Burned out outlet

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-10-01, 02:42 PM
Guest
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I live in a house that is over 100 years old and our outlets cannot take too much....esp. space heaters. I had a space heater on all night and went ot turn it off in the morning..the outlet immediately started to spark and as I pulled the plug out, it left a nasty burn mark. It looks like one of the prongs was burned off in the process. So, how do I go about fixing this and getting that burned prong out of the wall?! Should I be worried that this may spark again and catch fire? The adjoining outlet continues to function.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-10-01, 04:09 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: ottawa canada
Posts: 1,164
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally posted by bleano
I live in a house that is over 100 years old and our outlets cannot take too much....esp. space heaters. I had a space heater on all night and went ot turn it off in the morning..the outlet immediately started to spark and as I pulled the plug out, it left a nasty burn mark. It looks like one of the prongs was burned off in the process. So, how do I go about fixing this and getting that burned prong out of the wall?! Should I be worried that this may spark again and catch fire? The adjoining outlet continues to function.
Replace the outlet plug, put a new male plug on the space heater.
Something shorted when you pulled the space heaters plug out, don't pull the plug out by pulling on the wire, pull it out at the male plug connector itself. The fact that it only happened when you pulled the plug out and it ran for several hours before or in the past means your circuit can handle it. 100 years ago, that house likely did not have electricity (just a guess), and was wired for electricity at a later date (just a guess again), but regardless it still could be pretty old wiring. However in this perticular instance it appears that the cause is that it was a damaged connector on the heater side that likely shorted when you pulled on it. As I said replace the outlet plug and the male plug on the heater, and only unplug the cord by the plug connector not pulling on the wire.

 
  #3  
Old 01-11-01, 10:34 AM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
Posts: 1,052
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I'm guessing that you have an old fuse box and a 2-wire electrical system (no ground). I have a 120 year old house and have been gradually working to re-wire, so I know what you're up against. I'm also guessing that by "outlets cannot take too much" you may mean that you blow fuses a lot when running a bunch of stuff at a time. I'd like to caution you, if some or all of the above is true, NOT to use fuses greater than 15 amps. Most of the older wiring, such as knob & tube, is 14 gauge, which is rated at 15 amps max. The fuse at that rating will prevent the wire from carrying more current than its rating. Exceeding a wire's current-carrying capacity is what causes heat, which is what results in many house fires. I'd like to mention that knob & tube wiring is primarily a safe design and is still permitted by the National Electrical Code (NEC). As long as it is not covered by building insulation, such as blown-in, which allows the wiring to build up heat as it can't dissipate it in free air as it was designed to do.

As far as your receptacles, you can easily replace any or all of them. If you would like to have some 3-prong plugs NEC allows you to replace 2-prong types with 3-prong ONLY if the new receptacle is a GFCI type, and ONLY if you label each one "No equipment ground" (little stickers come in the packeage). The other option, if you think a receptacle may be defective, is to replace 2-prong types with 2-prong types. Hope this helps.

Juice
 
  #4  
Old 01-12-01, 08:48 PM
green jacket's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Williamsport and Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
Posts: 502
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Exclamation CAREFUL!

After checking to see that all wire in the box (maybe, that long ago, boxes were required starting in the 1920s, however often times there were none installed anyway.

I caution you about the condition of the wiring and damage that has been done over many years and what was done recently by the heater. Without too many specific details that take alot of effort to explain w/o pictures, I'm keeping it simple:
-Do not force anything, insulation will be brittle
-the wires will be short, this will be a problem
-look with a very bright flashlight at the condition of everything, if any burn marks or discolored metal shows, tell us the details of the setup for instructions about how to proceed unless there is a problem before then.
-Easy does it, slowly but surly
-Make plans for other loads suuplied by this circuit if the receptacle mess falls apart.
-Do not hesitate to make a reply

Good luck,

gj
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: