News

‘Dirty electricity’ devices prove faulty

A YAMBA woman says there could be dangerous electronic devices plugged into power points in local homes and businesses that can cause fires.

Yesterday Yannick Martin's Clubyamba office was only minutes away from destruction when a device to filter electro-magnetic waves caused by so-called "dirty electricity" melted and caught fire.

The device, called a Stetzerizer Filter, is supposed to filter out "electromagnetic (EM) radiation from extremely low frequency (ELF) voltages caused by transients and harmonics on the building wiring" according to a website in the US advertising the product.

She said one of her employees had three of the devices in her house and when they checked them yesterday, two showed signs of charring and melting.

Ms Martin said her ex-husband, Howard Hall, had read about the dangers of electro-magnetic radiation in the home and workplace and wanted to safeguard his family and employees by installing these devices in their home and business.

She said her former husband had convinced other people in Yamba to install Stetzerizer filters.

"I contacted as many people as I could who I thought Howard might have convinced to buy these things, to warn them" she said.

Fortunately staff came upon the blaze before it could cause significant damage.

The electrician called in to clean up the mess, Yamba's John Smykowsky, described the devices as ticking time bombs.

He said the problem with them could either be poor quality components called capacitors or inductors, or an arrangement of them that caused them to overheat.

He said this could lead them to fail over time without any outward sign of trouble.

"Eventually the casing carbonises, it melts and then catches fire."

Mr Smykowsky likened the device to the faulty USB chargers which electrocuted a Sydney woman in June.

He said since the call out to Clubyamba yesterday morning he had done some research on the product and couldn't find any Australian standard for it.

His research also turned up web pages in the USA which warned the Stetzerizer filter was a fire hazard.

"With things like this freely available for sale it makes me worried about the way we are maintaining standards in Australia," he said.

Emeritus Professor at Queensland University of Technology specialising in electro-magnetic radiation, Professor Ian Longstaff, said these devices could not work in the way they were advertised.

He said the only way to protect people from electro-magnetic radiation was to live in a Faraday cage, a wire mesh box, which did eliminate electro-magnetic radiation.

The Daily Examiner contacted Fair Trading NSW about this product, but it did not return the calls.

The person who sold the devices locally said he no longer does so and did not want to comment on them.

The STETZERiZER GS-F240-EF Filter by Graham and Stetzer is designed to be plugged into any conventional domestic and commercial building electrical wiring power outlet to remove undesirable electromagnetic (EM) radiation from extremely low frequency (ELF) voltages caused by transients and harmonics on the building wiring.

These voltages, which are variable according to the different types of installed electrical equipment and power loads, are present on the indoor electrical wiring of every domestic house and commercial building.



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