Switch/outlet problem


Old 12-18-17, 03:55 PM
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Switch/outlet problem

I am experiencing some strange problems related to an outlet, would be glad if someone can provide any advice.

I have an outlet that is connected to an on-off switch. A few days ago, when I was using a heater, at the lowest setting, connected to that outlet, the electricity on that outlet went out. I turned off the switch, turned it back on, electricity came back. I was using a 6-outlet tap, but only light, clock, and a usb charger was connected to it. I removed everything, and connected cables one by one; even with nothing was running, when I connected either the clock or the usb charger, electricity to the outlet went out again. I assumed maybe the 6-outlet tap was the problem, so I changed it.

Later on, when I turned on the heater, at low/mid setting, I noticed some buzzing sound coming from the circuit breaker (sound was barely noticeable at the low setting, but audible near the breaker at mid setting), so I reset it. Assumed maybe it wanted to trip but the switch circuit prevented it. So, after manually resetting the circuit, the buzzing sound went away, and everything was back to normal.

Yesterday, again, when the heater was on at the lowest setting, I noticed some cracking sounds coming from behind the wall, in between the outlet and the switch (no buzzing from the circuit breaker). I also noticed that the light was flickering. I removed the light, also, removed the 6-outlet tap, and connected the heater directly to the outlet (at low setting, normally shouldn't be an issue). The sounds were still there. After I turned off the switch, I also noticed the top part of the switch to be slightly warm.

Any suggestion on what might be the problem. I tried different heaters (assuming maybe the heater had a problem), same thing happened, connected the heater to a different outlet, didn't notice a problem.
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Old 12-18-17, 04:14 PM
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Where are you located?

STOP using the heater and turn OFF the breaker for that circuit. Do NOT use that circuit until you have a licensed electrician diagnose the problem. Cracking or buzzing sounds inside the wall could be very dangerous and my lead to a fire.
Old 12-18-17, 05:12 PM
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Hi. I am in Santa Clara. I will communicate with an electrician to see what can be done.

For ease of my mind, what can be possible causes for that? Faulty switch, faulty outlet, wiring problem? I had been using that outlet for the last three years, and this is the first I am experiencing a problem like this.
Old 12-18-17, 05:17 PM
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It could be either causing the problem. The switch should be replaced and if the slots are loose when a plug is put in.... replace the receptacle too.

You may find that instead of using the screw terminals on the devices someone used the push-in connections. Those push-in connections are the source of many problems.

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