Home electric outlet went bad, why? (pic inside)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 150ron, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. ericrat

    ericrat Long timer

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    14 gauge isn't the problem. 14 gauge can easily carry 20 amps. AT ONE TIME, possibly long ago in National Electric Code, it was legal to run 14 gauge for a 20 amps circuits that didn't have lighting attached. I have seen Furnace blowers and such, wired, inspected and cleared with 14 gauge and 20 amp breakers. If there had been a light on it it would have flickered, badly. A small voltage flicker will make the lights flicker like mad. My NEC knowledge is 20 years old so...

    I REALLY don't like the paint showing on the wires. I THINK I see a little bit of paint left on that toasted neutral, hard to say. Clean it up, like other said, use a quality receptacle.

    Maybe get an infrared thermometor. They are useful for all sorts of things including checking receptacles.
    #21
  2. D.T.

    D.T. Difficult but useful

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    Grab a beer and enjoy! :freaky
    #22
  3. Rocket Scientist

    Rocket Scientist Adventurer

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    Just put a new recepticle in there, cut fresh ends on the wires, tighten the screws, flip the breaker & call it a day. I havent had any issues since. :freaky
    #23
  4. Cataract2

    Cataract2 Where to?

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    Her hair drier at 1875 watts and the Vrms assumed to be 110V is using 17 A of current. If the wiring is rated only for 15 A it is using to much.

    Now, if I assume 120 Vrms it comes out to 15.625 A. Just depends. Either way, it almost looks like for the amount of power required for the hair drier the unit might not be up to it.
    #24
  5. Benesesso

    Benesesso Long timer

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    That assumes the 1875 watts is a constant, which it isn't. With higher voltage the wattage will be higher, not lower.

    Think garden sprinkler. Manufacturer assumes you have 40 psi (voltage) AT the sprinkler, so he rates the flow (amps) at say 3 gallons/min. If your house has 50 psi, you'll get more flow.

    Quiz time: If voltage is like water pressure, and amperes is like water flow RATE, what is the electrical equiv. of a gallon?

    :1drink
    #25
  6. kfsinc

    kfsinc Chaingolian Observer

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    Consider your self lucky:

    [​IMG]

    This is the first outlet in a string of 10 or so around the perimeter of the Rec Room. Wife was vacuuming and plugged into the last outlet in the string. Saw smoke, turned the vac off, called 911, then called them back when the smoke stopped. They came anyway :clap :clap Luckily, no other damage.

    I was skiing in Tahoe -- text comes in: Call home, NOW, the fire trucks are here :eek1 not a fun conversation.
    #26
  7. kfsinc

    kfsinc Chaingolian Observer

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    KWH or Kilowatts per hour.
    #27
  8. Benesesso

    Benesesso Long timer

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    Good try, but nope. Try again! :norton
    #28
  9. 150ron

    150ron Long timer

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    Wow, you guys are great, lots of good info here,

    check on the beer,

    and check on new outlet with the wires fully cleaned up,

    all works well now.

    kfsinc, now that is some scary shit, really glad all turned out to be ok.

    I might change those 6 recess lights into new LED lights i saw at Costco, that way the electric draw will be a lot less.
    #29
  10. PFFOG

    PFFOG Richard Alps-aholic

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    My bet is on the paint/DW compound as others mentioned. Not only could it have caused high resistance and heat initially, many compounds like that are Alkaline and this will cause the copper to oxidize, creating further resistance and subsequent heat.

    And to answer the quiz a watt, as it is a specific volume of power. (KWH was also probably correct but more equivalent to a 55 gallon drum than a gallon)
    #30
  11. muddywater

    muddywater Been here awhile

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    AFCI breakers are also available that can detect arcing. They do have some issues with nuisance tripping and aren't cheap. I think the code in new homes require them in bedrooms. They mount in the panel and have a blue test button.
    #31
  12. greywolf

    greywolf Unpaved road avoider

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    If I were you, I'd make sure the breaker is working or maybe replace it with an arc fault type on principle. 14ga wire can't have more than a 15A breaker by code but a 20A rated outlet is fine.
    #32
  13. the_gr8t_waldo

    the_gr8t_waldo Long timer

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    i've arrived late for the party but....it's clear that no matter how "tite" the set screw was when you removed it- the connection was loose. could be cross threaded and the dullard that first made the connection was not up to the task...makes no matter how long it seemed, to work fine the equipment looks fine for the application. as you already did.. remove and replace (actually the other netural screw looks fine, you could of just used that assuming the there's no warping of the recp. it'self). on the face of it from that long list of appliances you have pluged into the one, duplex recpt. you might be stretching a good thing a mite too far. all i can picture is a nightmare of extention cords and cubetaps! consider adding another recpt. just changing over to leds ain't going to reduce the draw appreciatively ....now what kinda beer? let get this party rolling!!!
    #33
  14. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

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    if this is used for a hair dryer, I would put a GFCI breaker or receptacle on it.

    It was loose. I would check them all

    Often it is the low ranking electrician helper that puts on the outlets.

    Rod
    #34
  15. BK

    BK Electron herder

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    A coulomb.
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  16. Benesesso

    Benesesso Long timer

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    We have our winner! :clap

    [​IMG]
    #36
  17. Boatman

    Boatman Upward and onward!!

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    I'd be checking all the switches and outlets for paint. Maybe this particular outlet didn't get protected when they painted,,, or maybe they are all like that.


    I have one those houses that was wired with aluminum and still has most of the original devices. Been going through and replacing them methodically with the proper devices and anti oxident. I'm surprised this house never burned to the ground with some of the things I've found....

    This just had a cover plate over it :eek1

    [​IMG]


    Obviously whoever painted the walls last knew about this.
    #37
  18. the_gr8t_waldo

    the_gr8t_waldo Long timer

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    in general, paint (as well as drywall goo) is not an issue. typically the interior gets painted- that's EVERYTHING! but when the device is installed, the tech strips off,the protective insulation. ground wires are the notable exception- see the photo in post #1
    #38
  19. BK

    BK Electron herder

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    Man, I was hoping that degree would pay off some day! :deal
    #39
  20. Boatman

    Boatman Upward and onward!!

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    You are correct. But go back and look at the pic,,,,, you can clearly see paint on the exposed portion of the neutral wire. I've been on jobs where the electricians lackey ran out of devices and to keep busy just kept prepping the boxes. Who knows what the circumstances were?
    #40