Melted Wire Nuts

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Old 09-10-16, 03:55 PM
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Melted Wire Nuts

Hello all,

So we recently bought a dehumidifier for our basement. We had it running for about a week when I noticed that it, along with several other outlets, had stopped working. I found the first outlet in the series that wasn't working and I replaced it, thinking that it was a bad outlet. That didn't work. Then I noticed a junction box in the ceiling. I opened that up and sure enough the wires and wire nuts were melted. So would I be right in assuming that this issue was caused by a loose connection in the wire nuts and with the heavier load of the dehumidifier it produced enough heat to melt the wire nuts? Also, can I reuse the wires after I cut off the affected portions or do I need replace the entire run of wire? Thanks for your help.

Ryan
 
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Old 09-10-16, 04:02 PM
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this issue was caused by a loose connection in the wire nuts and with the heavier load of the dehumidifier it produced enough heat to melt the wire nuts?
I would agree with that 100%.

This would be one plus for twisting the wires instead of just screwing it over the straight wires.... although there can be problems with both methods.
 
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Old 09-10-16, 04:04 PM
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So would I be right in assuming that this issue was caused by a loose connection in the wire nuts and with the heavier load of the dehumidifier it produced enough heat to melt the wire nuts?
It could be. Are the wires aluminum or copper? How many amps does the dehumidifier draw?
 
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Old 09-10-16, 04:13 PM
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Are the wires aluminum or copper? How many amps does the dehumidifier draw?
They are copper wires and the dehumidifier is 7.8 amps.
 
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Old 09-10-16, 08:50 PM
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Once the wires are back to clean wire and insulation the splice can be remade. If the insulation is scorched it can be repaired with heat shrink tubing.
 
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Old 09-11-16, 05:50 PM
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Almost certainly the wire run inside the wall is not damaged. If you see good wire beyond the scorched end that used to be inside the wire nut, everything further beyond that (going back into the wall) is also undamaged.

If, after stripping off any melted or burned insulation, the wire itself is smooth and not nicked or "bitten" by arcing then you do not have to cut off the discolored part and you can cover it with shrink wrap.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 09-11-16 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 09-11-16, 06:12 PM
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Yes, loose wire nuts. Cut off the bad part and reconnect.
If any of the outlets in the chain have wires that are pushed in from the back side instead of the wires under the screws I'd move them to the screw connections. This provides a better connection that you need when you are drawing a lot of current.
 

Last edited by JimLev; 09-11-16 at 06:13 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 09-11-16, 07:55 PM
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Just curious...since I am not an electrician....could it be that the OP has 14AWG on 20Amp circuit ?
Before the installation of the Dehumidifier there were no issues but it only occurred after this heavy load was added....
The breaker didn't kick in as it is 20Amp...but that one weak connection couldn't handle the max amperage and overheated ??

Just saying as I have seen people branching off of 20Amp circuit to add one outlet using 14AWG wires...and was wondering why it happened now ?
 
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Old 09-11-16, 08:04 PM
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Valid concerns Paul but I didn't see any reference to circuit ampacity or wire gauge from the OP.
We'd need further clarification from him.
 
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