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Thread: Watch for Such Things

  1. #1
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    Watch for Such Things

    Went to an office recently for a service call. Lost power to a row of desk receptacles. Briefly looked around desks, saw nothing strange, checked panel and found bad breaker. Soft tripped, still looked on. Wiggled it a little, went to trip position. Then hard to turn off and wouldn't turn back on. OK, bad breaker. Got another, installed it and all good. Went around with tester, all receptacles good. They called back 2 days later it was tripping again. Went back and as I walked by one desk, felt a blast of heat. Looked under and found a space heater on full blast. I am sure it was not there 1st time and I would not think to look for a space heater in mid August, high 90 termperatures. Well, I looked further and found another one 2 desks down. Both women said their legs got cold. I showed them how the 2 heaters together pulled 22 amps. Surprised breaker did not trip sooner. Fortunately, they had another ckt nearby to plug one of them into.

    In winter, I always think to look for space heaters but this is the 1st time I'd seen people using them in the peak of summer heat. So, keep your eyes open for anything and always ask what is being used, whether every day or off and on.
    Yes, I'll be happy to do a first class job for less than anyone else and take a dollar a week for 10 years.

  2. #2
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    Probably an air conditioned office and men are in charge of the AC settings. It's that way at our office and the women are constantly complaining that 78 is too cold. Luckily we have a rule about under desk heaters; they never allowed, even in winter because of the fire hazard.

    Talk about a waste of energy; paying to run the heaters, then paying again to run the AC to get rid of that extra heat.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jraef View Post
    Talk about a waste of energy; paying to run the heaters, then paying again to run the AC to get rid of that extra heat.
    I don't know how often this is done this way, but I once saw a large office building with several massive A/C systems. The freezing cold air was ducted to every area of the building. At every endpoint of the duct was a re-heater device that was controlled by a local thermostat. It warmed the cold air to the desired temperature of the local residents. I struck me as amazingly wasteful.

  4. #4
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    Reheat used to be fairly common. It provided for good humidity control and good comfort, and if the heat used for reheat came from the hot side of the air conditioner, it isn't as wasteful of energy as it might appear.

    In areas with high summertime humidity -- places where most Americans live -- it's necessary to chill air well below a comfortable temperature to remove moisture.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by drcampbell View Post
    Reheat used to be fairly common. It provided for good humidity control and good comfort, and if the heat used for reheat came from the hot side of the air conditioner, it isn't as wasteful of energy as it might appear.
    These were electric resistance heaters.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jraef View Post
    Probably an air conditioned office and men are in charge of the AC settings.
    Careful with that gender stereotyping; I am male and I keep a sweater on the back of my chair. Where I work it's more a matter of the A/C not cooling the area evenly and the thermostat set at a temperature such that the folks in the warmest part of the office don't have to swelter than it is anyone (of either gender) in particular wanting it colder than the rest of us.

  7. #7
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    when I had a desk that faced an exterior concrete wall, I had a "Cozy Legs" heater panel, 200W, that worked great. Much better than a 1500W heater for comfort.

  8. #8
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    Older folks, women in particular, like heat. Stereotypical but usually true.

    I recall last year we had a call to add a baseboard heater to a townhouse. As I walk in the front door, I'm greeted by an elderly couple, and a blast of heat... the central heat is on, as are all their existing baseboard heaters and a few portables. It's 86* inside, and they want (and paid for) another 2 4kW 8' baseboard heaters.

    My internal thermostat is not wired anywhere near that way; above 55*F, I am in a t-shirt and shorts. 80+, and I'd run around nude if I could. 109* heat index? Better call the NRC, this mass is about to go critical! I'm fairly certain at this point I had a Scandinavian ancestor who should have stayed put ages ago...

    re: the office workers, a heating blanket has much less draw and would be more comfortable for them, provided they dont roll over it (and its coils) with the chairs.
    Electricians do it until it Hertz!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jraef View Post
    Probably an air conditioned office and men are in charge of the AC settings. It's that way at our office and the women are constantly complaining that 78 is too cold. Luckily we have a rule about under desk heaters; they never allowed, even in winter because of the fire hazard.

    Talk about a waste of energy; paying to run the heaters, then paying again to run the AC to get rid of that extra heat.
    All female office from what I saw. They may have had central control from somewhere.

    I think these type are little fire hazard if any. No exposed elements like the old style ones and most have a tilt switch if kicked over. At any rate, I will sure think to look for them in similar future service calls.
    Yes, I'll be happy to do a first class job for less than anyone else and take a dollar a week for 10 years.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmellc View Post
    All female office from what I saw. They may have had central control from somewhere.

    I think these type are little fire hazard if any. No exposed elements like the old style ones and most have a tilt switch if kicked over. At any rate, I will sure think to look for them in similar future service calls.
    they will be sure to plug them into dedicated outlets, the better to trip a breaker that
    everyone's computer is running on......
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