Originally Posted By: jtedesco
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GFCI Circuit Breakers Replacement Program by Challenger Electrical Equip.
WASHINGTON, DC- In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Challenger Electrical Equipment Corp. of Malvern, Pennsylvania, voluntarily offered free replacement of its 15 and 20 ampere type HAGF single pole ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) circuit breakers.
These type HAGF-15 and type HAGF-20 circuit breakers were manufactured between February 22, 1988 and April 29, 1988, and most were sold nationwide to electrical product distributors during this period. Some may have been sold to consumers by retail hardware or lumber outlets. Approximately 9000 of these devices have not been located, some of which are believed to have been installed in residences.
Type HAGF ground fault circuit breakers are devices, which provide protection to consumers against severe electric shock and electrocution as well as providing the normal circuit breaker functions of interrupting short circuits and electrical overloads.
Although no electric shock incidents have been reported by Challenger, the firm recalled this product because is has determined, by quality control testing, that a mechanical part may become detached and prevent the ground fault feature of the circuit breaker from functioning. (The normal circuit breaker functions are not affected by this problem.)
They protect residential 15 ampere and 20 ampere circuits including receptacle outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, garages and outdoors as required by the National Electrical Code. The code also requires GFCI protection for receptacles in hotel and motel bathrooms. The HAGF circuit breakers, which may require replacement, are located in the electrical service panel. If the name "Challenger" is embossed on the front of the panel (on the door handle) and/or on the label on the back of the panel/door, that panel may contain circuit breakers requiring replacement. Affected circuit breakers have a yellow button and the word "test" in raised letters on one side; on the other side, the number 15 or 20 is printed on the handle in white letters between the raised words "ON" and "OFF."
If the number on the handle is black or if there is a label it with white lettering next to the word "test , then the HAGF circuit breaker will not need to be replaced.
Consumers should note that the HAGF circuit breakers which require replacement will only be found in dwellings which have been constructed since February 1988 or in which electrical work has been done since February 1988.
Consumers who believe that they have installed HAGF circuit breakers requiring replacement should contact a licensed electrician to perform this work. Power to the panel should be shut off before inspecting and removing breakers.) The company is no longer able to be contacted at the phone numbers provided in the original press release.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission believes that GFCI's provide a significant level of electrical safety. The Commission recommends that all GFCI's (whether circuit breaker or receptacle type) be tested frequently, at least monthly, using the test button on each unit.
Easily Installed Device Protects Family Against Electrocution
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Government safety experts say an inexpensive device installed in the home electrical wiring system could save some 200 American from being electrocuted this year.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the device - a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protects people from electric shock hazards and electrocutions. Available at building supply and hardware stores as well as electrical supply houses, the GFCI can be installed in the electrical panel box or in wall receptacles when powered tools are being used.
CPSC said GFCIs monitor electricity flowing in a circuit. If current should "leak" to ground for any reason, such as a portable electric appliance falling into a kitchen sink filled with water, the GFCI shuts down the power in milliseconds. Such quick action protects the consumer against electrical shock and burn injuries or electrocution whereas circuit breakers and fuses function primarily to prevent the home wiring system from causing a fire.
In new homes complying with the National Electrical Code, GFCI protection has been required for receptacles in bathrooms, basements, garages, outdoor outlets, and kitchen countertop receptacles within six feet of the kitchen sink. In homes built before 1973, the electrical systems can be upgraded by replacing existing circuit breakers in panel boxes with GFCI-type circuit breakers or by replacing old receptacles in outlet boxes with receptacle-type GFCIs.
Consumers may obtain a free copy of the government's fact sheet on ground-fault circuit interrupters by sending a postcard to GFCI, Washington, D.C. 20207.
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant