Window A/C unit cord is Hot...Normal?

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Old 07-18-12, 01:50 PM
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Window A/C unit cord is Hot...Normal?

Since its 100f + here in NJ my window a/c has not kicked off all day.

I have the temp on the a/c set for 79F and it keeps the house at 82f on the far end. Only 1050 sq ft down stairs. I keep the fan on hi to move the most air.

Its a 10000 btu unit not plugged into an outlet on its own breaker. Its a 15 amp circuit with other outlets and lights but nothing else is on.

The cord is very hot as is the outlet. I mean HOT!!!! Additionally I go to the main panel and that breaker is warm.

My meter reads 120volt with unit off and 116 volts with unit on with compressor and hi fan. Amp draw is 11.48 amps and using 1255 watts hi fan and compressor.


Should I be concerned? Is anything wrong?


I do have a 20 amp outlet on its own breaker 10 ft away but would need an extension cord to plug in.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 02:04 PM
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Like you, I would be concerned about it. I've seen the cords to appliances get warm but I don't think they should ever get hot and I don't like the idea that the outlet is getting hot either.

I would get a heavy duty extension cord #12 or #10 of the shortest length that will work and try running the unit off your 20 amp circuit until you get things sorted out.

I would inspect the 15 amp outlet that was getting hot. Maybe clean the conductors so they are nice and shiny and install a new outlet using the screw terminals, not the push wire into hole connector. In the circuit panel I would pull the breaker to insure it's contact blades are not corroded and inspect & clean the wire where it attaches to the breaker. I know you know this already, but make sure you have the power off before doing any of this. I would kill the main breaker or pull the meter for the work inside the circuit panel.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 02:07 PM
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My meter reads 120volt with unit off and 116 volts with unit on with compressor and hi fan. Amp draw is 11.48 amps and using 1255 watts hi fan and compressor.

Should I be concerned? Is anything wrong?
11.48 amps and 1255 watts are pushing the continuous load for a 15A circuit, but not over it, so the circuit should be OK. I assume the breaker is not hot. Have you checked that? It sounds like the A/C mfr. may have sized the cord a small as allowable. OR - is the cord in like-new condition? Is the A/C unit new, or recently cleaned and serviced?

I do have a 20 amp outlet on its own breaker 10 ft away but would need an extension cord to plug in.
I would do that, using a heavy-gauge extension cord, long enough to see if the A/C unit's cord heats up that way. It should, because the issue should be the unit and its cord, not the circuit.

Replacing the cord with a new heavier-gauge one may be the way to go. And cleaning and servicing the A/C unit, if you haven't already.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 02:11 PM
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One more thought: When you get that
heavy duty extension cord #12 or #10 of the shortest length that will work,
also try putting that between the unit's cord and the 15A outlet you've been using. If the outlet doesn't get hot when you do that, then you've isolated the problem.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 02:30 PM
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I assume the breaker is not hot. Have you checked that?
Its warm, not hot. Its warmer then the others. I am just feeling it with the back of my fingers.


It sounds like the A/C mfr. may have sized the cord a small as allowable. OR - is the cord in like-new condition?


Just looked at the A/C cord and its 16 AWG. Seems the outlet is only hot on the one its plugged into. The outlet below it is not as hot.


Is the A/C unit new, or recently cleaned and serviced?
What????...LOL Yeah when they stop working I go out and buy another one. How the heck do you sevice them other then clean the filter? I dont think the condenser gets dirty enough in its lifetime to warrant taking it apart and cleaning.... No?


All outlets are new. It was part of my re-sheetrock of the kitchen. While the walls were open I replaced all outlets and switches.

The wiring in the wall is the old cloth looking covering.

I will try the extension cord and post back shortly.










 
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Old 07-18-12, 03:05 PM
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OK. Best ext. cord I could find that was less then 25ft was a #14. Its 6ft.

I plugged into the 20 amp outlet and the A/C. The plug of the A/C gets hot where it plugs into the ext. cord. The ext. cord at the outlet is normal temp.

I am going to plug it back into the 15 amp outlet with the ext. cord to see the results.

Post back shortly.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 03:32 PM
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Is the extension cord new?

A well used cord can have frayed strands of wire inside, most likely near one end or the other. The remaining strands represent a much thinner wire and the cord heats up at that spot (the heat can spread in both directions including into a receptacle, causing melting and other damage).

Plug prongs not making good contact in a receptacle also lead to overheating.

An extension cord should not get noticeably warm. If it does then you need a heavier cord. If the cord gets hot anywhere along its length you need to stop using it. There is definitely something wrong, usually a loose connection at the hot spot.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 03:50 PM
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OK I plugged the A/C into the ext cord, and the ext cord to the 15 amp outlet.

The A/C plug end gets hot. I felt the A/C cord and its not hot. The ext cord is normal temp except where it plugs into the A/C plug end.

My thinking? I think the plug end of the A/C is bad. I think I need to hack it off and install a new plug.

This.

Shop Cooper Wiring Devices 15-Amp 125-Volt Yellow 3-Wire Grounding Plug at Lowes.com


Oh and here is the temp upstairs. If you cant read it from my crummy phone camera it says 102F....LOL

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Old 07-18-12, 03:54 PM
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I wish it was only 102 in the attic I was in today.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 08:09 PM
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I wish it was only 102 in the attic I was in today.
I heard that! Why do attic and rooftop jobs only come up in August (OK, July, but you know what I mean) and February.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 08:18 PM
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My thinking? I think the plug end of the A/C is bad. I think I need to hack it off and install a new plug.

This.

Shop Cooper Wiring Devices 15-Amp 125-Volt Yellow 3-Wire Grounding Plug at Lowes.com
Cute. Is there a 90[SUP]o[/SUP] drape-down cord cap on the cord now? And did you mount your receptacles with the ground slot up?

Frankly, I would buy a new, heavy-duty cord, complete with cord cap, and replace the whole thing. For one thing, successfully attaching a new cord cap to an existing cord can be challenging.
 
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Old 07-18-12, 09:09 PM
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Yes it is a 90 now on the A/C. And no I did not put the receptacle up. All my receptacles have the ground down.

Cord cap you mean the plug end right?

OK do I open the A/C to replace the cord? What kind of terminals can I expect in there? And do I buy a extension cord and cut one end off? What would be the difference of putting a plug on the end other then a heavier gauge wire?
 
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Old 07-19-12, 08:50 AM
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Yes it is a 90 now on the A/C. And no I did not put the receptacle up. All my receptacles have the ground down.
Then the cord cap you linked to is not the one you need. If you decide to just replace the cord cap, then this one, with the ground prong down, is: Pass & Seymour/Legrand 15-Amp 125-Volt Black 3-Wire Grounding Plug

Cord cap you mean the plug end right?
Yes.

OK do I open the A/C to replace the cord?
Yes.

What kind of terminals can I expect in there?
IDK, you'll just have to look and see.

And do I buy a extension cord and cut one end off?
No, you buy an appliance replacement cord, with a plug on one end and terminal connectors on the other. They should be commonly available. Just check for ground-prong-down, matching terminal connector type, and wire gauge - not less than 14AWG.

Note: Taking the old cord to the store is often a really good idea.

What would be the difference of putting a plug on the end other then a heavier gauge wire?
Having a factory-assembled, UL-listed assembly, with no guesswork about the connections between the prongs and the conductors.
 
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Old 07-19-12, 09:47 AM
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Sometimes appliance like this have a crimp on insulated connectors where the cord connects to the internal wiring. How would you Pro's handle that? Just wire nuts? Do they sell adequate crimp ons that don't require special tools?
 
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Old 07-19-12, 09:52 AM
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Then the cord cap you linked to is not the one you need. If you decide to just replace the cord cap, then this one, with the ground prong down

If the A/C is above the window I would think I want the cord to go up, no? As in the cord cap I linked to. Why have the cord go down then up?



 
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Old 07-19-12, 10:12 AM
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Sometimes appliance like this have a crimp on insulated connectors where the cord connects to the internal wiring. How would you Pro's handle that? Just wire nuts?
No. Twisted splices and wire nut protectors are not compatible technologies for the inside of most appliances. If I can't find a replacement cord with the matching connectors already on it, then I strip the wires and crimp on the ones that are needed.

Do they sell adequate crimp ons that don't require special tools?
Interesting viewpoint. What do you mean by an adequate crimp on?

To answer a question you didn't ask, I don't consider my Klein 1010 a special tool. It cost me not much more than my other strippers, IIRC, and I keep it close to hand whenever I'm working. And in many years of using it, I haven't yet encountered a crimp connection I couldn't make with it, on common sizes of electrical wire - not counting feeders on one end nor comm cable on the other.
 
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Old 07-19-12, 10:22 AM
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If the A/C is above the window I would think I want the cord to go up, no? As in the cord cap I linked to. Why have the cord go down then up?
Ah, more information is always enlightening!

Mike, the reason for having the cord go down from the plug is to reduce the effect of gravity on the cord-to-plug connection. If your old cord had this type of plug on it, and you did not fully support the cord so that there was no strain on the point where the plug is attached to the cord, that may have contributed to the problem you're now seeing.

If everything is oriented so that the cord emerges from the top of the plug when you're done, then I would install a strap or two to hold the cord so that there is no strain or force from it at the plug.
 
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Old 07-19-12, 11:07 AM
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Well...I have a tool similar to that...so I guess that answers most of my question...but I've only ever used it for automotive and low voltage stuff. Can't use those for 120V can you?

The crimp on connectors I've seen in chillers, appliances and such are typically a clear plastic with a brass(?) insert...just didn't know if they were available at typical box stores?
 
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Old 07-19-12, 11:07 AM
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My meter reads 120volt with unit off and 116 volts with unit on with compressor and hi fan. Amp draw is 11.48 amps and using 1255 watts hi fan and compressor.


Took A/C apart. Cleaned condenser and coil. Possibly was dirty I could not see but sprayed degreaser and hosed down.


New readings on hi fan with compressor on.

Volts 120v off 118 on compared to 116v.

Amps 8 compared to 11.8 before cleaning

watts about 830 compared to 1255.


Summary: Clean your A/C.

Ratings plate inside case says 9 amp unit. 1020 watts




 
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Old 07-19-12, 11:17 AM
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Clean your A/C?? Clean your A/C?? Whhaaaat?
 
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Old 07-19-12, 12:07 PM
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Well...I have a tool similar to that...so I guess that answers most of my question...but I've only ever used it for automotive and low voltage stuff. Can't use those for 120V can you?
Why not? Wire is wire and crimp-ons are crimp-ons. I've bought wire ends at automotive supply stores, HI centers and supply houses - wherever I found what I needed - and used them wherever and whenever needed.

The crimp on connectors I've seen in chillers, appliances and such are typically a clear plastic with a brass(?) insert...just didn't know if they were available at typical box stores?
IDC, and the electricity doesn't care, what color the plastic sleeve is. I've crimp-ons by the thousands at the supply houses, and occasionally at big orange or big blue. Seems to me that the box stores have most of the common shapes, styles and sizes - just in tiny packs with a huge per-unit price!
 
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Old 07-19-12, 12:21 PM
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New readings on hi fan with compressor on.

Volts 120v off 118 on compared to 116v.

Amps 8 compared to 11.8 before cleaning

watts about 830 compared to 1255.


Summary: Clean your A/C.

Ratings plate inside case says 9 amp unit. 1020 watts
That's a better, quicker and cheaper fix!

I had a friend in a previous life who owned, and used, a boat-load of wall shakers. Every spring, religiously, he would take them to the local car wash - the one that has a metal shed that you park under, and a high-pressure wand on a hose that you activate by dropping quarters in a box. I went with him a couple of times.

At the car wash, he would take the cases off and spread everything out. He'd wash everything with the high-pressure water and detergent, then rinse them. If no one was waiting, he'd wait for them to get pretty dry before loading them up again. Otherwise, he'd take them back home and set them out on the patio to finish drying.

He had some he'd been using for more than ten years, and one or two he'd acquired when the PO pitched them 'cause they were "worn out."
 
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Old 07-19-12, 06:10 PM
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Well I also found that the internal cord it attached with blade connectors. I crimped them a little tighter.

Was going to get a new cord but it seems the mega mart only has them for specific appliances. Like a garbage disposal and stuff. I guess I could get any 14 awg type and put blade connectors on. But they have no cords in white that I saw.

Sorry pics are crummy.

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Old 07-20-12, 11:00 AM
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most all ac units need to have a LCDI or AFCI on the cord
 
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Old 07-23-12, 11:20 PM
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Also if the plug end and/or outlet itself is getting hot at 11 amps, replace it. I've had a backstabbed outlet's neutral turn black as the hot line after running an 11 amp load down the line, not even on that outlet! I felt the outlet one day, it was very hot, and nothing was plugged into it! So make sure ALL outlets on the circuit are properly connected to screws, becase the wires run through each outlet. And A/C's do need cleaning on both coils, how often depends on how dirty the environment is.
 
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