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  1. #1
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    Jul 2017
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    Fire Investigation RE: Peckerhead Valve / R-600

    Hello, I'm a fire marshal and fire investigator and I recently attended a fire involving what was called a peckerhead valve on a large rooftop unit. The peckerhead valve housing was apparently the source of the fire / explosion as the housing was obviously distended from the inside. Stupid question, what does the peckerhead do under normal conditions and how do they typically fail, especially in ways that can cause a fire?

    Also, in a separate and maybe related question, is it wise from a fire prevention point of view to retrofit R-600 refrigerant into old / existing equipment?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Billington Heights, NY
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    a peckerhead is the common slang term for where compressor terminals originate. the wires connect here. loose connections and high amp draws can cause the connections to melt, opening a hole in the housing. in some instances, the ceramic holding the terminals can breach causing a conflagration of modern proportions when the compressor oil, refrigerant, and electrical sparks interact.
    Experience - knowing when to get the hell out of the way and plug your ears. "Don't be a sissy. Turn it on!"
    Poodle Head Mikey - "the world is well populated with the unknowing and the uncaring and the stupid."

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  4. #3
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    Jul 2017
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    Thread Starter
    Thank you HVAC_Marc. Very helpful!

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  6. #4
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    Billington Heights, NY
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    Mike, here's an example of what can happen:

    http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread....-largo-Florida
    Experience - knowing when to get the hell out of the way and plug your ears. "Don't be a sissy. Turn it on!"
    Poodle Head Mikey - "the world is well populated with the unknowing and the uncaring and the stupid."

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    Guayaquil EC
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM Mike View Post
    ...Also, in a separate and maybe related question, is it wise from a fire prevention point of view to retrofit R-600 refrigerant into old / existing equipment?
    R600 (Isobutane) and R290 (Propane) should never be charged into any existing equipment which was not originally designed for those refrigerants.

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