Simple outlet install - or is it?

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Old 08-08-18, 07:21 PM
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Simple outlet install - or is it?

Hi folks, any thoughts would be awesome here. All I did was replace two outlets, I swear! :-)

Our dining room has two outlets that were painted over and quite old. The outlet boxes are metal, FYI. I figured it would be a good idea to replace the outlets. The first outlet had two blacks, two whites, and then the ground wire went around the green screw, and then clipped to the box. For this outlet, I installed the new outlet in the same manner, except I got rid of the clip and put the wires in a wire nut and put it under a screw to the metal box.

The second outlet simply had one black and one white wire, then the ground wire went around the green screw, then to the clip on the box. I installed the new outlet in the same manner, except I got rid of the clip and now the ground wire simply goes around the green screw then to the metal box with another green screw.

When I turned the breaker back on, there was a quick spark on that breaker, and it went back to the off position immediately. I tried turning it back on again, and it just went back to the off position, no spark. I went back to the dining room and simply unscrewed both outlets from the box. I did not disconnect the wiring. Went back to the breaker and turned it back on and it stayed on. Iím assuming I have a short or mis-wire somewhere. I double checked the wires and they seem OK to me. I always seem to have a concern though about when you push the outlet back into the box, what if the ground wire touches one of the other screws. Could that cause this problem?

thanks!
 
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Old 08-08-18, 07:47 PM
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You had a hot touching a grounded surface and created a short circuit.

The grounds need to connect.to the box and to the device.
 
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Old 08-08-18, 09:22 PM
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Upon further inspection and head scratching I pulled the outlets out further. For the outlet with two black wires and two white wire, there was a ďknickĒ in both the black and white wires. All I could think was that when I pushed everything back into the box, maybe the hot wire touched the metal box and short circuited. I wrapped both wires in electrical tape, and it seems to working fine now. (Hopefully thatís an acceptable fix??)
 
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Old 08-08-18, 09:53 PM
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The tape will be ok.
After you connect a device you have to carefully fold the wiring so that it rolls in place when the device is inserted. If you just jam it in..... the clamp on the cable can cut into the wire.
 
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Old 08-09-18, 03:42 PM
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Thanks again guys.

Our of curiosity, what are the little tabs (or ears) on the corners of the outlet for? I had always thought it was just for the outlet to rest on the sheetrock. I was reading about how to get your outlet flush with the wall plate, and someone recommended bending those tabs to make the outlet stick out a little. Never heard of that before so I wasn't going to try it. They had also mentioned little outlet spacers you can buy from Home Depot. I guess in theory you wouldn't want to extend it so far that the outlet is now no longer within the box for obvious reasons.
 
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Old 08-09-18, 04:07 PM
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You want the metal face of the device to be at wall height. Usually the metal ears on the device rest on the sheetrock. If the hole is too large..... they are useless. Spacers are used between the device and the box to keep the device even with the sheetrock. If there is too big a gap..... box extenders need to be used to fill in the gap.
 
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