Confusing Electrical Socket


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Old 01-15-14, 10:04 AM
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Confusing Electrical Socket

I have an electrical outlet with 2 sockets in my laundry room. Both sockets work fine when used with my phone charger (just to test the power). The top socket works with either the washer or dryer. The bottom socket however does not work with the washer or dryer. However, when I attach a power strip or extension cord to the "broken" socket, the washer or dryer works through that socket now.

What would be the cause of this and how do I fix it so that I do not need an extension cord? Is it a faulty connection in that bottom socket somehow not "compatible" with the washer and dryer male connector?
 
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Old 01-15-14, 10:27 AM
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Dryers are usually 240 volt units, so I'm not sure how you are plugging in to the 120 volt receptacle. You may want to turn the breaker off that supplies this receptacle and replace the receptacle. They do wear out overtime.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 10:32 AM
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It is not 240v - it is the "old style" outlet. Sorry I'm not very savvy with the technical terms. This house is old and built in the 60s. The newest 3 prong connections are not present.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 10:35 AM
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Larry...gas dryer?

I'd agree...likely the prongs are different on the plugs of the various appliances/charger/power strip and the bottom socket has just worn out and is no longer making contact. Appliance plug prongs are normally thin brass (?) folded over to double thickness, whereas the others you mentioned are normally solid and a bit thicker. I just checked my examples of everything you mentioned and the appliance prongs are slightly thinner.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 10:38 AM
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Yes gas dryer. So I can probably fix the problem by replacing my outlet? Costs a couple of bucks at Home Depot?
 
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Old 01-15-14, 10:42 AM
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Yes, it is not expensive at all. Be sure to find a 2 prong receptacle to replace it with, if that is what you have, now.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 10:42 AM
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Yep...That's what I'd guess. Don't buy the $.50 specials...spend about $3-4 or so. Much heavier duty.

If you can, would be good to turn off breaker, remove the outlet, take a pic of how it's hooked up, then remove and take with you. Just buy the heavier duty version.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 10:47 AM
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I've shocked myself too many times installing new light switches. I've learned how to do it without getting shocked now. Or are electrical outlets "more dangerous"?
 
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Old 01-15-14, 11:00 AM
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Not if you turn off the breaker and verify no voltage at the outlet before you begin. ALWAYS turn off power and verify no power before beginning work on any electrical device. Use a real voltmeter...not a non-contact tester. It may be inconvenient, but can prevent serious injury. 120V is not normally a killer...but your reaction to getting a shock can cause a fall off a ladder or worse.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 11:01 AM
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Oh....and do not use a back stab device. Either use the screws or a "back wire" which is different from a back stab.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 11:39 AM
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How do I determine if I need a 15A or 20A outlet? Also do I need a GFCI outlet for my washer/dryer?
 
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Old 01-15-14, 12:29 PM
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15 or 20 is determined by the breaker...but if there is more than one outlet on the same circuit (even a single duplex like you describe) I believe a 15A device is acceptable. I THINK! Not an electrician.

As to the GFCI...I don't think so. If you don't have one now...then it's not needed per most codes since all you are doing is repairing a device on a circuit.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 01:01 PM
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If you don't have a grounded receptacle installing a GFCI with ground may be easier then finding an ungrounded receptacle. You can not replace an ungrounded receptacle with a receptacle with ground but you can use a GFCI with ground.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 10:04 PM
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The NEC requires15 and 20 Amp receptacles within 6FT of a sink to to have GFCI protection. I agree with Ray, your dryer and washer have ground prongs on their cords so installing a GFCI receptacle would solve two issues.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 06:20 AM
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The NEC requires15 and 20 Amp receptacles within 6FT of a sink to to have GFCI protection. I agree with Ray, your dryer and washer have ground prongs on their cords so installing a GFCI receptacle would solve two issues.
In addition, if this is in an unfinished basement, the receptacle should be a GFCI protected device anyway. I'm pretty sure the 2014 NEC is going to require GFCI protection for a laundry outlet.
 
 

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