Burned outlet

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  #1  
Old 10-28-13, 08:47 PM
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Burned outlet

Hello, and thanks for letting me join.

I have a room where the overhead lights died, but a few outlets were still live. I traced the problem to an outlet which had a discolored input and a plume of smoke on the wall. After flipping the circuit breaker, I removed the outlet. The plastic had melted.

What could cause this? Why didn't the circuit breaker trip? I had an electrician out, and all he did was to replace the outlet without investigating the cause.

Am I in danger? How do I track this down? What kind of electrician can help me?


Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 10-28-13, 08:53 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Glad to have you here.

Obviously heavy current was drawn thru that receptacle. It looks like the screw terminals weren't tightened properly.

That receptacle more than likely had two black and two white wires connected to it. We, as electricians, make up a splice in the box where the two blacks wires are joined together and then a single tail is brought out to the receptacle. Same for the white wires. This way all the current of that circuit isn't being drawn thru that one receptacle.

You should also check others on that circuit for tightness and premature burning.
 
  #3  
Old 10-28-13, 09:19 PM
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Did not happen to have a space heater plugged into that out at some point did you?
This time of year we start seeing fires caused from space heaters all the time on the fire dept.
 
  #4  
Old 10-28-13, 11:03 PM
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I think you are exactly right about the circuit flowing through the receptacle rather than the circuit running past the receptacle with tails. I also believe that today's electrician changed this one receptacle over to the scheme. Now . . . do I have to check every receptacle in the house?

And thanks for the welcome!
 
  #5  
Old 10-29-13, 06:11 AM
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I think you are exactly right about the circuit flowing through the receptacle rather than the circuit running past the receptacle with tails. I also believe that today's electrician changed this one receptacle over to the scheme. Now . . . do I have to check every receptacle in the house?
The receptacles are rated for 20 amp feed-thru so the way the receptacle was wired was proper, just not the preferred way of doing it. Yes, I'd check the remaining receptacles in the house to be sure none are backstabbed and that all screw terminals are tight. Your problem was from a loose connection so you can see the importance of tight connections.
 
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Old 10-29-13, 07:19 AM
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Working apartment maintenance I saw that when tenants used electric space heaters as their primary heat.
 
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