPE panel. The best solution for an FPE circuit breaker, is to replace the entire panel. A new panel from a proven manufacturer, who are still in busienss and have not been in litigation nor class action lawsuits for the lack of safety with their product, such as Federal Pacific Electric. Check out Inspectapedia for info.

At Cooper Electric the panels and breakers we install have a Lifetime Manufacturers Warranty, and our workmanship for the installation of the panel is backed with a 10 year warranty.

Information on FPE Stab-Lok Panels

For additional information on Federal Pacific FPE Hazards
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Water and Electricity Don't Mix

In the aftermath of water damage, whether it be a flood or a busted water pipe, it is necessary to understand the potential hazard that exists. First, water can be an unintentional conductor of electricity, so whenever water comes in contact with electrical components, a potential hazard exists. After a flood or pipe burst, water remaining in the buildings, machinery, switches, and other components of an electrical system poses a serious threat to life and to the proper operation of the system. Since even a small, undetected amount of moisture can be harmful, things that appear to be dried out can still be a potential hazard.  Second, Water causes rusting, or corrosion, especially among products that were never designed to be subjected to water. This rusting, which may be hidden from sight or take time to develop, can interfere with the proper operation of electrical components. For example, the mechanism of a breaker has internal workings made of metal, and these internal components could rust or corrode unseen inside the breaker and damage it to a point that it is inoperable. Often during or after even a heavy rain, your panel may become subject to water damage, and homeowners might experience seeing water leaking from the panel itself. This situation poses a problem.
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Infrared Thermo - The Language of Heat

Infrared Thermal imaging tells an electrical story

In EC&M Magazine October 2013 issue they discuss utilizing infrared thermography for your predictive and preventive maintenance program. Some points to take away:
•Used competently and intelligently, infrared imaging  used to pinpoint abnormally high or rising heat from resistance in electrical circuitry… can save money.
•Like Any Tool, Infrared Thermography is only as good as the Operator.
•The Technology Requires Both Operator Expertise and a Game Plan for Using It.
•In trained hands – and when integrated into a broader predictive and preventive electrical maintenance program – it can be used to get out in front of costly electrical breakdowns.
•Elements of a strong IR Thermography report generally include a detailed description of equipment, good images, description of the problems, testing conditions, a severity ranking, and recommended actions.
•Common mistakes inadequately trained imagers make, may include taking readings through cabinet doors and covers, not controlling for target emissivity and reflectivity that can produce false readings; and failing to understand how target distance and angle impact readings.
•You need equipment to run under normal operating conditions for thermal imaging to be meaningful.
•A long term imaging plan can be based on factors including reliability demands, component-specific findings, budget considerations, manufacturer recommendations, and even insurer thermography requirements.
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Electrical Components Compromised By Flood Waters

Seaside Heights, N.J. - Officials determined that the electrical fire which claimed 50 businesses in the Jersey Shore communities, was caused by electrical components. Investigators said the fire began under a building due to failed electrical equipment. "During the storm, this wiring and these connection became fully submerged in water," Ocean Country Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said in a news conference. "Over time, degradation of this wiring and these connections occurred." They urged that homeowners and other businesses affected by water to have their wiring inspected for similar issues.

Here in Cincinnati, similar instances can happen with flooded basesments, or homes that have water leaks in upper floors that trickle down to lower levels, causing damage to wiring inside the walls. After a flood in the home or a business, even minor leaks or toilet over flows, a CurrentSAFE test of your electrical system can prevent electrical failures caused by components that are compromised during a flood. Degradation of electrical materials that are negatively effected by exposure to water are hazards. These types of things can be found and eliminated with the CurrentSAFE process.

Disaster Recovery is key, and our CurrentSAFE professionals understand the importance of returning the home and electrical system to the specific state your house was in before disaster occurred. We are knowledgeable in helping consult you on the processes that follow these types of unfortunate events.

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House Fire Investigation - Cause Electrical

NEWPORT, Ky. — July 28, 2013 - A house fire caused 100,000 dollars in damage and leaves residents without a place to stay.
Seven adults and one baby lived at the home that caught fire this afternoon in the 800 block of Roberts Street in Newport.
Newport Fire Department Capt., Randy Childress said the fire broke out around 2 p.m. One of the residents said he was sleeping when he smelled the smoke. "I look in the room in the back and smoke started coming in the door and I broke the door to make sure no one was over there and the building is on fire and that's all I really know,” said Gustavo Ramos.
Ramos said fortunately no one was in the building.
Childress said the fire started on the first floor and quickly spread to the second and third floors of the home, “After he left the door open, that allowed it to spread so if there's a lesson learned for the public is if you do see a fire shut the door,” said Childress. As for Ramos he said he wasn’t able to grab anything on his way out after making sure no one else was in the burning home, “I don't have a lot of clothes and stuff and I cook and I have my knives and I lost everything.”
Childress said the home appeared to be a total loss with the fire and smoke damage. He said the cause of the fire appeared to be electrical and started in the outlet running the air conditioner.
It took crews thirty minutes to knock down the flames, and because of the heat extra companies were called in from the Bellevue-Dayton, Fort Thomas, Covington and Southgate fire departments.
No injuries were reported and Red Cross is assisting the residents displaced.
For this reason, Cooper Electric offers a preventive service called CurrentSAFE, to Reduce the Risk of Fire. For more details on how to make your home safe and hazard free, call 513-271-5000.
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When Lightning Strikes Be CurrentSAFE

A CurrentSAFE - E.H.D. is the best test for your home's electrical system after a power surge or lightning strike.
CurrentSAFE is a comprehensive diagnosis of the home’s electrical system.  Utilizing this state-of-the-art equipment to test all of the wiring behind the walls ensures that any damage from the lightning strike is detected and pinpointed. CurrentSAFE's comprehensive inspection tests the integrity of your entire electrical system.
Not completing the CurrentSAFE Service leaves the home and homeowner at risk to an electrical fire if components that were damaged by the electrical surge remain undetected and unrepaired.
Lightning strikes and power surges have been known to damage the wiring itself which is concealed in the wall cavity. Often damaging the insulation of the wiring, and leaving the wiring susceptible to arcing.
If your home has experienced a lightning strike or power surge, we recommend you call us. Schedule our CurrentSAFE Specialist for a home visit today. Be sure your home electrical system is safe.
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When to Replace Smoke Alarms

In the January-February edition of the NFPA Journal, a publication of the National Fire Protection Association - The Authority on Fire, Electrical & Building Safety, writer Amy Lebeau wrote an article entitled "Close to Home - A friends near miss, and a viral challenge to improve smoke-alarm awareness".   In Amy's NFPA article she tells a story of her friend Brook, who recently had a serious fire in her home. And Brook's 2 children smelled the smoke first and got their mom, grandmother and their baby brother out of the house.   The scarier part, was that when Amy heard Brook tell the story, Amy asked Brook if she heard smoke detectors go off in the home, and Brook said, "no". Amy goes on to say that Brook and her husband thought they had adequate coverage with smoke detectors all over the house, in the necessary spots. What they didn't realize is that they did not work.   Smoke detectors need to be changed at minimum every 10 years. A smoke alarms ability to detect smoke becomes less reliable over the years, making it more likely that it won't respond when its needed most!   Amy Lebeau then polled her friends to see if any of them knew about smoke detectors life span of 10 years. None of them did, they were all over the map.   Amy suggests the following. 1. Know the importance of testing your smoke alarms monthly. 2. Have an interconnected smoke alarm system in the home, meaning if one detector alarms the presence of smoke, they all alarm. 3. Have both ionization and photo-electric type smoke alarms, this means having two different detection methods for redundancy and accuracy. 4. Replace them every 10 years minimum. 5. Have a detailed home fire escape plan.   At Cooper Electric we specialize in providing our customers with adequate smoke detector coverage. Our residential department can help you with questions and product information. Add this detail on your next electrical service call, while we are already in your home, to provide you with great value!  
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Why We Perform Annual Gear Cleaning...

burnt wire A large horse power Motor failed in the facility and the facility replaced the motor and the wiring between the motor and the starter. However, during Cooper Electric's Annual Gear Maintenance and Cleaning we found that the actual source of the problem was a bad electrical termination on the C phas, inside of the distribution gear, which was actually the cause of the large horse power motor failure. Had we not found this and they started up the new motor, in all likelihood they would have destroyed yet another new motor.
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Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

co detectors

On Sunday December 30, 2012 three people were taken to the hospital for carbon monoxide exposure.

-The Cincinnati Enquirer-

Clifton Heights - Three People were taken to the hospital for evaluation early Saturday after Cincinnati fire officials said they were exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide at an apartment building in the 100 block of Parker Street.

Firefighters were called to the building around 4am after receiving reports that several people were ill.

Eight occupants were standing outside the building suffering from various symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, fire officials said. High carbon monoxide levels were found inside the building, they said.

Information about the conditions of the three occupants were not immediately available.

Duke Energy and the Cincinnati Building Department were called in to seal off all gas appliances in the building. The tenants were not permitted back into their apartments, fire officials said.


Cooper Electric's electrical service vans are stocked with combo Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors. Carbon monoxide is the #1 cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the US.  The small expense of having Cooper Electric install combo Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detector, while our electricians are in your home, is an efficient and proactive approach to detecting and combating harmful gases and fire hazards.

Call Cooper Electric today for more details on the combo smoke detectors we have available, and for other information about the options and models.

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How Electrical Things Go Wrong?

When thinking about an electrical system that has been in place in your home since it was built, the first thing that comes to mind is, why is this happening now? What changed between when the builder put the electrical system in place, and now?

There are other things in life, like our vehicles, which the concept of use and life cycle are easier to understand. You get your oil changed every 3,000 miles. You put gas in your car weekly to keep it fueled up to be able to operate. You check the air in your tires. You change the wiper blades. These things are very apparent to maintain because most of us drive our vehicles every day. We understand that over the course of time, with owning a vehicle that maintenance issues will come up. Things wear out over time during the duration of their life cycles.

When thinking about electrical systems in your home, it's not as easily understood. The average person does not know OHMs law, nor understand the effects that take place when OHMs law is in place, in say... a loose connection in your electrical system.

Homeowners wonder, if this was installed when my home was built, what is causing it to malfunction now? There are 4 reasons for electrical hazards to pop up over the course of a life cycle of a home, and what precipitates the call to an electrician to fix the problem.

1. Workmanship. Unfortunately, the number one reason electrical components malfunction over time, is because the person who installed it originally might have made a mistake. Maybe they did not torque the screw down to specifications. Maybe the breaker wasn't sized properly for the load. Maybe the wire was undersized. Maybe they ran one circuit where the demand should have called for multiple circuits. The bottom line is that the workmanship of the installer, could have compromised the installation from the beginning. And over time, through improperly installed electrical work, problems show themselves because of electricity flowing through.

2. Corrosion/Water intrusion. A common problem that is completely bizarre to homeowners is water, literally spilling out of your electrical panel. People call in astonishment that water has infiltrated their electrical panel. And rightfully so. Water and electricity don't mix. How the water gets in? It travels along the Service Entrance cable, that is coming from the meter on the outside of the house. Herein, the workmanship discussed in number one, has a major role. How did the installer drill the hole? Did he caulk the opening? Is the cable's protective jacket cracked, and letting water in? This is actually a very common problem. Once the water is gone however, the damage left behind from corrosion, still persists, it will continue to worsen.

3. Load. Today's homes have more loads being pulled through them then ever before. Poor workmanship, plus corrosion on an aging electrical systems, will lead to more problems.

4. Wear and Tear. Your kid unplugging the vacuum cleaner from around the corner? Not good, over time it will disturb the wiring and screws on the inside of the box and device. How many times have you flipped that switch that's not working right? How often do you think the jiggling of a switch can take before it becomes bad? Before it loosen connections in the box the switch is in or on the screws? The wear and tear on these things adds up to problems.

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424 Degree CurrentSAFE Find

Example CurrentSAFE Uncovered Hazard

During a CurrentSAFE Electrical Hazard Detection we uncovered a hidden hazard of 424 degrees Fahrenheit on the buss bar of a panel in a home in Montgomery.

Overheated electrical joints due to loose connection are often precursors of electrical fires, arc faults, and arc flash in electrical systems.

Connections that should have had the proper torque, as well as, being properly sized for the amplitude of current would not have overheated to the extent of 424 degrees Fahrenheit.

The issue is that with the fluctuation of current, results in thermal cycling, which eventually leads to the failing of the connection. In other words, the bad connection heats up and cools, heats up and cools, going from one extreme to another under load or no load. With a loose connection that is experiencing overheating, such as in the 424 degree range, this will lead to failure. Meaning either electrical fire, arc fault, or arc flash.

Here in the digital photo you can see the melted portions of the buss bar and the discoloration of the lug which were a result of the thermal cycling.

Cooper Electric's CurrentSAFE EHD is a preventive maintenance program for your home's electrical system. To learn more and have a free estimate call us at 513-271-5000.

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According to ESFi (Electrical Safety Foundation International). The Month of may is electrical safety month. Cooper Electric wants to remind you not to take electrical safety for granted. Every year fifty-three thousand electrical fires occur in U.S. homes, most of which are entirely preventable! May is a great time to review important electrical and fire safety practices in your home.

Cooper Electric's Safety Tip is to test your GFCI receptacle outlets, by pressing the test and reset buttons. This will show whether your GFCI's are functioning properly. GFCI's prevent deadly shock, in wet are locations, and should be tested once a year.

If you are concerned about your wiring. We offer a state-of-the-art electrical testing service called CurrentSAFE. CurrentSAFE is a comprehensive test of your entire electrical system. Contact us today at 513-271-5000, and have our specialist out to your home to see if CurrentSAFE is right for you.

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CurrentSAFE Testing - Thermography

CurrentSAFE - What To Expect During The Thermography Portion

A thermographic inspection is used to detect thermal defects. The inspector uses an infrared camera to conduct scans of your electrical system in all other aspects of your home. If this is your first time hiring a thermographic inspector, you may not know what to expect. The following should give you some ideas as to what is involved with process, as well as how to prepare your home or office for the inspector's arrival.

How to Prepare Your Home

Before your thermographic inspector arrives. You should also move any large furniture away from the walls and electrical outlets so that the inspector can get to them.

The Thermographic Inspection

The inspector will arrive and will most likely educate you about your home or office and the scan itself. Some inspectors take the home owner or office manager along with them during the scans so that they can educate along the way, and some prefer to work slowly and in private so that all anomalies can be identified. During the process, the thermographic inspector will scan every inch of your home. The infrared camera or video will reveal heat as bright white for the warmest temperatures. Likewise, ambient or room temperatures, will show up as darker colors on the spectrum. This thermographic inspection will find problems with your wiring, malfunctioning appliances and equipment. These issues may not be seen by the naked eye, but the infrared equipment finds it and identifies it with ease.
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Infrared Inspecting New Equipment


    • New Installation Thermo PDF
    • Thermography Inspection Performed on December 14th 2011
    • The Image is of a “Factory Installed” Bus Connection from the 3,000 amp vertical bus to the primary side of an 800 amp distribution circuit breaker.
    • This temperature abnormality was found during the Thermography inspection on phase c of the newly installed GE switchgear. The temperature difference between phase C and phase B is 20 degrees ferenheight (Image #2). The breaker was aproximatley 30% loaded at the time of inspection (phase C-278amps phase B- 284amps). After removing the factory installed GE circuit breaker we found that the insulation tape had overlapped and restricted the current flow from the main bussway in the gear to the circuit breaker lug (Image #1).
    • The repair was made and the tape was properly removed from the switch gear (Image #3). A re-scan was perfomed on the circuit breaker (Image #4) and phase c was actually running 2 degrees cooler than phase b.
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CurrentSAFE - Safety Tips

Safety Tips:

  • Always have a qualified, licensed professional install water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer instructions. (They will ensure that electrically the circuit is sized at 80% of the calculated load allowed on the circuit.)
  • Install Carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.
  • Have your furnace cleaned and inspected annually by a licensed, qualified professional. (Consider that your furnace houses and starts a controlled fire every hour in your home, and properly maintaining the equipment should be a priority.)
  • Be sure circuit breakers and fuses are correctly labeled with their amperage and the rooms, circuits, or outlets they serve. (Consider having an electrician inspect that the circuits are not overloaded.)
  • Consider having a qualified, licensed electrician replace your standard circuit breakers with combination-type arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI's).
  • Make sure ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI's) are installed in your kitchen, bathrooms, workshops, basement, garage, outdoors, and any other areas where water and electricity are likely to come in contact.
  • Examine electrical outlets and missing or broken wall plates to ensure that wiring and components are not exposed.
  • Check extension cords for good condition, inspect for frayed wires and cracked insulation. (Replace cords that are badly damaged or consider shortening the cord with a replacement male/female plug. Always follow instructions.)
    Cooper Electric provides CurrentSAFE, an electrical hazard detection service your your home. Contact us TODAY, for a free in home assessment.
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Electrician Services Questions

Has your home had a major addition or renovation? Do your lights flicker or dim momentarily? Do you hear crackling, sizzling, or buzzing from your outlets? Do you have GFCI'S?  
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Schedule A Thermographic Electrical Inspection

Schedule A Thermographic Electrical Inspection 

Top 5 Reasons:

For any industrial business or operation, it is important to catch equipment and electrical problems before any operating failures can occur. Any problem that does go undetected can inflict extensive damage on your equipment and your business as a whole. Thermographic electrical inspections use High-Definition Thermographic (Infrared) cameras in order to determine temperature changes in electrical components. To help illustrate the importance of thermographic inspections, here are five factors to consider.

1. Catch Defective or Failing Components Early:

You can't always tell when a piece of equipment is about to fail. They don't all smoke and make noise. Instead, thermographic imaging is used to detect temperature abnormalities. This also works well with concealed equipment. By finding potential problems early, they can be fixed so that there is no down time.

2. Prevent Loss of Production Time:

An operating failure can shut your operation down for days, weeks or even longer. Keep your operation up and running and productive at all times by scheduling regular thermographic electrical inspections.

3. Save On Maintenance and Replacement Costs:

Regular thermographic inspections can help you save on maintenance costs and the costs associated with replacing failed equipment. By catching issues early on, your equipment will last longer with fewer and less-frequent replacements overall.

4. Prevent Fires and Personal Injury:

If left to get worse, loose wiring, faulty breakers and other problems can easily cause a fire. Furthermore, failed equipment can create safety hazards that have the potential to harm you or one of your employees. Don’t take chances. Predictive thermal inspections will help you protect your business and your staff from any dangerous conditions.

5. You Can Schedule During Regular Business Operations:

There is no need to shut down production simply because you have scheduled a thermographic electrical inspection. The best time to conduct a thermographic scan is when business is running as usual, as that is when most problems occur. Your inspector will work around your equipment and personnel. You might even forget the inspector is there.

The Inspection Results

When you schedule a thermographic electrical inspection, you will receive a complete report from your inspector that includes any abnormalities found, along with recommended courses of action. If there are any issues that demand your immediate attention, those will be focused on first. The report includes high-definition images and comparisons of scans over time. If there are any issues with your electrical systems or components, your inspector will find them.

By now you should be convinced that a thermographic electrical inspection is a wise decision and investment. With state-of-the-art equipment, training and certification, your inspector will attempt to catch potential problems before they are realized. If conducted regularly, you can extend the life of your equipment, save on maintenance and replacement costs and you can protect your business from down time and other disasters. By checking your electrical switch gear, panels, buss bar feeders and all other components and equipment, your thermographic inspector will help you find even the smallest of problems before they get out of hand.

We provide Thermography Cincinnati Inspections and Nationwide.

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IR Electrical Thermographic

Cincinnati -
Inspect your electrical system through this condition monitoring technique that uses infrared technology to find electrical problems before they become an emergency.

Unexpected electrical service costs can be devastating, our service allows the time to prepare, schedule and budget for any critical repairs.

Recently, we received a call from a facility that had lost a buss bar in a fire because of poor electrical connections and overheating. They realized this problem was costly and wanted to prevent future losses on the other buss bars throughout their location. We provided them with Thermographic Scans and Reports to document where critical problems existed, which prevented further damage and no unexpected loss of production.

Infrared thermography is used to perform P/PM inspections on electrical equipment because excess resistance on electrical apparatus indicates electrical faults such as loose connections, overloaded or imbalanced circuits, faulty breakers, damaged switches, faulty fuses and a wide range of other unwanted electrical conditions. Before an electrical component burns up, it heats up. Thermography is used to see the excess heat (resistance) so that problems can be found and maintenance personnel can act to correct the problem before the component fails, causing damage to the component, safety hazards and/or production downtime.

What Electrical Distribution Equipment Should Be Checked?

  • Utility substations, transformers and feed poles
  • Main incoming services, plant main knives, capacitor banks, etc
  • Main switchboards and disconnects
  • Main distribution panels and main disconnects
  • Uninterruptible power supplies
  • Generator controls and transfer switches
  • Main I-Line panels
  • Lighting and receptacle panels
  • Disconnects and combination starters
  • Service disconnects for motors
  • Machine control panels
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Reputation the Best Tool

Reputation the Best Tool
Cincinnati, OH - Jeff Wallner - Enquirer 
Electrical Contractors are among those hit hardest by the recession, with nearly 40 percent unemployment industrywide. And yet Cooper Electric has not laid off a single employee due to lack of work.

To the contrary, the 65-year-old South Cumminsville firm plans to hire additional staff next year in advance of a projected 20 percent increase in the $4 million in revenues estimated for 2011.

So how did they do it?

Company president Greg Hyland says it's the result of a commitment to customer satisfaction and retention, and a successful strategy built around a process called thermography.

"We've been able to keep the recession at bay," Hyland says. "Seventy percent of our business is repeats and referrals. That's a reflection of the people here. You're only as good as your last job. You can flush a 30 year relationship down the drain if you botch it."

That's why Cooper Electric created its Thermography Division more than a decade ago. Thermography is the use of infrared thermal imaging cameras to see inside electric equipment to uncover hot spots or other potential service issues before they result in a costly mechanical failure.

Cooper Electric's high-definition imaging provides a highly accurate measurement of heat that can reveal bad connections, overcurrent and poor insulation or ventilation.

Thermography is relatively old technology, and it's widely used throughout the industry. But Cooper Electric has parlayed the process into a preventive maintenance toll that has helped increase value for its customers and build-long term relationships.
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Improve Bathroom Lighting

Improve Bathroom Lighting. Wanting to remodel your bathroom and update the lighting?  Not sure what lighting is the best or most efficient? Let us help.
If the lighting in your bathroom(s) is like most older homes, it consists of an overhead light, perhaps built into a vent fan if there’s no window.  Few builders went to the expense of installing a vent fan.
Planning efficient and effective lighting for your master bathroom and dressing area is much more complicated.  Use the basic lighting design technique called layering to provide proper lighting for various activities and needs.
The three basic lighting layers are task, ambient and accent.  Since a bathroom is relatively task oriented (showering, shaving, applying makeup, general grooming, etc.), adequate task lighting is most important.  other than showering or bathing, the task lighting at the mirror and the vanity is most used.
The deal lighting is directed from both sides of the mirror and perhaps also from the top for three-direction lighting.  This eliminates shadows when shaving or applying makeup,  If the mirror is not too wide, mount vertical fluorescent tub lighting on the wall on each side of the mirror.
For the bath/shower area, recessed overhead task lighting work well.  Broan/Nutone offers recessed light fixtures with built-in exhaust fans.  These are efficient because excess moisture is drawn from the shower stall before it enters the room.
For accent lighting, low-wattage incandescent fixtures, eithe roverhead or sconces, are effective.  These can be controlled by dimmer switches to save energy.  It is wise to install separate dimmer switches for the various layers of lighting.
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Dishwasher Electric Dishwasher Power Out? At Cooper Electric we do our best to walk our customers through basic troubleshooting steps. We recommend having a qualified electrical contractor perform work. Be safe. Here are some common electrical problems and possible situations/solutions:

Electrical Problem: Dishwasher power is out.

Situations/Solution: 1. You go to start your dishwasher and nothing happens. Double check the switch that controls the power to your dishwasher. Many homeowners are unaware that their is a switch that controls the power to your dishwasher. It may be as simple as turning the switch back "on". The switch should be located on the backsplash but some installations might be under the kitchen sink or in a near by cabinet. 2. Power is out and you have turned the switch off and on. The switch itself might be defective or a loose connection. There also might be water that has gotten into the switch from the sink and this might have tripped the breaker. The switch should be located in the backsplash of your counter, not under the sink and the switch may need to be rerouted.
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Invest in Surge Suppressors

Invest in Surge Suppressor

surge suppressor

When a storm is forecast and you begin to hear the thunder off in the distance, unplugging as many of your electronic devices as possible could be a daunting task.

At Cooper Electric we offer a Whole-House Surge Supressor.

Surges happen all the time. When one goes through your home, expensive electrical equipment can be damaged.

Placing surge protective devices at your service entrance, in your breaker panel and at point of use is your best and safest way to prevent damage from surges.

This below excerpt article from Cincinnati Enquirer touches a little bit on this…

Invest in Surge Suppressor for entire house


By James Dulley Enquirer contributor (Cincinnati.com)

Question: We have many electronic gadgets in our house and I am concerned about a voltage surge ruining them. Are there whole-house surge suppressors which will protect everything electric in our house?

Answer: People often think of only electronic gadgets such as computers, game consoles and audio/visual items, as being at risk from electrical surges.

Actually, nearly every electric item in a house today has some sort of sensitive electronics which can be damaged by a surge. These include ranges, dishwashers, air conditioners, fans, etc.

A very common source of an electrical surge is a thunder storm. The voltage and current spikes from a lightning strike are enormous.

Some of these smaller surges can even be generated by your own vacuum cleaner, refrigerator compressor, or clothes washer motors in your house wiring.

There are several types of whole-house surge suppressors available. Some mount on the circuit breaker panel indoors or are built into a circuit breaker.

whole house surge
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Duke Compact Fluorescent Light Give-A-Way

Duke Energy Giving Away FREE CFLs compact fluorescent light Cincinnati - Duke Energy Corp said Tuesday March 22, 2011 they will give away 10 million energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to customers this year. Last year, the utility holding company, distribution more than 10 million free bulbs to 1 million residential customers, saving enough energy to power nearly 45,000 homes. Some retailers such as Ikea, which has a store in West Chester Township, have begun phasing out traditional incandescent bulbs in the wake of new federal energy-efficient standards taking effect this year. CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard light bulbs. Replacing a home's six most frequently used incandescent bulbs with CFLs can save more than $180 over the lifetime of the bulbs, they said. Duke customers can request FREE CFL's by going to www.duke-energy.com/residential-savings-store or by calling (800)-943-7585. - Mike Boyer (Cincinnati Enquirer)
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Electrical Problem - Lights are out

light bulbs out

At Cooper Electric we do our best to walk our customers through basic troubleshooting steps.

We recommend having a qualified electrical contractor perform work. Be safe.

Here are some common electrical problems and possible situations/solutions:

Electrical Problem: Lights out.


1. Flourescent light fixture does not work after new lamp(bulb) is installed.

Double check the installation of the lamp. Did you get both pins on each end of the lamp seated? Caution: Change flourescent lamps with the switch in the OFF position.

Old style flourescent fixtures require starters and pre-heat lamps. New fixtures do not have starters and use rapid start lamps. These lamp types are not interchangeable. (We recommend that you replace the fixture with a new one which is more energy efficient and saves money.)

2. Incandescent lamps burn out quickly.

Are you using name brand lamps? Is the wattage of the lamp correct for the fixture? Using too high a wattage lamp creates more heat which can shorten lamp life and be a fire hazard!

3. Lights flicker, 1/2 power seems to be out.

These symptoms generally occur during or after high winds. If your electrical service comes to your home overhead, the power company connection at the eave of your house may be the problem. If you have eliminated other possible causes, call your power company.

4. One light flickers.

If only one light flickers, it indicates a bad connection, a defective switch, or a loose lamp. If you have aluminum branch-circuit wiring and the connection at the fixture is a the problem, only an electrical contractor certified by AMP, INC., can properly reterminate the connection. (Note: Amp Cop/Alum Correction is for aluminum branch-circuit wiring)

CAUTION: Remember that each year in the United States, over 53,333 fires and 400 deaths will result from unsafely modified electrical installations.

We recommend having a qualified electrician perform work. Be safe.

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Should you "DIY" Electrical Problems?

Do It Yourself

At Cooper Electric we do our best to walk our customers through basic troubleshooting steps.

We recommend having a qualified electrical contractor perform work. Be safe.

Here are some common electrical problems and possible situations/solutions:

Electrical Problem: A switch or outlet is warm to the touch, or sparks.

1. If sparks are seen when the switch is operated, what happens is, a small spark is generated anytime an electrical connection is made or broken while current is flowing. If the switch is not warm to the touch and is not loose, the small spark is probably normal.

2. Any device being plugged into an outlet, should always be in the OFF mode, before plugging in or unplugging the device.

CAUTION: Remember that each year in the United States, over 53,333 fires and 400 deaths will result from unsafely modified electrical installations.

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New website - Welcome

We at Cooper Electric are proud to present to your, our customer, the company's new website. Please browse around as we have added quite a bit of new content. Enjoy!

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