Are fish tanks a fire hazard?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Aquaphobia, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. Aquaphobia

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    I just got a letter from my landlady declaring that my fish tanks are a "fire hazard" and must be removed. I think the loose and uncovered outlets are a bigger problem, but that's just me. That and the fact that the "qualified electrician" she brought in here didn't know that a 220v appliance needed to have a double breaker straddling two slots...

    So, are fish tanks a fire hazard?
  2. KwigWell Known MemberMember

    Anything that has a plug could be. If you have proper drip loops in place and maybe make sure to use a surge protector power strip I don't see any danger.
    What does your lease say? You can also give your local fire department a call. I know they inspect businesses but maybe they can tell you over the phone or inspect your place and give you an official report.
  3. Jsigmo

    JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    Since she opened this can of worms, you could have your apartment inspected by a city electrical inspector. You may have to pay a fee for this, however.

    If there are violations, it may be somewhat expensive for the landlord to bring things up to code, and she'll be very sorry she started this.

    But, doing that will not make her happy. And you may end up needing to move because she will no doubt be very angry.

    Electrical systems in commercial buildings and rental properties must be kept up to current code. And any work must be performed by a licensed electrician. You can demand to see her electrician's license, and anything he allows to exist, without bringing it up to code, or reporting it, can mean losing his license.

    Loose receptacles are quite dangerous, and are a known cause of fires. Was he aware of them? If so, and he did nothing, he could lose his license.

    You may be able to have an electrical inspector from your jurisdiction check the building. This may be something she would not want to have happen. You could tell her that you are going to call the city and request an inspection to verify whether the aquariums are or are not a hazard. Since she may not want an inspector to see whatever else is going on, she may suddenly decide that the aquariums are not a problem!

    Still, if you have loose receptacles, you need to have them replaced. They can cause overheating and lead to a fire. And anything else that is dangerous should be fixed, too. An inspection might be in order. But your landlord may hate you!

    It's a tough position to be in. But I hate it when landlords use bogus claims to get what they want. If she is really just afraid of a leak, or worried about weight, etc., then she should just say that. Then it comes down to the terms of the lease or rental agreement.

    Maybe there are some things you can do to make sure your aquarium installation is safe, and then show it all to her.

    Drip loops. GFCIs. Proper and tidy wiring installation, etc., might all put her mind at ease. That is assuming that the electrical is really why she is suddenly asking to have the aquariums removed.

  4. KwigWell Known MemberMember

    This is glorious.
    It would be a cold day in hades before I'd get rid of my tanks without a fight. But if your lease forbids them, you're out of luck.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2016
  5. OP

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    The agreement doesn't forbid them. And I'm in a ground floor/basement with concrete and tile floors, if there's a weight concern on this floor it's not the fish tanks that are the problem!
  6. Grimund

    GrimundWell Known MemberMember

    Choose wisely the route you take. I'm personally spiteful and would ask your local jurisdiction if aquariums are fire hazards.

    At least there's plenty of water to douse the flames?
  7. KwigWell Known MemberMember

    I think an inspection is in order. You can play it innocently.
    "I was so concerned about fires that I wanted an expert to show me everything I could do to avoid one!"

    If your landlord gets that upset, they were probably unlawfully neglecting known issues and you could probably even sue.
  8. OP

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    They don't even want anyone to know they have renters. That's not unusual though. If it wasn't for illegal suites there would be an even lower vacancy rate than there is now and it's almost impossible to find a place as it is!
  9. Grimund

    GrimundWell Known MemberMember

    If you have a lease or agreement, then there is automatically a landlord tenant agreement, which does imbibe laws and protections. You can sue in the event it is broken.

    Just be sure to look up the laws regarding landlord tenant agreement.
  10. OP

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    Oh believe me, I've had about all I can take of landlord-tenant laws around here. They do NOT protect the tenant, in fact the government has shut down the office for those issues on the island even though this is the capital city and has an exploding population! I've had it with ex-drug addicts running rental scams to pay off their dealers on the backs of the innocent. You know it's bad when you call the police and the officer parks up the road and walks down and tells you he did it so he wouldn't have to deal with the other person. This is heaven compared to the last 3 years:(
  11. Grimund

    GrimundWell Known MemberMember

    Oh. I hadn't realized you were in Canada. Our laws in the states would work differently I assume
  12. OP

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    They work the same, it's a matter of enforcement. Anywhere else in Canada the law would be upheld but here it matters whether you're rich enough. We have a two-tier law system:rolleyes:
  13. Grimund

    GrimundWell Known MemberMember

    Can't you go above them? There's always a higher power
  14. Ihaveacactus

    IhaveacactusValued MemberMember

    I agree that you should get your landlady to do something about the exposed outlets. But as far as tanks being a hazard, I believe anything significantly impeding fire fighters in case of an emergency could be considered a hazard. For example if the set up was blocking a door from opening all the way or preventing emergency entry/escape from a room though a window (especially in a bedroom).
  15. moonraingirl

    moonraingirlValued MemberMember

    Haha trying to put out fire caused by electricity with water would be very funny indeed! Neighbours would see some fireworks :)
  16. Grimund

    GrimundWell Known MemberMember

    The source wasn't mentioned ;) Indeed there would be fireworks but, it might have enough of a reason to fool a less than intelligent landlord into letting Aqua keep the aquarium(s) though.
  17. OP

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    Ihaveacactus, nothing's blocking anything. No tanks are near a door or exit route.
    Grimund, it wouldn't matter, facts and reason are closed books here. If I was the scammy type I might know how to convince her in an epic speech but alas, I'm too honest for that;)
  18. Jsigmo

    JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    The electrical devices associated with an aquarium are no more of a hazard than any other small appliances. If you cannot have an air pump, heater, or power filter, then she will also need to ban lamps, fans, microwave ovens, televisions, stereos, radios, etc., and certainly things like hair dryers, curling irons, etc., that are really quite dangerous, and often used near grounded water as in bathroom sinks and bathtubs. Those are far more likely to create a shock hazard.

    You can get a plug-in GFCI to feed your aquarium gadgets, and have safety from shocks if that's the worry.

    But the aquarium devices are no more of a hazard than any of the common appliances people have in their homes.

    Any real electrician, engineer, or electrical inspector will back you up on this. She is out of line, and incorrect in her assertion.

    Again, just make sure the wiring is done in a safe and tidy fashion, with proper drip loops on anything coming out of the aquarium, and she has no valid reason to worry or complain.
  19. Lady Monster

    Lady MonsterWell Known MemberMember

    Did she specify what part of your set up is a hazard? Is she saying you can't have aquriums or that you need to move their location to a safer area of the home?

    The only fire hazard I can think of its their location. Example; At certain restaurants you can't place a highchair at the end of a booth because it's a fire hazard because it's obstructing the walkway. Are they placed in front of a window or something?? Or blocking anything?
  20. OP

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    No hazards. Not near exits or in front of heaters. And no, no specification, just that they're a fire hazard.

    Personally I think she's jealous that I have healthy tanks and fish;)

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