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Combustion of Hairdryer

06/07/2015 2:21 AM

I'm a watercolour artist. I had a portable hairdryer, used for drying paper between 'washes'. It was switched off, on the floor next to me, when it 'combusted'. Had I not been there to pull out the plug and douse the flames, I hate to think what could have happened to my apartment and possibly me too! I sent the remains to the store where I bought it, asking them to test for defect. They then refuted liability on the grounds that the appliance had been used in a manner not intended, and furthermore, it could not have been switched off. They clearly thought I was after a free replacement!! Not the case at all; I just wanted to draw the matter to their attention in case there was an inherent defect that could occur again, putting others at risk. My only reason for posting this is because I'm now irritated as hell with the store's stance, and want to know if any of you out there have ever experienced anything similar with a hairdryer or can offer an explanation why it happened?

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#1

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 3:20 AM

Most retail stores lack the ability to test for defects, although they could grant refunds. Many manufacturers ask that you not return questioned products to the retailer, but rather to the factory or an authorized service center, either of which might be able to perform technical tests.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 5:51 AM

Hi Tornado, probably should have said that the store is multi-outlet national, with their own 'house brand' to which this hairdryer belonged. They claim to have their own 'investigation team' of technologists.

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 9:14 AM

The chain store where you bought this dryer just puts their brand name on the product produced by a manufacturer. Look on this hairdryer for the Nationally Registered Testing Laboratory (UL, TUV, etc.) mark on the hairdryer. This was the investigative safety certification team the manufacturer hired.

I would take a digital picture of the roasted hairdryer and contact via e-mail this testing laboratory. They are the only ones in the convoluted manufacturing chain that can get any value from examining this failed product. The safety certification lab may or may not reply to your digital inquiry. Then again they might ask for it to be shipped to them (at their cost) for analysis. There is also the possibility their safety certification mark was forged onto this frugal (cheap) product.

As for the root cause of the failure, you were using this product in a way that it was not intended to be used. This may not make a difference but you should understand how your choice can make a difference. The higher mechanical cycling of the switch from drying a part of one of your artworks could easily be the equivalent of a teenagers daily hairdrying for all of puberty.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 11:23 AM

Hi redfred, I'll be getting the roasted appliance back tomorrow, and will look at the label for some indication of where to send it, but generally, all similar products that make their way to my country - South Africa - simply say "Made in China". Maybe I should have been more detailed in my original post, but I assure you I used the dryer for no longer than half a minute at a time, on barely damp paper, maybe two or three times a week at most, yet its permissible to dry wet hair for maybe 20 minutes at a time, every day! And I definitely never stretched, or wound the cord tightly after use. I believe the store used the most convenient excuse it could find to avoid being held liable for a replacement that I wasn't even seeking!

Hi Lyn, drying damp watercolour washes with a hairdryer is a universally accepted practice. You assume 'splashing', 'puddles' and a 'wet' environment, so you're clearly very unaware of the techniques of watercolour painting. That's ok, but this time you've 'missed the boat' entirely. Most times I really admire your input.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 11:39 AM

True, watercolor is not my gig.

All the things I mentioned would come to mind of the uninitiated layman and may have influenced the store's decision to deny your claim.

Maybe discover who made the product and inform them of the "defect" and how you came to discover it, just as a courtesy.

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#39
In reply to #8

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 10:59 AM

but you used it sometime in your life, wasn't it?

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#9
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Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 11:48 AM

Did you make it clear to the store that you weren't after a replacement but just wanted to draw attention to a defect? That might have altered their attitude. I doubt whether the cost is much to worry about anyway.

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#73
In reply to #7

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/11/2015 4:19 PM

Next time make sure your hair catches on fire, and be sure to photograph that along with the flamethrower hairdryer, and your lawyer's speed dial number. Maybe that will be the intended use of the thing.

If given the choice whether to press the thing, or not, I adjure you most heartily to press the thing - under an 18-wheeler.

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#10
In reply to #5

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 12:05 PM

I want to make a clarification here.

The OP (daveh) clearly used a product in a way that it was not intended. However, the very goal of an artist is to get us to look at things in a different perspective. Often to achieve this new perspective, an artist will take common items and use them in ways they were not intended. When an artist takes something outside of their intended purpose the artist should recognize there can be a hidden price paid. In this case it is a shortened operation in time with the thwarted risk of fire.

I'm very glad this did not lead to a bigger catastrophe.

If you wouldn't mind, I would love to see a picture of your work.

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#66
In reply to #10

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/10/2015 10:44 AM

The use of a hair dryer to 'quick-dry' watercolors may be different from using a hair dryer to dry hair, but that is splitting hairs, like saying that chicken wire used to make an enclosure for rabbits is an 'unauthorized use.'

A hair drier, and in fact any 'heat gun,' of which hair dryers are a subset of, use a fan to accelerate the air through the heating chamber, where the heating coils raise the air temperature as it passes. As long as the input vents and the output port are kept free of blockages or restrictions, the machine should work as designed, regardless of what is in the airstream after it leaves the nozzle. Hair dryers are often used in context outside their 'named description,' from drying nail polish, to shrinking Shrinky-DinksTM to loosening stubborn adhesive tape, hair dryers have a wide range of uses.

The circumstances of the defect are curious, if the switch was in the off position, that means that either there was a fault in the wiring before the switch, the switch itself was defective, of there was a manufacturing defect that allowed water entering the dryer to cause a short between live contacts.

The retail store may be legitimetly not liable for the dryer, since they are merely the distributor of pre-packaged products, but their attempt to shift the blame to the user is poor customer service, and just plain rude. They should have explained that warranty issues are handled by the manufacturer, not taken it on themselves to try an invalidate the customer's claim.

As a final question to the OP, was the hair dryer hung from its support loop when the fire happened, or was it lying on the ground? and was it in a dry environment, or was it being actively exposed to water (by having the water drip onto the unit, or lying in a puddle?

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#67
In reply to #66

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/10/2015 10:48 AM

I was admonished by the OP as being ignorant by suggesting that he may have gotten the device wet.

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#68
In reply to #67

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/10/2015 11:01 AM

Ah, well, I would have edited my post if I had seen this in time, but the question is set in 'hard electrons' now.

Guess I'll just take my admonishment too.

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#69
In reply to #67

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/10/2015 12:21 PM

Hi Lyn, I'm upset you should take what I said about your knowledge of watercolour painting technique to be an 'admonishment' or an accusation of being 'ignorant' - which in my language is synonymous with 'stupid'. I have the highest regard for your mental acuity, but one can't be knowledgeable on every subject. I can paint in my best clothes and not get one drop of water or paint on me. I don't even have a proper studio, and paint in my living room, which is where the incident occurred - on my timber floor. If you Google watercolourists' workshops - I suggest David Taylor, Joseph Zbukvic or Alvaro Castagnet - you'll see the controlled application of a paint that results in damp paper. Unless this 'wash' is dry before the next application of paint, it can 'run'. However, sometimes one wants this, so there is no hard and fast rule! A hairdryer only speeds up what would otherwise mean a five-minute delay. When painting out-of-doors, there's no hairdryer, and one just waits.

I also consider the way I've been treated by the chain-store to be downright 'rude', since I wasn't gunning for a free replacement. The analogy 'adreasler' makes that using chicken wire to construct a rabbit hutch could be construed as being 'unauthorized', is pretty accurate. So I've taken the matter further, with a complaint to our Governmental Consumer Protection Agency, and will also write directly to the CEO of the chain store. Thank heavens I'm old, with time on my hands!!!

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#70
In reply to #69

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/10/2015 1:01 PM

Semantics is what it is.

I choose words that I think are correct for the situation.

Ignorance is not stupidity. Ignorance is not being aware of facts, quite a difference.

An admonishment is merely a statement. No tone of dissatisfaction was inferred by me from your statement.

As you said, I have never partaken of the joy of water coloring, except as a kid.

Don't be upset, it'll put you off your creative juices.

Cheers.

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#71
In reply to #69

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/10/2015 1:58 PM

If you purchase another dryer, look in the hot air outlet. You should see a device attached to one of the heater element supports that looks like this:

This is a thermal fuse or cutout, it disconnects the power to the element. It is a non-resetting action. If you don't see one of these near the element, don't by it.

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#72
In reply to #71

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/10/2015 2:43 PM

...don't "buy" it, or simply just go "by" it instead!!

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#24
In reply to #5

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 10:55 PM

redfred-

"The higher mechanical cycling of the switch from drying a part of one of your artworks could easily be the equivalent of a teenagers daily hairdrying for all of puberty." Doesn't seem like you have had any teenage daughters from this sentence. Almost nothing is equivalent to the brutal and frequent use of the hair dryer by them. They use them more often than they talk about boys.

When there were female teenagers in my family the puberty years for them was the insanity years for me. Worked a lot of OT, travelled on business frequently, consumed more "Rebel Yell" than I ever had and was counseled by my dog on almost an hourly basis. She was the most help. Faked having to go outside to take care of her "business" to get me out of the house and away from them, never complained or called me stupid, never disagreed with me, sat there and listened and most of all gave me unconditional love.

Remember-- As kids get older they don't get better, they just get different!

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#62
In reply to #5

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/09/2015 9:13 AM

Wouldn't be the first time that certification marks have been forged, or even country of manufacture.

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#33
In reply to #1

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 6:24 AM

What you mean is "no one gives a damn any more".

I had a classic case the other day... I fed a load of small change int the change machine in the supermarket. It rejected about 80% of the 10p coins.

When I cashed in the ticked I said ..The machine isn't accepting 10p coins correctly, it rejected about 80% which had been collected over a year or so. It's statistically improbable that they would all be dud.

The reply...?

"We haven't had an E-mail telling us it's faulty"

Eh???? That makes no sense at all...

The fact that I was telling them it was faulty seemed beyond them...

I shrugged and walked off, did my shopping and laboriously paid for it at the self service til by feeding in about 200 10p coins?

Any complaints, please E-mail

wedontgiveadamn@whocares.com

Back on topic.

I had a hot air gun melt, because I'd left it on it's side to switched off.
They generally need to stand so that convection will allow them to cool. That doesn't mean they are designed to stand easilly and reliably in that orientation as modern design seems to be done on a basis of coulour and visual appeal rather than functionality... it was probably also designed by some kid who's never used the product.

Del

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#43
In reply to #33

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 11:32 AM

LOL!!

As ever, very "Droll" Del ! (Who says "Droll" nowadays, other than my good self of course!!!)

Your new online name?

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#45
In reply to #33

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 11:57 AM

"We haven't had an E-mail telling us it's faulty"

send them an email and tell them they're all idiots..... and then go back and ask for the head idiot.

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#48
In reply to #45

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 1:10 PM

I would guess that what was meant by the service desk was that head office is both not aware of this problem, and therefore has not yet sent them an email telling us about it........

She/he just said it REALLY badly.....

But I am sure that they would be interested in noting the problems provided its handled correctly.....by the OP....

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#3

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 6:22 AM

Unless you were using that piece of garbage for drying really flammable vapor producing items, in which case the seller does have a point about improper use, the only other thing that could be your contribution to the incident is using really high duty cycle that should be obvious it couldn't handle, so it failed. In the sense it ceased functioning. But bursting into flames when used in a fused (as we should expect on a house) cirquit is ANOTHER thing. It is clearly because of bad design and implementation, and i suspect that the electricity codes it was manufactured to comply with are written in... ideograms (LOL). It could be anything, but the most possible point of fire starting is the switch that was probably deformed by overheating and crappy, thermoplastic, not fire returdant materials and produced a dielectric gap small enough to arc. The rest is obvious. Now I'm confident the manufacturer is 100% liable in this case, no excuses. S.M.

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#4

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 8:54 AM

When putting a hairdryer away some people pull the cord tight round the handle and then wrap the rest of the cord round (not easy to describe but I'm sure you know what I mean). This can eventually break one of the wires causing a short and possible fire. Is that a possibility?

I was always telling my ex-wife off about that, but she ignored me, as they do. Till it caught fire in her hand one day, then she got the message .

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#6

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 10:55 AM

"Watercolor", "washes" indicates that you are using the product in a wet environment, possibly even splashing water on it or laying it down on the floor in a puddle of water.

If the outlet into which it was plugged was not a protected (ground fault circuit interrupt) electrical circuit you were courting disaster.

I'd have to side with the store and say you were using it in not only a non-standard use, but also using it in a very careless manner.

"Hair" dryers are not intended nor designed to de-water paper sheets soaked with water.

They are intended to remove the last traces of moisture from hair that is already mostly dry.

Sorry, you are at fault.

Buy a commercial blower and plug it into a GFCI protected circuit.

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#23
In reply to #6

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 10:55 PM

Nonsense! I seriously doubt that the hair dryer could tell the difference between drying wet hair or a watercolor painting.

Well, unless it was one of those newfangled 'smart' hair dryers.

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#25
In reply to #23

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 11:13 PM

Because, when it was placed, "on the floor next to me, when it 'combusted' it was not drying hair or paper.
Pay attention.

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#38
In reply to #6

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 10:49 AM

".... using the product in a wet environment, possibly even splashing water on it or laying it down on the floor in a puddle of water." That sounds exactly like the typical bathroom where most people use a hair dryer. If the hair dryer proved to be unsafe as the OP used it, it surely would be unsafe when used as intended.

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#44
In reply to #38

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 11:43 AM

Which is my personal reason as to why all 3 phases in my house have those ELCBs or whatever they call them nowadays.....especially with the crappy European sockets!!!

By the way, a shock still hurts even with an ELCB (I tested one "unintentionally" years ago!), but its for a MUCH shorter time!!!

Many years ago, the EU wanted the UK to give up on its safe (as can be in comparison to the rest of the world) electrical system and change to the European types......UUGGGHHHHH!!!

Luckily, we refused......one of many incidents of EU bureaucratic stupidity. Like when they wanted us in the UK to burn all our cooking apple trees, because they were only found in the UK!! Many UK species of Potato were also not liked by the EU....we still have them all by the way.....

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#50
In reply to #38

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 2:35 PM

But, you left out the next sentence, "If the outlet into which it was plugged was not a protected (ground fault circuit interrupt) electrical circuit you were courting disaster."

Most outlets in bathrooms are GFCI protected. We don't know about OP's outlet, and that was my point.

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#51
In reply to #50

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 3:18 PM

In many countries, such units are not a requirement, here not for example, few have them!!

Another problem is that the bathroom sockets I have seen over the years cannot usually handle the current of a hairdryer....they are often only designed for shavers and the like....are really only a small isolation transformer in many cases.....not a true GFCI......

Even the UK, the last time I checked (it was a long time ago!) only required them for new builds.....

My UK house, with a build date of around 1450 (YES 1450!! Kit Columbus had not even sailed to the new country!!) had one when I rewired it in 1976 together with my Father......it was probably then the oldest house in the UK so completely protected.....if not still!! And not just the the bathroom....the whole house!!!

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#52
In reply to #51

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 3:46 PM

You re-wired your Father in 1976? :>0

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#54
In reply to #52

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 4:26 PM

I will leave you to judge which way round it really was !!

Unfortunate error in my post!!

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#53
In reply to #51

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 4:10 PM

If in 1976 you installed a 240v socket in the bathroom that was other than a transformer protected shaver socket, you were in breach of the IEEE Wiring Regulations (which I would guess was the 14th Edition at the time) That would invalidate your insurance and give your insurance company in the event of a fire, a valid reason not to pay out. Even today you cannot place an electrical socket within 3.6m (or is it 4.2m these regs do keep changing) of a bath or shower, and even one at that distance must be RCB protected.

A house built in 1450 with a bathroom????? My house was built 1926 and until 1951 made do with a tin bathtub in front of the kitchen range.

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#57
In reply to #53

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/09/2015 3:41 AM

You really should try to read with more overall understanding of the English language and grammar. You do live there, I don't anymore, its over 34 years since I lived in the UK, so please excuse anything I write that may take you longer to decode correctly....

But if you are in anyway "special" and/or have medical problems making this more difficult for you, or even impossible, please let us know and we will all try to adjust our posts so that you can understand better....not a problem for anyone here.....

Or maybe English is not your primary or first language, so I will do my best to try and explain it in more detail/simpler for you!

Here is the part from my post that you obviously failed to understand, I have clipped it out exactly as it was in my post, #51, if you feel the need to check it for accuracy.

Original text in black Italic:-

.....not a true GFCI......

Even the UK, the last time I checked (it was a long time ago!) only required them for new builds.....(Obviously talking about GFCI units, not particularly sockets in bathrooms!! The next part defines it even clearer:-)

My UK house, with a build date of around 1450 (YES 1450!! (see NOT a "new build was the point I was making!) Kit Columbus had not even sailed to the new country!!) had one when I rewired it in 1976 together with my Father......it was probably then the oldest house in the UK so completely protected.....if not still!! And not just the the bathroom....the whole house!!!............(this was the final clue, obviously NOT talking about just a possible bathroom socket, but a whole house rewire! ...."oldest house in the UK so completely protected!" Unlikely [totally illegal] to run the whole house via a bathroom GFCI!! How about some "benefit of the doubt" from you in the future as well!!)

Please take note again, I am not talking just about my bathroom at this point. Do you now understand correctly.....? It is intentional on my part to draw attention away from just bathroom safety, to the whole house safety....but it could be difficult to comprehend.

To sum up, that means my WHOLE HOUSE had the then equivalent of an ELCB/GFCI installed. Obviously lighting in the bathroom was also covered by that same unit, but of course there were no sockets in the bathroom....ever, and I did not state that there were either!!

Maybe imagination/wishful thinking/dreaming on your part maybe?

In case you are interested, in Germany, we generally get 3 phases fed into a house (I have never personally ever seen or heard of a single phase house here), which I feel is far more useful for DIY people and the like, where I also added, many years ago, such GFCI units to the main fuse box, one per phase of course.

So its slightly more expensive to install here due to having the 3 phases, but I feel its far safer having them and the possible loss of a phase, does not "Black out" the whole house, as it will usually leave some lighting and power still available... I personally find that all to be a big plus! Though it has actually never happened to us.....nor has anyone been "shocked" in the house, though I was at work once! Blacked out a classroom that happened to have no windows!!! Disaster!!In Germany, not uncommon to use a single phase for power and light, sadly!!

You mentioned the following:-

A house built in 1450 with a bathroom????? Again you assumed something, maybe wrongly, though it may have had (who REALY knows?), but I seriously doubt it myself as that was VERY uncommon then I would imagine!

Even Henry VI probably did not have a "bathroom" per se then!! If you did not know, he was the reigning Monarch at the time!)

You mentioned your comparatively ULTRA SUPER modern house built recently in 1926:-

My house was built 1926 and until 1951 made do with a tin bathtub in front of the kitchen range.

This demonstrates the singular difference between some younger housing in the north and older housing in the south of England!! The North/South divide! Cleanliness?

My bathroom was modeled sometime before WW1 we believe (on the rear house only!), probably when proper main drainage was brought to the village around the end of the 19th Century.

That was then for the time,"ultra modern" with an inside toilet (maybe a "Crapper" design!), plus sink and bath, as well as a kitchen with running water in the sink and proper drainage for all, but we did not have a date for that in the deeds.

So only educated guesses on our part.

Without main drainage, it would have been unlikely, but not impossible, to have seen a bathroom in what was at that time, two houses in one unit. It had been two houses from the day it was built, though upper floors were added later, probably sometime in the 16th Century looking at the design and the wood, now so hard, you need a masonry bit to drill it.. again, guessing a bit date wise....

But experts did evaluate the house in the 70's and noticed that the wood in the roof is fire blackened (open hearth, no chimney at that time possibly), and no ridge beam still......probably thatched, though at some later point it was tiled. Intermediate floors even later, with two huge chimneys..........

We connected the two houses by breaking through a ground floor connecting wall of around 4 feet thick!! But as the upper floors were not at the same levels (2 upper levels on one side, only one on the other), we never bothered to try and make a through connection above.

Children in one house half, adults in the other. Privacy for both!!

Never had central heating either, just big wood burning stoves for cold days, one in the lounge, one in the dining rood (they were placed by me in the original separate houses, one in each!!). It was a warm house(s)in winter, due to the way it was built anyway, cool in summer.

The bathroom has probably been re-modelled probably several times since then I would guess, but also no data on when and how.....In the UK, no legal requirement if I remember correctly. We also put a new suite in, in 1976.

If you have a particular interest in just how forward some countries, not just the southern UK, were for 100s of years very advanced with regard to sewage and drainage, (I have no idea when the north started such policies) there is a very simple and easy to read history here:-

http://www.sewerhistory.org/articles/whregion/britain.htm

Enjoy.

Understood now? But if you are still having any difficulties, just ask, I will always do my best to help any colleague on CR4, the same as you yourself would of course!!

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#77
In reply to #53

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/15/2015 1:57 AM

Could have been ample reason not to pay the insurance in the first place.

Did you break the bath tub? How did that compare to the cast iron one?

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#78
In reply to #77

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/15/2015 4:25 AM

It is a galvanised steel bath, with a handle at one end to hook vertically onto an outhouse wall for storage. I never used it as I only purchased the house in 1972, but my neighbor (now deceased) fondly remembered peeping (his name was Sid not Tom) from his upstairs bedroom when the three teenage daughters of the family living in my house used it one after the other every Friday night. I now use it as a water plant feature in my garden, to contain the spread of an invasive species of water lily. Considering that it must be at least 70 years old the galvanizing is in remarkably good condition.

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#55
In reply to #6

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 6:05 PM

Many of the newer hair dryers come equipped with a GFI as part of the plug. Guess someone is very aware of the need for a GFI and doesn't want to take the chance that the user isn't going to plug it into a wall GFI or Circuit Breaker Panel GFI.

GA

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#56
In reply to #55

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/08/2015 6:16 PM

It helps keep the product liability vultures from landing them in court too.

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#11

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 12:29 PM

As a follow-on to Lyn's points, it's quite possible that the minute quantities of your artist's materials are being sucked into the dryer and deposited in the motor (which is air cooled) and the interior of the dryer especially the heating element. If you get enough of that buildup, it's flammable and/or electrically conductive you just might provide the conditions necessary for what appears to be "spontaneous combustion" but isn't.

If you want the right tool for the job use an industrial heat-gun, they're built for use with solvents and long periods of on-time.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 12:46 PM

I have one of these. It works quite well, I think. Like a lot of my tools, it's a shelf queen.

1500 Watt Dual Temperature Heat Gun 572°/1112°

Item #96289 Only: $29.99 Sale: $9.99

The price is right too.

Of course, a GFCI circuit is mandatory.

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 1:12 PM

NO!

The heat from a heat gun will be much too high for drying watercolors on paper. That gun is for removing house paint with a scraper, not sealing it in place. Remember, paper typically burns at Farenheit 451. Your heat gun's cool setting is more than 100 degrees more. This is why hair dryers are frequently used by watercolor artists. A hair dryer for watercolor work is a very normal out of design use but it is still an out of design use.

If daveh wants to find a more robust hair dryer for his art he should consider a salon supplier. The constant use any salon would put their hair dryers (when used) will be a good proving ground for robust designs.

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#17
In reply to #14

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 1:43 PM

YES!

(Faster) Blowout: How to Pick the Right Hair-Dryer - Allure

Pay attention to wattage. "The higher the wattage, the hotter and faster the blow-dryer," says Urban. Simple enough. "Both stylists recommend using dryers with at least 1800 to 1850 watts for the speediest results".

1,500 watts is pretty standard these days.

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#21
In reply to #17

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 6:51 PM
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#13

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 12:56 PM

Is it possible that water entered the switch at some point? This would be evident if the "combustion" took place in the area of the switch. If there was no reaction by fuse or circuit breaker protecting the outlet, this would indicate intrusion into the switch by water. I know that watercolour wash involves sponges and water. I am with others in the suggestion that you purchase a dryer designed for continuos duty with a grounded plug and if possible a switch protected from water intrusion.

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#15

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 1:21 PM

Your reply #7 gives us the crux of your problem. I suspect that your country's (South Africa) government does not rigorously enforce safety standards for consumer products. As a result, nations like your's have become a dumping ground for products from unscrupulous manufacturers that could not be legally sold in the US, Canada, or the EU countries. This is from my personal experience living in Mexico.

I suspect that your problem dealing with the vendor of this product boils down to their unwillingness to admit their liability for selling an unsafe product.

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#16

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 1:28 PM

This is a known defect that exists in some hairdryers branded as Conair Infinity pro 1875 watt Salon Performance that has been documented and class action lawsuit filed...Defective appliances are ubiquitous in today's cost competitive society...If it's within the warranty period, under a year minimum for any electrical device, then there should be no problem replacing the item...If there was damage or significant losses incurred, then a lawyer should be contacted immediately....otherwise, just buy another one and hope for the best...bad batches of parts happen in all manufacturing...

http://www.law360.com/articles/465465/conair-accused-of-selling-hair-dryers-that-catch-fire

http://www.amazon.com/Infiniti-Conair-Performance-Folding-Handle/dp/B004INUY06

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 2:34 PM

Exactly my point. Could this defective model have been sold in South Africa under a different brand name?

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#22
In reply to #18

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 8:27 PM

Yes this is highly likely....the hair dryers are manufactured in China and no doubt that same manufacturer supply's product for many other brands...Conair has recalled these defective units....

http://www.conair.com/recalls.php?cntpcID=62&id=60

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#74
In reply to #16

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/12/2015 8:57 AM

Eliminates the fire hazard of hairdryers.

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#19

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 5:48 PM

My sister had one burn a spot on their floor. Many of these have a rotary joint of sorts to help prevent twisting the cord. That joint can wear, loosen and accumulate gunk in such a way as to cause a fire if conditions are right, even with it turned off. They unplug small appliances now when not in use. Even without this joint, if the cord twists and wears just right (wrong?), it can develop a partial internal short and start a fire even if not in use.

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#20

Re: Combustion of hairdryer

06/07/2015 6:08 PM

I agree that using in the manner you were is most likely outside the design limits. Still should not have burst into flames, IMO.

I suggest you look into something like this...It's designed for dogs/pets...Amazon has many different models and prices.

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#26

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 1:31 AM

According to codes,should there be a thermal protection relay incorporated?.

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#27

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 1:53 AM

when you get a moment, check the hairdryer, if there is anything left to check, or maybe the box/packaging it came in for the following

However be careful that you follow the next photo with regards to the CE mark

Your hairdryer should have something or at least one of the safety compliance logos to say it does comply.

If not take it to your local Standards office, in fact I'd take it anyway, as you said your retailer is not being the most helpful, and while your at it, mention the local press... That ALWAYS gets their attention!

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 3:32 AM

Opinion :- You were treated badly by the shop. You were either unlucky and found the one faulty among thousands or the batch is sub-standard, but the shop should have taken the cautious route and investigated further.

By all means try the manufacturer, after that the equivalent of trading standards in SA would be my next call. Your local council may have a department for faulty consumer goods.

With regard to CE marking, I have been told that certain unscrupulous far east manufacturers only stamp this on the box so they remember to "Chuck [it off the ship in] Europe".

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#29

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 4:23 AM

You did not tell us how much it cost (convert to US Dollars please)

How old it was - when did you buy it?

What guarantee does it have?

Can you see where the fire actually started in/on the dryer? Tell us, or better, post a picture or three...

Well known name or not? If well known, send it to them via registered post for evaluation....

If it was simply cheap Chinese crap, then simply forget it. Just throw it in the rubbish bin as you got what you paid for.

Good hair dryers have an easily removable filter to prevent hair and other crap (paper for pictures?) entering the machine and causing a source of "fuel" and fire.....

Some cheaper ones have the filter, but it is fixed in place and therefore more difficult to clean.....

The really crap ones do not have it at all....did yours have one at all?

We are missing a lot of info that might help us to help you......

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#30

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 4:38 AM

The critical clue is that drier had just been switched off when the fire started. This is a design fault with all hand held hair driers and not an electrical problem. It is common in hair dressing salons if the driers are not regularly and completely cleaned. While the drier is running dust and fibres are sucked into the drier and lodge on the internal surfaces. During use the drier element is prevented from getting hot enough to ignite this material because there is a flow of air removing most of the heat. When it is switched off the heat in the element decays slowly and without an air flow the temperature actually rises. In this case enough to ignite the material and transfer the flame to the surrounding plastic. It may have been placed on a none heat conductive surface and the ambient temperature was possibly high, both of which would contribute towards conditions where a fire would start. Professional hairdressers normally run the drier cold for a few seconds before switching off. (Obscure knowledge for an engineer to have, but my mother owned six ladies hairdressing salons)

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#42
In reply to #30

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 11:28 AM

GA

Which is exactly why the filter I mentioned is very important...

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#47
In reply to #42

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 12:15 PM

Unless the manufacturer is only interested in "Plofit", this should be in the circuit to prevent operation with blocked airstream. It opens permanently.

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#31

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 5:22 AM

I do not believe that the use of the dryer was anything like as arduous as drying hair, so, I do not think the store can offer "misuse" as a get out.

Most hair dryers have two control switches: one for the power to the heating element, and, the other for the power to the fan. All reasonable designs ensure that the off position for the fan also turns off the power to the element; however I have seen dryers in which it is possible to leave the heating element on with the fan off. The "Chinglish" instructions say that you must turn the fan on before the element, and, the element off before the fan. It would be easy for a casual user to believe that they had turned off the dryer because the fan is not running when in fact the heater was still on. Just a possibility.

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#32

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 6:18 AM

Hair Dryer is dryer.Let it be hair or paper. What difference it makes?. It is defective Chinese product. I have hair dryer "Oyster" U.S made. I am using since 25 years, still working good. I use it for multi purpose and no problem.

This Chinese brand must be cheaper make with defective switch. I presume that it did not switch off. May be it remained switched ON for long time and finally got blown off. Same thing happened in case of Chinese make small ceiling fan in our building elevator cabin. Someone did not switch it off and it caught fire. It was noticed in short time and cabin was saved.

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#34

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 8:22 AM

This sounds like abuse of the hairdryer to me. Take the cheap road to get a job done, then complain when something goes wrong. If you want a hot air gun, and obviously you do, then belly up and pay the price to buy one. They cost a lot more than a hair dryer for the obvious reason - they are built for industrial use and as such are much better constructed. We do very similar operations in the panel shop with a pair of them for shrinking heat shrink tubing with numerals on to label our inter connecting wires. We run these off and on repeatedly, 12 hours a day, 6 days a week and get about 2 years use out of one.When they fail, they don't combust, the fan eventually starts to loose fins, or the switch quits working.

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 9:22 AM

I recommend you try to dry your hair with that heat gun first. Better yet, use that heat gun to dry an important document.

If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck it might actually be a loon.

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 9:33 AM

Plenty of industrial heat guns come with temperature (wattage) settings. You can hold the temperature to that of a hair dryer, no problem. Guarentee this will run much longer than a cheap hair dryer. We use one of these to shrink labels on nylon air line without melting the air line. Quite easy to control max temperature. I have two heat guns of a cheap version at home from Lowes, that will definitely run better than a hair dyer, and safer than a hair dryer and can be set to the temperature of a hair dryer. I use them with plastic models I build to speed dry the paint. QUACK QUACK.

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#46
In reply to #36

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 12:05 PM

The real problem with hair dryers is that they are a highly price completive product. Everyone who makes one is trying to undercut the next guy. In order to increase the profit and stay competitive the costs of materials and assembly are reduced to the absolutely lowest possible. This includes using cheap and low quality (also more prone to defects) switches. These include fail open, fail closed and fail closed when in open. Good ones are comparatively much higher in cost. Very few stylists use them based on why buy the expensive one when you can get away with the cheap one. The most frequent problems are bad switch, broken heating element and broken case due to dropping it.

Yes, a heat gun is very similar to a hair dryer but they are different in how they get the temperature and velocity of hot air. Hair dryer uses much higher velocity and lower element temp. Heat gun uses the opposite, lower velocity and higher heat, in order to heat the air to higher temp. This temp is much higher than the hair dryer, as it is supposed to be.

Experiment- wet one hand with water and time how long it takes to dry it with the hair dryer. Do the same with the heat gun. Hair dryer will dry it quicker with the lower temp air. Repeat with the heat gun. The heat gun will take longer to dry and will burn your hand much quicker than the hair dryer can. This experiment is directed to those who must put sun tan lotion on their scalps when they go outdoors. Some of us can do an actual conditions experiment since we still go to barbers/stylists.

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#37

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 9:48 AM

Not sure if you were using an adapter with the hair dryer or not but it is not uncommon for hair dryers and other portable devices to fail when used at/in a different location in conditions other than they are designed to operate.

Many people think that because the motor is a brush-type universal unit that a dryer can operate at any frequency and any voltage within stamped rating.

From personal knowledge there are many brands of hair dryers that will not live up to their stated standards especially when subjected to different frequencies and/or different voltage levels.

We have found that it is best to be stringent in purchasing only high quality devices that are designed to operate in the country(s) where they will be used.

I would be very cautious about using the same brand of hair dryer unless the cause of the failure is identified as not the manufacturer's fault.

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#40

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 11:00 AM

product should have been made with thermoset plastic.

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#41

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 11:19 AM

Lint that collects at the screen where air comes in can accumulate and is very flammable. If you wet and dry paper it would have an even lower flashpoint than hair and lint.

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#49

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/08/2015 1:17 PM

You didn't mention what the floor covering was. Carpet, rug, linoleum, newspaper, a drop cloth? Any of which could ignite if a hot dryer element was laid upon it.

Hair salons use a hook to hang the dryer off the floor keeping it handy (as the primary reason), but a side benefit is it allows for faster cooling of the element as the air passages aren't blocked. You might install a hook to your easel.

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#58

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/09/2015 3:51 AM

Hi everyone, thanks for your varied opinions, some based on totally erroneous assumptions regarding the 'wet' environment in which the dryer was used, with comments on paint particles/lint etc being sucked up or tight winding of elec. cord etc. being equally implausible. The switch has no separate fan/element settings. There are only three positions; 0, 1, 2 (see photo).

I've now had the 'remnants' looked at by an elec/mech. engineer. He reckons when the switch was turned off, it somehow switched off the fan, but not the element. The appliance must have sat on my timber floor for a couple of days before combusting. It was some seven years old, but unused most of the time. I suppose I must just accept a cheap and nasty switch as the culprit, and thank my lucky stars I didn't go up in smoke as well! By the way, there's no country of manufacture on the appliance! In conclusion, I submit a sample of the sort of work I do, location being about 2 minutes from where I live.

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#59
In reply to #58

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/09/2015 3:56 AM

Great picture!

You were VERY lucky....always unplug.

But did it have that filter to stop stuff collecting inside? Was it used for hair before you used it for painting?

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#60
In reply to #59

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/09/2015 4:21 AM

Hi Andy, don't think there was a filter, but the dryer was never used on hair. Thanks for comment on the picture!

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#61
In reply to #58

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/09/2015 4:25 AM

Hi Dave,

Looks like Table Mountain. Do the seals still play in the harbour near the cafe?

p.s. 7 years old, yes you were lucky!

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#63
In reply to #58

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/09/2015 9:40 AM

I still think the root cause of your failure lies in the high cycle count of your switch from drying a few strokes of one color of paint to allow you to put on another color. The contact debris inside the switch allowed a current path for the heating elements but not the fan. This path was likely not as good a path as closed contact path so you did not notice an immediate overheat. With seven years of use the cycle count could just be a "red herring" the phenolic insulation at the switch might have just broken down.

You were extremely lucky here. Unplug the dryer next time or plug it into a switched power strip. The strip gets cycled ON/OFF for every painting session while the dryer gets cycled for each dry cycle of your beautiful artwork.

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#65
In reply to #58

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/10/2015 6:11 AM

Please see my comment 32. I had presumed correctly that it was faulty switch which caused the fire.

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#64

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/09/2015 9:55 AM

I suspect poor quality manufacturing process. I have noticed a similar condition in swamp cooler pumps produced in China. I recently had several " new " pumps fail after 1 month of use. I disected the pump, I noticed that the windings on the poles were wrapped from right to left and others from left to right. Now if the pumps are all the same models and presumably came from the same assembly line, why the difference in the winding direction ? Next I noticed that the wire appeared to be a different thickness ( visible ) along the length of wire. Some areas on poles were lacquered, other areas not. Consistency in production not a high point there.

Funny thing, some coolers I service are still using Dayton pumps, the ones built here, 10 years old or more that are still working, of course that was before some genius decided to go with overseas outsourcing.

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#75

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/12/2015 12:35 PM

I heard a program on NPR about how the workers in China were "recruited" from farms where the recruit had not even a light bulb on his or her farm. I had experience with products manufactured under NAFTA mandates whereby rather than parts cast in China be processed and assembled in another country, it was required that the entire manufacturing process take place in China. There were problems at first, but I found the Chinese people genuinely concerned and eager to correct these problems. The current product is of high quality. Just saying......

P.S. Please excuse any grammatical errors!!!!!!!!!!

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#76
In reply to #75

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

06/12/2015 1:42 PM

guaranteed to catch fire, when hair (or dryer lint) gets stuck in the fan motor?

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#79

Re: Combustion of Hairdryer

05/08/2019 8:02 AM

Cheap hairdryers can cause a lot of trouble, especially for people with fine hair. Bad-quality heating elements and no possibility for temperature regulating can be a reason of hair damage so it's better not to save money on blow dryers. Here is the review for those who want to choose the best hair dryer for fine hair. Not all of them are expensive, by the way.

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