Burning up childproof plug covers

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  #1  
Old 03-31-05, 02:00 PM
jbminyard
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Burning up childproof plug covers

Hi

We seem to be burning those plastic plugs for childproofing in a couple of our outlets. I'm not a complete newbie to wiring, but why this might happen eludes me. I'd appreciate and advice, speculation, or shared experience.

-James
 
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  #2  
Old 03-31-05, 03:37 PM
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Please describe what you mean by "burning up."
 
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Old 03-31-05, 03:46 PM
jbminyard
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It's charring the prongs that stick into the hot and neutral holes in the receptacle.
 
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Old 03-31-05, 03:51 PM
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My only guess is that you have something (powder, water, etc.) on the prongs of the covers.
 
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Old 03-31-05, 04:10 PM
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I had a similar situation many years ago in a NEW mobile home. The wiring was aluminum. The entire duplex receptacle was unused, but apparently got hot enough to discolor (but not char or melt) the plastic plugs due to down stream loads. I noticed it when I removed one of the plugs to plug something in. The unused receptacle face was warm to the touch. I snugged the screws and the receptacle cooled down. Then I checked all the other receptacles.
 
  #6  
Old 03-31-05, 04:57 PM
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I suspect you have some loose connections on those burning receptacles. Replace those receptacles and use the screw terminals on the side not the backstab connections.
 
  #7  
Old 03-31-05, 07:15 PM
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I second the loose/backstab connections. Pull the receptacle and rewire to screws or retighten. If the receptacle is discolored, just replace, I might be inclined to replace it anyway...if it is hot enough in the receptacle to melt plastic, it is hot enought to melt the recetptacle or change the properties of the metal.
 
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Old 04-25-05, 11:01 AM
jbminyard
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backstabs it is!

I finally got back to looking at the problem. It was in fact a poor connection on the backstab connections. Both the neutral wires had noticible burning, especially the wire that feeds a number of other outlets in the room. The wire with the worst connection I was able to pull out fairly easily by simply pulling (without using the release mechanism).

This might also fix a problem that I hadn't dived into yet, a receptacle downstream from this outlet had "low power", i.e. when I plug a lamp into the receptacle it is noticibly dimmer than when plugged into other receptacles.

Thanks
-James
 
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