Space Heater kills Receptacles

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  #1  
Old 01-21-07, 02:51 PM
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Space Heater kills Receptacles

Hi All,
I have an interesting wiring problem which has me scratching my head..

Yesterday, I plugged in a heater which tripped the breaker. The power draw of the heater is 1500W, which was obviously too much for the 15A to handle (since other items draw power from the same circuit). Anyway, after turning the breaker back on, I only get power on part of the circuit. The circuit controls some the lights in the den and kitchen and receptacles in the kitchen. In the den 4 receptacles don't have power, while 2 of them do.

So, thinking the receptacle where I connected the heater was the cause of the problem I replaced it, but still have no power.
At this point I am not sure what the next step should be.

Any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Chrisb22
 
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  #2  
Old 01-21-07, 03:21 PM
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Wink

Out of the box here. Id check all the other receptacles and switches. When they just stick the wire in them . Not on the screws they can stop feeding through lots of time
 
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Old 01-21-07, 03:38 PM
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Please allow me to expand on Eds post a bit. Although I know exactly what he is saying, his talent for brevity may have left you a bit ponderous of the intent.

Back stab receptacles are notorious for the connection going bad. Back stab receps are the ones with the wire stuck into the back of the recep and not on a screw.

I would work backwards starting at the first bad recep, checking it and then heading towards the panel. Your trouble is probably in the last good ecep or the first bad one.

The lights may very well be tapped off the same circuit after the bad section starts.

Replace the back stabs (if that is what you have) with some decent side screw receps as you go. Even if they are not bad, I would still replace them while you are there. Use pigtails on the receps and wire nuts for joints. If this is a multiwire branch circuit, feeding the neutral through the recep can be illegal. Rather than trying to determine is it is or not a problem, simply eliminate it now.
 
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Old 01-21-07, 04:02 PM
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Chris - Any chance that your kitchen receptacles are GFI? You may have popped a GFI along with the breaker. If any loads downstream are protected by the GFI they won't work until the GFI is reset.

One caution about "back stab" receptacles. There are two styles. An older style that relies on spring tension to maintain contact and a newer style that uses a scrrew compression. The older style has a reputation for unreliability while the newer ones are fine.

Even if you do have the old style receptacles and they are backstab connected, you don't necessarily have to replace the receptacle. Simply move the wires to the screw terminals.
 
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Old 01-21-07, 05:05 PM
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on the forum, as well as most folks I know, refer the type of recep where the wire simply stabs into the spring clamp as back stab. The type with the claimping style are generally referred to as back wired.

The fact that the type that does not use a screw to restrain the wire have the wire simply "stabbed" into the back of the recep tends to infer this type, not the back wired or clamp type.

It is highly unusual, though not impossible, to have the GFCI situation you considered. Depending upon the age of the home, the kitchen circuits would only be in the kitchen and extend no further.

As far as moving the wire to the screw; yes, it does eliminate the spring clamp problem but in my experience, this type of receptacle is generally an overall inferior and cheesy product. I would replace them altogether.
 
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Old 01-21-07, 08:12 PM
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Agreed, While your there, replace them. Nothing like a nice face lift to spruce things up. New wall plates are a good touch too.


Aloha Nap! Sorry I missed you at the convention.
 
  #7  
Old 01-21-07, 08:55 PM
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"The circuit controls some the lights in the den and kitchen and receptacles in the kitchen. In the den 4 receptacles don't have power, while 2 of them do."


Just trying to help the guy out. I saw nothing that indicated back stab connections in the OP. I also saw nothing that indicated the guy should run around replacing receptacles. What purpose would be served by replacing side wired receptacles are functioning fine. Why mess with something that isn't broke?

What I did see was that he indicated that there were kitchen receptacles on the same circuit that he was having problems with. Certainly not to current code but also not unknown.
 
  #8  
Old 01-21-07, 09:03 PM
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Somewhere there is an open. It could be a tripped GFCI, but more likely it is a failed connection. Heavy current draw, like space heaters, vacuum cleaners, irons, etc, have a tendency to cause weak connections to fail. For some reason ti usually a neutral that fails more so than a hot wire.


While a tripped GFCI should certainly be checked for first, if GFCIs are present, it will obviously be necessary to look elsewhere if there are no GFCIs.

Assuming NO GFCIs, every receptacle or other junction box on the circuit will have to be checked. Use of a plug in type electrical tester or a properly used two wire tester will help narrow down whether it is a neutral or a hot wire that is the cause.

While checking every junction box on the circuit, the best advice is to follow is to remake all wire nutted connections with new wire nuts, and to move any back stabbed connections to the screw terminals. All other connections should be checked to make sure they are secure.
 
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Old 01-21-07, 09:07 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I will give it another shot tomorrow with you all suggestions when i have some daylight. I will get some new receps in case I have to replace the back-stabs. I will let yall know who it turns it out.
Thanks,
ChrisB22
 
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Old 01-22-07, 05:35 PM
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Wayne Mitchell: Just trying to help the guy out. I saw nothing that indicated back stab connections in the OP. I also saw nothing that indicated the guy should run around replacing receptacles.

=========================================================
You are correct. Back stabbed receps were not mentioned by the OP. Ed mentioned them and I expanded on them. This type of situation is too often caused by the darned things so it is the first place I often look and recommend to look.

IF the receps are backstab, I would simply replace them as I worked through the problem. If he has side screw terminals, no,, I would not neccessarily replace them unless needed or they appear to be damaged (i.e. heat damage , broken face, etc.).

The kitchen thing; yes, I would check the GFCIs first. As you stated, it is a possiblility but it shouldn't be but we live with what we have sometimes.

Didnt mean to bust your chops Wayne.
 
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Old 01-22-07, 05:53 PM
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Wayne is spot on. Aswell as Racraft. I expanded on "while your there"...

The situation described would indicate a burned off connection first,secondly a tripped GFCI/AFCI based on the same surge ( if they'r older more likely).

I still think nice new clean devices and wall plates dress a home up nice.
 
  #12  
Old 01-22-07, 08:38 PM
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Thanks everyone. It worked. I found a bad back stab connection. I replaced it and Violla!! Luckily it was the first one I checked. I believe all the rest of the receptacles are the same type. I have a project for the weekend. I will be changing these out. I appreciate all the help. Thanks, yall are Awesome!!

ChrisB22
 
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Old 01-22-07, 08:47 PM
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We aim to please. Now hold still for a minute, I'm getting old and I cant aim as fast as I used to.

Glad to hear your problem (of the moment) has been found and fixed.
 
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Old 01-22-07, 10:06 PM
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Chris if I may add to the other posts. You dont mention this but would like to make sure you do not have a red wire showing up in the boxes. If you come across any red wires connected to the receptacles , switches or receptacles that are switched red wire or not let us know. There are two or three things you may need to know if your going to replace the receptacle. The one that is the most concerning is if you are dealing with a multiwire circuit, Sometimes a red wire is a tip off to that possibility. Please let us know if you come across switched receptacles or a consistant red wire showing up.

Roger
 
  #15  
Old 01-23-07, 04:51 AM
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Well I am glad that you found your problem so quickly.

To expand on what Roger is saying, if you do replace receptacles you must pay attention to the locations of the wires on the old receptacles and also to the tabs on the side of the receptacles. Sometimes the tab (usually only on the hot, or brass screw, side of the receptacle) is broken off. This is done to separate the top and bottom of the receptacle.

This is done to either allow one half of the receptacle to be switched or to allow for two circuits (or a multi-wire circuit). If either tab on the receptacle is broken off then you MUST break the same tab on the replacement receptacle and keep the same wire placement relative to the top and bottom of the receptacle.
 
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