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Old 06-10-2006, 09:07 AM
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Seeking parts washer safety advice

I'd like to buy an electric parts washer that Harbor Freight has on sale and I'm just wondering about the safety of a metal basin with solvent powered by electricity in the garage. Any tips? My house was built in 1966 and I only have one grounded outlet in my garage. Any tips to get one or avoid one would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 06-11-2006, 12:57 AM
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I was using a parts washer back in high school and the guy who used it before me ended up dumping a load of gas in it. When I was done washing my parts and I flicked off the switch, the whole thing went up in flames. I didn't get burned too bad...lost my eyebrows and a little hair. Just a word of caution.
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Old 06-12-2006, 11:53 AM
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Never use gasoline, alcohol or anything like it to clean parts in. Use specifically made parts cleaning solution or mineral spirits... they don't give off the vapors or have that low a flash point. The lid on a good parts washer is set up to close and smother a fire if it starts (never put anything in it that keeps the lid from closing completely). Make sure you don't have a furnace or water heater nearby that might ignite fumes. Also, NEVER SMOKE! I knew a guy in high school that was washing parts in gasoline in the garage under his parent's house. Another guy walked in and lit up a cigarette and was blown back through the door.... the other guy died about 6 months later from his burns. The firehouse was two blocks away and they heard the blast, so they got there quick. It lifted the house off it's foundation. They didn't do him any favors by pulling him out of there. He died a slow and painful death. Be careful.
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Old 06-12-2006, 03:02 PM
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Install a new outlet with ground. (Verify a good ground first!!)

Your box MAY be grounded already, if its metal. Most houses USED to run a wire to the metal pipes as a ground. If they updated the plumbing, check to see if that ground wire is hiding in the joists somewhere in the basement.

If not, you have some options. 1.) Fish a wire from the box to the exterior of the house. Drive a 6' copper ground rod into the ground all the way, and connect to that.
Or #2, fish a wire to the panel box's ground.



Your computer(and any video) should be on a grounded circuit, by the way !!!
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