Receptacle Rewiring Reprise!

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  #1  
Old 09-17-06, 12:39 PM
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Lightbulb Receptacle Rewiring Reprise!

Back in May or so I put up a thread here about getting electrical wiring in shape simply by changing the way the wire reached the receptacle.

I had written this after some re-wiring in April that had a profound effect on the sound and video performance in both my home theater and other audio/video equipment around the apartment. I was able to calibrate the TVs more accurately with the improved electrical current reaching the equipment.

Well, the wife was out two weekends ago so I decided to take a "stab" at one more receptacle on this particular branch in my apartment that I just have to describe to you folks its so ridiculous!

See, this circuit, labeled "Living/Bedroom AC"(that's alternating current, not the cold stuff) has 8 or NINE outlets on it along with one appliance: the kitchen range vent hood/light! Using that circuit-not always simultaneously, are two 24" TVs, two DVD/VCR decks, my wife's surround system, this computer, a treadmill, two sofa-side table lamps, two entry switched outlets(bedroom and front entrance) and two more receptacles by two windows and one in the dining area!!!

All of the outlets that I tackled on that branch(4 up to May) were pressure loaded back inserts. This does not include two conversions I did on the kitchen circuit - the fridge and counter-top. I converted them all to side-screw terminal. Good enough. So like I said two weeks ago I tackled this last one behind the couch. The plastic was so brittle that when I chipped away the 20 layers of paint on it, I cracked the plastic "face" of the upper outlet and had to whiz on down to the hardware store and secure a replacement.

Good enough. Got home, opened up the package and discovered it had the back inserts too - but these needed to be TIGHTENED via side screw. Excellent. Since this outlet was in a series, I had 5 wires to transfer from the old '69 special to the new one. Backwiring is easy and definitely recommended for a series, as per the box instructions. I still remembered to spin the roll of elect tape around the side screws a couple of times, plugged in my trusty tester, ran across the room and threw the breaker. Two green lights, as expected. I flushed the outlet into the wall, screwed on the cover and painted over some of the scratches.

Now here's the clincher: Remember that range-hood lamp I mentioned? 60Watt Max bulb rating, which I had in there. I turned it on, It flashed brightly for a few seconds then died. Not to mention it was greasy along with the surrounding fixture. So I cleaned under there and decided to try a 40W. Guess what:

That 40W is brighter than either of the two 60Ws I had in there over the past two years! I was really surprised that my wiring efforts could result in that much change in the brightness of lights in the house. I still don't know why that hood is on the living room branch though - it shouldn't be.

And now, I have more testimony that converting back-stabs to back-WIRE or side-screw saves electricity:
The average kilowatt-hours per day for 2006 June, July, and August have all been lower than for 2005 same months! Not the bills themselves - the utility recently jacked up our rates 20% between Jan & April - just the CONSUMPTION, is lower! Actually, August's bill itself was lower. Now granted August 2006 averaged 2 degrees cooler than 2005, but that alone could not explain the lower kWhs on that bill.

Good wiring is the answer here - and I encourage anybody here to seriously explore just what's behind their outlets. You may be in for a shock - from electricity more efficiently used. A national movement to eliminate all residential back-stabs could negate the need for Daylight Saving Time!!!
 

Last edited by Jackofalltradez; 09-17-06 at 12:55 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-17-06, 05:43 PM
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The only reason for a light to burn too bright is an open neutral on a multiwire circuit.
 
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Old 09-17-06, 05:57 PM
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idriveatitliest

And you can get a tester at a building supply. It has 3 lights on it and it will tell you exactly what is wrong with the circuit.
 
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Old 09-17-06, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by joed
The only reason for a light to burn too bright is an open neutral on a multiwire circuit.
It sounds to me like he was saying that resistance losses in the previous wiring was causing the 60W to glow more dimly than it should.
 
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Old 09-17-06, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by idriveatitliest
And you can get a tester at a building supply. It has 3 lights on it and it will tell you exactly what is wrong with the circuit.
But will not tell you the resistance in the connections, which is the problem he was describing.
 
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Old 09-18-06, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by MAC702
But will not tell you the resistance in the connections, which is the problem he was describing.
Thank you MAC!! At least you out of all three actually read my entire post. It clearly says about halfway down that I plugged my tester into the outlet and got the correct reading.

Call me Ben Franklin, but this back-stab upgrading really works - and makes sense!

<sigh> but I'll have to do it all again once we move from renting to buying.
 
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