Electrical outlet melted

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Old 12-02-15, 05:40 PM
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Electrical outlet melted

Hello everyone,

I noticed a minor burning smell a few days ago and didn't know what it was. Today I tried to use this outlet and the plug wouldn't go in. Upon further inspection I saw burn marks and opened it up. As you can see all the wires and outlet are melted. Can anyone tell me why this happened/how to fix? Name:  78a93ad3-f22e-4812-bff5-0d21609103e3.jpg
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  #2  
Old 12-02-15, 06:11 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

You posted excellent pictures. They show the aluminum wiring perfectly.

You were lucky you caught that when you did. If your entire house is aluminum wiring.... you should have an electrician come in and check every device in the house. There are ways of attaching copper wiring to the aluminum to eliminate problems like you had there.

That problem happens specifically because the side screws can't maintain their tightness due to the aluminum wire shrinking and expanding.
 
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Old 12-02-15, 06:14 PM
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You have aluminum wiring. It is not suitable for direct connection to most receptacles. If your whole house is wired with aluminum it is a fire waiting to happen. Best is a total rewire of your house.

This is a complicated subject there has been much written about. A temporary fix is to use copper pigtails affixed to all wires and connect the copper pigtails to the receptacle. Unfortunately this can not be done with wire nuts. See: What's Wrong With Using Twist On Connectors For Aluminum Wire Repairs? - AlumiConn | Aluminum to Copper Electrical Connectors and Aluminum Wiring Hazards: The Aluminum Wiring Repair Website - How to Identify and Repair Aluminum Wiring in buildings

There are a couple of DIY friendly alternatives such as AlumiConn. See: Aluminum Wire Repair Methods: authoritative source for repairing aluminum electrical wiring using the COPALUM, AlumiConn, Copper Pigtailing & aluminum to aluminum splicing
 
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Old 12-02-15, 06:16 PM
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Thanks for filling in the loose ends Ray.
 
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Old 12-02-15, 06:48 PM
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Those TR rated receptacles are not for use with aluminum conductors . The others have provided good info.
 
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Old 12-02-15, 07:11 PM
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If you didn't get this from the others post, this is horrible danger/fire hazzard and needs to be addressed right away! Whoever installed that receptacle did not know what they were doing. If there are others marked "TR" I would recommend not using them, or at least keep them very lightly loaded.
 
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Old 12-02-15, 07:36 PM
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However even with nothing plugged into a receptacle may overheat. That is because the receptacle is often used as a connection point to another receptacle. It is a good idea to feel every receptacle in your house on a regular basis to see if any are getting warm. Switches should also be felt.
 
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Old 12-02-15, 08:18 PM
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Thanks for the information. I'm definitely taking this seriously with my son in the house.

Could an average DIYer do the AlumiConn connections or should I hire an electrician?
 
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Old 12-02-15, 08:25 PM
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I would call around to several electricians in your area. Explain to them you have aluminum wiring and ask them what they recommend and how do they handle aluminum wiring,

I would put this slightly above most DIY'ers experience. To do the copper to aluminum tail connection correctly you need a special crimp tool.
 
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Old 12-02-15, 08:51 PM
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Thank you so much for your help!
 
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Old 12-02-15, 08:57 PM
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Let us know what the electricians tell you before you hire one and the pros will give you their opinion of what he plans to do.
 
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Old 12-03-15, 07:37 AM
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Handling aluminum conductors can lead to fatigue and breakage of the conductors.

The Alumi-conn connectors call for a torque screwdriver to be used.

I will add that any loose connection, even with copper, will lead to excess heat and possible fire.
 
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Old 12-03-15, 09:05 AM
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The AluminConn style connects can be done DIY with some study and practice on the technique of connecting aluminum wire. You need to strip the wire, lightly shine it with abrasive, apply a film of non-oxidation paste, and torque it in to the connector using a calibrated torque screwdriver. You also need to carefully repack the boxes as they will now be more crowded and you don't want to damage or loosen the aluminum.

The CopAlum connections are a more permanent fix, but they must be installed by a licensed contractor who has attended the manufacturer's training class.

Flush and semi-flush light fixtures are a very import area to inspect and repair. Those should have all of the aluminum removed as all modern light fixtures require 90 degree C copper wire. The heat generated in the light fixture causes severe damage to the wire insulation -- this happens with older copper wire too when homeowners put up new fixtures and ignore the temp limits, but aluminum is more of a fire hazard when it is damaged by heat.
 
 

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