Replacing old receptacles

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Old 01-02-07, 10:45 AM
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Replacing old receptacles

Happy New Year to everyone!

A few questions I need to have answered if possible.

I am replacing all the old outlets and switches in my home because I find a lot of the outlets have a black soot type material on the outside of the receptacle. So, this leads to my first question;

1. Is this black soot type material from overloaded receptacles and/or just old outlets?
-- A lot of the outlets that have this material in them do not have anything plugged into them. (Well, nothing since we moved in about 2 yrs ago). I already replaced a few of the outlets, and the copper wiring in the box looked fine.

Second question:
I am wanting to install a GFCI outlet in my kitchen circuit because I don't believe there is one currently. The only GFCI outlet in the house that I've seen, is in the garage, which when I trip it, it shuts off the outside, garage, and bathroom receptacles, and NOT the kitchen.

2. Does it matter where I put this GFCI? Should I have it at the beginning of the circuit, or does it matter?
All the wiring I've seen so far, has the typical black, white, and bare copper wiring.


Thanks for any info you experts can provide. If it's too much of an issue with the GFCI, I will just ignore putting it in. The building inspector when we bought the house never mentioned the kitchen not having a GFCI. The house was built in 1982, and I assumed stuff like this is grandfathered because he did not make the old homeowners install a GFCI.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 11:18 AM
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The black marks on the receptacles are burn marks. People obviously plugged in and unplugged items while they were turned on. This is perhaps not good for the device in question, but does not hurt the receptacle, unless it actually damages the plastic.

The GFCI in the kitchen needs to be the FIRST on the circuit. You should have two circuits, so you will need two GFCIs. You should, of course, already know how many circuits you have serving the kitchen.

The home inspector cannot make the seller do anything. Except what is mandated by codes related to real estate transactions (such as smoke detectors in some states), all negotiations are between the buyer and seller. The report of a home inspector can be used in that negotiations, but it cannot mandate something be done.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 11:26 AM
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Thanks racraft!

To determine the first on the circuits, I could disconnect 1 white and 1 black wire from a outlet and see if the rest on that circuit go out?

I have some outlets that have two white, two black, and bare copper going into 1 two outlet recpetacles. I assume the bottom white and black feed the rest in the circuit?
 
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Old 01-02-07, 11:44 AM
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Never assume anything. One pair of wires (a black and a white) bring power in. The other take power out. IT could be the pair on top, the pair on the bottom, or the wires could be swapped, one top and one bottom.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 11:47 AM
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Yes, I meant to say that as well. Looks like my day will be busy.

What is bothering me with the way they built this house is, they installed some or most of the outlet and switch boxes in dry wall not attached to studs. For instance, my entryway wall switches. I had to physically try and hold the electrical box in the wall so when I pushed the switches back in, the whole box didn't go in the wall. Gosh, I hate laziness.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 11:55 AM
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The burn marks could be burn marks or they could be dirt. If your house is poorly insulated with poor or no vapor barrier it could just dirt from drafts blowing through the receptacles.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by HotinOKC View Post
...they installed some or most of the outlet and switch boxes in dry wall not attached to studs. For instance, my entryway wall switches. I had to physically try and hold the electrical box in the wall so when I pushed the switches back in, the whole box didn't go in the wall...

I installed a few "old work" boxes in my house. When properly installed, they grip the back side of the drywall quite tightly, and are extremely difficult to push through the dry wall from the front. Sounds like in your case, the boxes aren't really attached to anything other than the wires that go into them.

Not a good idea.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 01:57 PM
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I agree! Not a good idea. Luckily, I will probably be tearing that wall down because the previous owners decided to trowel joint compound on as a decorative feature. So, now I have that wall with a nice 1/4" trowel texture. Instead of sanding all that down and joint compounding it, I'm just going to re sheat rock it, and fix the electrical box then.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 02:13 PM
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If your kitchen ckts include lights, you may want a seperate GFCI for all countertop rec. A little more money, but you wont be in the dark.

This will take some time to trace. So be patiant.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 03:09 PM
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While you are having as much fun as you say you are going to i will just add one more thing. I'm not sure of the local codes out there. But regardless, Your outside and bathroom GFIs can't be on together. If at all possible you need to seperate this ckt and then either run a new ckt to the bathroom plugs (for the entire house or run a ckt to the lights and plugs of each individual bathroom. Codes specifies one 20amp ckt to each bathroom if it controls both the lights and receps or one 20 amp ckt to all the bathroom plugs by themselves. Just thought i would let you enjoy your entire house remodel. Good luck. Let us know if we can help
 
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Old 01-02-07, 04:45 PM
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Reaplcing these circuits, I found numerous strange things. There are outlets (2) in my kitchen that run on the same circuit as some in my living room. There are some circuits in my living room that run on the same circuit as an adjacent bedroom.

Rewiring these to make more sense is out of my skill range. If I decide to get this fixed, I will hire an electrician.

Here's what I noticed so far.

The lights in the kitchen are on their own circuit

The outlets in the kitchen are run off of two circuits which some of the outlets are in the living room.

Is that common? I know it's kind of vague description, but thats the low down of what I noticed so far.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 04:55 PM
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Let me break down How codes work
Kitchen: atleast 2 GFI 20 amp ckts serving no more than 4 receps total. Lights can be on 15 amp breaker sharing with just about anything in the house.
Bedroom: Must be on arc fault breaker. usually 15 amp AFCI
Dining room 20 amp ckt. possibly shared with nook area or maybe even jumping to the kitchen to pick up two GFIs.
living room: usually a 15 amp ckt with lights or no depends on how the house works out. I tend to put at least on dedicated 20 amp in for Electronic equip and such.
Bathrooms: either a bathroom is its own 20 amp ckt with both lights and plugs or the bathroom GFIs in the whole house are on on ckt and they are the only thing on that ckt (at which point the lights can be on with anything)
Garage and outside plugs: usually their own ckt provided they do not exeed number so as not to overload the GFI. I think that pretty much covers the basics and it sounds like you ave some work ahead of you...haha Give a shout if we can help...Aaron
 
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Old 01-02-07, 05:08 PM
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Note that not all of what Sthrnamp has posted is code. At least not the NEC anyway.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 05:39 PM
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Thank you racraft for clearing that up..I forgot to say it...I was trying to give an overview of what would be more acceptable i was not quoting the NEC though and i thank you for catching that i should have specified
 
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Old 01-04-07, 12:26 AM
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Not sure how old your house is but nowadays the dining room is on one of the sabc's from the kitchen. Maybe your mistaken the living for the dining.

Don't put a GFCI behind the fridge and try not to have the fridge on a GFCI at all if posible.
 
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Old 01-04-07, 04:32 PM
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Just to help clear your head.

In MA, If the GFCI (bathroom) trips.. It cannot shut out all the lights in the room. In short.. 1 20A ckt for the bathroom and 1 light must not be GFCI protected.

Check local codes before you get too far.
 
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Old 01-04-07, 05:43 PM
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You are allowed to have GFCI for 1 bathroom, to include outlets and a light/fan per NEC 210.11(C)(3).
 
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