December 13, 2011
September 2, 2011
August 26, 2011
- Portable generators produce carbon monoxide (CO). CO can kill in minutes. More than three hundreds people died in US during power outages from generator related CO poisonings. Therefore a portable generator can be run only outdoor with exhaust away from your home. EPA recommends to locate gensets at least 10 feet from the home You should also allow at least 2 feet of clearance on all sides of generator for adequate ventilation.
- Most commercial portables are not weather proof. They pose the risk of electrocution and shock when used during a rain. Therefore, cover your genset in advance since Irene hurricane will be accompanied with heavy rain. It is not recommended to run a genset during a rain. If you are absolutely positively need to use a portable generator during a rain, build an open canopy-like structure. Don’t’ touch a genset with wet hands.
- A portable generator should not be connected directly into your house wiring without a special two-pole changeover switch or an interlock, since otherwise you will be feeding electricity back into the utility lines. This would present a hazard for linemen and your neighbors. Portables are intended to be connected to your appliances primarily via separate cords. If you did not get a chance to install a transfer switch, prepare heave duty outdoor-rated cords with sufficient length. These cords should be long enough to reach your appliances through the windows or open doors.
This post is not a professional or a legal advice- I assume no liability of any kind for the accuracy of the above information.
August 1, 2011
May 11, 2011
I wrote previously about potential mercury poisoning and UV radiation hazards related compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). Now it appears they may also present a fire hazard. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission just announced a voluntary recall of some energy-saving light bulbs made by Telstar Products (d/b/a Sprint International Inc) due to fire hazard. The affected bulbs are rated between 18 and 40 watt and are sold in discount stores under the brand names Telstar and Electra. Remember, unlike incandescent bulbs, a CFL is not just a filament. It contains a small PCB with electronic circuit that converts 115VAC 60 Hz input voltage into high frequency AC that drives the lamp. And any electronic circuit, especially the one that contains high voltage transistors and electrolytic capacitors, may be a potential fire hazard. This is another reason to stock up old incandescent bulbs that may not be available in US beginning 2012.
April 14, 2011
January 29, 2011
EPA also states "Environmental contamination can lead to costly health risks and can discourage investments and development in low-income, minority, and indigenous communities disproportionately impacted by pollution". From what I read about it, previous studies by Centers for Disease Control shows no evidence that racial minorities experience higher exposure to environmental chemicals than whites on a national scale (see for example aei.org ). As for low-income communities, it was suggested that poor neighborhoods often grew up around existing refineries and chemical plants because the land was cheap. Similarly, new facilities could be built near poor neighborhoods because land there is cheaper. How would these EPA grants change the law of supply and demand in real estate? Of course, 1.2M is a drop in the bucket relative to billions of taxpayers dollars spent by our government. But, there is no doubt, the government has many more spending programs like that.
January 6, 2011
· Why is it instead of just banning CFLs, EPA explicitly encourages Americans to use them?
· How come we don’t read on the CFL label something like this: “This product contains substances known to the state of California as causing kidney and brain damage”?
· Is not ROHS directive bans products containing lead and mercury in amounts exceeding 0.1 % in homogeneous materials? After all, in electronic equipment these elements present health threat only if you have a habit of chewing printed circuit boards, but releasing mercury vapor in CFL by accidentally (or intentionally) breaking may be a real threat.
A simple answer is: a CFL is more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, and therefore it must be a politically correct health hazard. Probably for the same reason RoHS Directive conveniently exempts CFL from their requirements and allows up to 5 mg of mercury per lamp. And to add insult to the injury, the US government is phasing in between 2012 and 2014 new efficiency standards for lighting, which would preclude sale of most traditional incandescent bulbs (see Energy Independence And Security Act Of 2007 ). So, soon, we may not have a choice. European Union and Australia have already started to phase incandescents out in 2009. I guess, I am going to stock up on incandescents until we’ll be able to buy screw-in LED lamps at a reasonable cost. Of course, their "reasonable cost" will still be 10-20 times more than that of today's regular bulbs. Indeed, aside from high-intensity LEDs, they will have to include a small power circuit with power factor correction (PFC), but… we should not worry about it—the government knows what’s better for us.