Help with warm outlets.

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  #1  
Old 06-16-04, 10:04 AM
Allamand
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Help with warm outlets.

Hi,
first post here and hope someone can help me out. I have a circuit that is 20A that is feeding 9 outlets. I have three fish tanks running off this circuit, and have never had a problem with it tripping the breaker for the 1 1/2 years the tanks have been running. I just noticed lately though that 3 outlets feel warm to the touch. These 3 outlets are the first of the 9 and they have nothing plugged into them. The strange thing is, the last 2 outlets that have nothing running on them are not warm, neither are the outlets that have the tanks running off them. Just the first 3.

Now I looked into the wiring, as it's in the basement and found that this circuit is feed from a 12/3 wire that is running 26' from the panel, and it splits off into two circuits of 12/2 at the first outlet. The circuit in question has another 36' at least after this split.

So, my main ? is, is the warm outlets a concern? The breaker doesn't trip and doesn't get warm either. I haven't added up all the power yet, but plan to do so, art least add up the watts being used. Will that help, or does it need to be the Amps, not the Watts??

Also in ? is the 12/3 wire. I can run two 12/2 wires straight from the panel and not use the 12/3. Would that help any? Does sharing the white "common" make a difference?

Sorry for all the ?, but hopefully one of you here can help me out.

Thanks
-steve
 
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  #2  
Old 06-16-04, 10:14 AM
scott e.'s Avatar
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I would check to see if the outlets are wired using backstab connections. If so, move the wires from the backstabs to the screw terminals. Otherwise just check the connections and make sure they are tight.
 
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Old 06-16-04, 10:18 AM
Allamand
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Yes, I can tell you right now, that all the outlets in this house use the backstap's. House was built in 93 northern Wisconsin. Is it best to start slowly moving all the outlets to the Screw terminals?
 
  #4  
Old 06-16-04, 10:23 AM
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My house is mostly backstabbed too, but I don't move them unless I have a problem or have some other reason to be messing with the device.

But by all means, fix the ones that are warm. Consider also buying $3 receptacles to replace the $0.30 that are there.

If you get done with that, and found it really exciting, then proceed with the rest of the ones in your house.

A multiwire circuit (one that shares the neutral of 12/3 wire) actually helps reduce voltage drop (and thus heat) if wired properly (i.e., there is 240 volts between the two hot wires), but it works the other way (and is very dangerous to boot) if wired improperly (i.e., there is 0 volts between the two hot wires).
 
  #5  
Old 06-16-04, 10:28 AM
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FYI, the multiwire circuit only helps reduce voltage drop if the loads are balanced on the circuits.
 
  #6  
Old 06-16-04, 10:30 AM
Allamand
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exciting Oh ya, I have an window A/C to hook up today, now that will be Exciting, as it's a beast and going into a second floor window.

I think I will just pick up 3 better quality outlets instead of moving these to the screw terminals. Would it be wise to replace the other ones on this same circuit, or just the first 3 that are feel warm?
 
  #7  
Old 06-16-04, 11:31 AM
rlrct
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Backstab vs. Backwire

FWIW, some of the newer Leviton receptacles available at the big box stores are higher quality "backwire" devices.

The reason the older "backstab" devices weren't as good is that there is a spring plate that makes the connection when you push the wire into that little hole.

The "backwire" receptacles have a plate that's tied into the side screws. When you tighten the screws down the backplates clamp down as well. I'd think those connections are as good as any side-screw connection because of the screw-based clamping action vs. spring-based plate version in the "backstab" receptacles.
 
  #8  
Old 06-16-04, 11:35 AM
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I agree, I would not hessitate to use a screw/pressure plate receptacle. It is just the spring loaded ones to avoid.
 
  #9  
Old 06-16-04, 06:42 PM
Allamand
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Thanks for the info everyone. I'll post a reply after I get to town and replace the outlets. I hope that takes care of the issue.
 
  #10  
Old 06-23-04, 09:21 AM
Allamand
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Hello all, just an update on the 3 warm outlets. I replaced them after finnally getting to Menards with some Commercial grade 20A ones and there is no longer the "warm" outlet issue.

I was surprised to find that them 3 outlets where a defferant brand then the rest that are in the house. The brand was Slater and not Leviton.
 
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