Hot plug with smoke smudges


Old 10-19-05, 12:32 PM
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Cool Hot plug with smoke smudges

I recently purchased a 1960's home and smelled smoke in the living room of my home. It turns out that is coming from an outlet that only has my DVR connected to it. At the same time, my wife had her blow dryer and curling iron on in another room. Could this be linked to this outlet going out?
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Old 10-19-05, 12:42 PM
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Many homes built in the 60s contain aluminum wiring. Does yours? If so, I recommend an on-site evaluation by an electrician. Or, if you'd rather do it yourself, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission web site and study up on the proper ways to mitigate this hazard. In the meantime, don't use that outlet.
Old 10-19-05, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by sqwirls1
Could this be linked to this outlet going out?
Absolutely. High current loads such as hair dryers and vacuum cleaners are notorious for causing weak wiring connections to fail. As John mentioned, if you have aluminum wiring instead of copper, this (and the rest of the house) should be investigated by a professional.

Conversely, if you have copper wiring you can probably fix this yourself. Turn off the breaker or pull the fuse for this circuit and remove the affected receptacle. You'll want to examine the wire for melted insulation and remove sections that are damaged; if all of the wiring in the box is melted, then you have a big job on your hands. Replace the receptacle with a new one of the same type (2 prong or 3 prong). Use the screw terminals, not the push-in backstabs to make the connections to the new receptacle. Black to gold screws, white to silver screws. Carefully note how the existing receptacle was hooked up; take note if either of the tabs is broken on the existing receptacle; take a digital picture of the old receptacle before you unhook it in case you forgot to write something down. Check the wirenuts and/or crimps for tight connections and heat damage.
Old 10-19-05, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: USA
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"At the same time, my wife had her blow dryer and curling iron on in another room. Could this be linked to this outlet going out?"
It can be. if its on the same circuit.
Power goes to one outlet, then that outlet feed the next and so on.
A chain from one plug to the next, if you get a loose connection in any link it will create heat at that point when something is pulling power down stream.
I would turn off the breaker that feeds the problem outlet and get it fixed.

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