110 volts to millivolt valve!
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    268

    110 volts to millivolt valve!

    Yes, my customer had an electrician wire the basement and somehow connect 110 volts to the switch wire (18/2). "It was only on for 2 seconds," the electrician says. The guy assures my customer that everything would be fine but he must have known it would have cooked something. So the valve was fried and it blew a hole through the top of the t-pile. The bill was $644 and my customer was furious (not with me). It is yet another example of why people shouldn't touch gas fireplaces unless they are qualified to do so.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Coming to a town near you soon
    Posts
    774
    Did the t stat survive?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    34.8n 102.4w
    Posts
    3,244
    Kinda nice of the sparky to pay for 1/2 the fireplace.....



    Hope you told the HO to call if they have any other issues.....
    Life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    268
    The experience did open my eyes to the possibilities after I install a fireplace. The saving grace for me is we installed it 3yrs ago and it was just recently that they finished the rest of the basement. Also, the customer told me about the mistake. If nobody found the mistake and/or lied about it they may have tried to blame the fireplace or us. I could see a homeowner making the same voltage screw-up. I now know what it looks like and will keep it in the back of my mind.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    392
    I ran across this last year. A customer had a contracror build a huge bedroom addition with a DV gas fireplace. Well, he did a shoddy job on several things and went out of business. The customer called the second best fireplace repair company in the area :-) to try to get their fireplace working. After 2 thermopiles, a thermocouple and a control valve, they were told to call me.

    The contractor has hooked 110v to 18 gauge wires and somehow thought that was suppose to operate the control valve. I wish I had taken a pic of the control valve, the plastic was melted and dripped down to the bottom of the firebox.....it kinda looked like a stalactite hanging from the roof of a cavern.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,127

    Exclamation dangers lurking

    After we had a few techs get electrical shocks, we instituted a policy that all techs will test each fireplace with a non-contact voltage detector before they touch it. We've found lots of uncapped NM cable stub-ins lying on the floor of the Fp just waiting to zap a tech. The 18 ga. "low" voltage wire is a little more insidious. Some mfrs. will put a sticker down there warning against 110vac but who reads warnings? Besides, the Fp company stubbed in the wires. The electrician just wants to get paid so he does what he thinks is right. However, what electrician thinks putting 110vac on ANY 18 ga. wire sounds like a good idea? Maybe inside a furnace cabinet but not household wiring.

    In case anyone reading this doesn't understand, you can NOT connect 110 vac to a gas millivolt valve. It will cause permanent damage to the valve and other components and must be replaced.

    Rob, you're still not carrying a camera with you? Document, document, document man.

    Be careful out there,
    Hearthman

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    268
    I had fan wire sitting loose in the bottom of a fireplace last week. Yes it was live also. I put it in a receptacle box with ground fastened and marretted the hot and neutral. I did not connect a plug receptacle because another time that we removed a old gas unit we left the plug receptacle for the customer and they plugged in a electric insert heater and almost burnt the house down because the speed control on the wall started cooking. This post should be taught in lessons to all techs as many older units are replaced with electric fireplaces. Limit liability!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    392
    That was over a year ago. Now I always have my camera phone in my pocket and the digital in the service truck.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Ontario Canada-in the Banana Belt!!
    Posts
    211
    First lesson I was taught in tech school was to always separate and know/learn what is high voltage and low voltage when you take off the door..

  10. #10
    Had one just the other day where the electrician ran the wire and tied it to the bottom of the fire place..Mealted the wire .. cool sparks

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