Electrical Fire WARNING
We have a 2004 JAYCO Legacy. Last week we awoke to the smell of burning insulation. The fire alarm did NOT go off. I located the smell at the hot water heater and when I moved the blue cable, sparks flew. I imeadiately turned off the electric switch and circuit breaker. The circuit breaker did NOT trip. To investigate the problem I removed the black plastic cover, with dificulty, to see what had happened. The electrical wires were balled up together, one wire nut had completely burned up, 6 inches of the 115V white wire burned up, and BOTH of the screws on the electric heating element were so loose that the wires fell off. The difficulty I had with removing the box was due to the ground wire to the thermal switch being only 3 inches long. I have no idea how JAYCO got this hooked up. I ohmed the element and switch. They checked good, so after cleaning up, extending wires, and electrical taping wire nuts, I reinstalled. Everything works fine.
There is some controversy on taping wire nuts. On my rv.net post some said yes & some no. One person said it was a RVIA requirement to tape wire nuts, but I could not confirm. Non in my JAYCO are taped & I tape as I find them.
I notified JAYCO of the problem and received no response.
I was concered about the circuit breaker and discovered that a regular circuit breaker may or may not trip. There are new circuit breakers that came out around 2000 that have a "Arc Fault" that takes care of the problem, but they are expensive. I was also concerned about the fire detector and learned that there are 2 types: 1. "Ionization" cheapest, and 2. "Photo Electric" best. JAYCO is cheapest and I am replacing.
I contacted the National Fire Prevention Association, NFPA, that regulates fire standards for RVs. They had an interesting RV Fire Report for 2003-2006. These are annual averages: 1,960 RV Fires, 22 Deaths, 58 Injuries, 13.7 Million Cost. Origination of fires: 15% refrigerator, 13% electrical distribution, 11% heating.
Be safe out there and I hope that this may help someone. At 68 I am too young to die in an RV fire.
Thanks for your warning...
Yes. I once see a fire at an electrical outlet where its upstream breaker did NOT flip. Its rare but can happen - even within a normal home running a 110/120V sump pump.
Your post reminds me that I "need" to buy a simple normal stick house 9V battery smoke detector. Then, install it within my Jayco - on its ceiling. Thus, having 1 factory smoke detector and one modernized (indpentant powered) smoke detector. Double the safety.
Not too sure if taping wire nuts are mandatory on TTs or automobiles. However... I think dipping each wire connector in some liquid electrical tape (re: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...500_AA300_.gif ) while TT is traveling down its assembly line is a great idea. Thus, sealing its connection from natrual moisture and reducing the risk of its connector from un-screwing (from normal road bounce). Hope the higher authorizes read your warning and make liquid electrical tape mandatory. A simple $1 improvement could save many future lives.
Many thanks for sharing your electrical fire warning...
Originally Posted by navyjim
Sounds like you were very fortunate to catch it the way you did, and the RV fire statistics are alarming to say the least.
One thing for sure, looks like I'll be investing in another smoke detector!
2002 GM 2500HD 6.0L/4.10
2005 Jayco Eagle 278FBS
Reese HP Dual Cam
Putnam Class V