switch to 12 gauge?

Old 12-29-02, 07:22 PM
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switch to 12 gauge?

I used 14 gauge wire in some receptacles in my garage. As is my custom, I wrap rubber tape around the lugs of the receptacle.

Today, I opened up one of the boxes, and noticed evidence of heat (the rubber tape was melted over the lugs). The outlets carry a fairly heavy load from time to time: power tools, freezer, leaf blower.

I'm fairly sure that switching to 12 ga. with correct the heat issue. It's a 15 amp circuit. There are five outlets on the run.

Am I on the right track?

Old 12-29-02, 07:56 PM
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It sounds as if you were pulling right around 15 amps at some time. If you had been drawing more, the fuse/breaker would have blown. I would say that replacing the wire with #12 should alleviate the overheating problem at the receptical, unless the outlet itself is defective and not making good contact.
Old 12-29-02, 09:45 PM
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Might I suggest that when you replace the wire replace the receptacle you noticed the overheating on. The price of the new receptacle is small in comparison to the cost of an unsafe receptacle and once they overheat I personally never trust them again.
Old 12-30-02, 05:59 AM
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I would suggest that the overheating problem was not the wire itself, but the termination to the receptacle. Is there any evidence of overheating to the insulation as it enter the box and wall? If not, replace the receptacle, and reterminate the same wire (unless its aluminum, then replace the wire too). Although #14awg wire is only rated for connection to 15A circuits, it can carry its fair share of 15A plus. If you feel that the breaker is working correctly, meaning that it protects at 15A, then the wire will be fine.
Only upgrade to #12 if you have low voltage problems.

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