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Was the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s (FPRF) Residential Electrical System Aging Research Project completed?

Posted By Underwriters Laboratories, Friday, January 01, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Question

I understand UL conducted research on old homes to determine the effects of aging on residential electrical wiring systems. Is that research project complete, and where can I get the report and any recommendations from the research?

Answer

UL partnered with several other organizations to help sponsor the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s (FPRF) Residential Electrical System Aging Research Project. The research project was completed in 2008, and the report issued in July 2008.

The goal of this project was to characterize the condition of various age groups of residential electrical systems, by surveying a representative sampling of actual installed systems from homes across the country, and then documenting how aging and installation may relate to residential electrical fire causes. In all, 30 houses were studied.

Electricity has been a permanent feature in residential occupancies for over 100 years, and it was known to be a cause of fires since the earliest days of its use. Recent studies have shown that the frequency of fires in residential electrical systems is disproportionately higher in older homes. Three factors that could influence most the likelihood of a residential electrical fire are: (1) the effects of natural aging over time on the electrical system wiring and equipment, (2) misuse or abuse of the electrical system components in the home by the occupants, and (3) non-code-compliant installations, upgrades, or repairs. The findings of this project seemed to confirm these suspicions.

For more information on the research project and to download a copy of the report, please see the Fire Protection Research Foundations (FPRF) section of NFPA’s website atwww.nfpa.org/agedwiring.

If you would like to see a presentation on the project and results at your local IAEI chapter meeting, please contact your section’s UL Regulatory Services representative. Northwestern Section, Bob Eugene; Southwestern Section, Rich Berman; Western Section, Tom Lichtenstein; Eastern Section, John Cangemi; Southern Section, Jeff Fecteau. They can be reached at (800) 595-9844.


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Tags:  January-February 2010  UL Question Corner 

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