How do I deal with overheated/burnt wiring?


  #1  
Old 02-16-21, 03:54 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Question How do I deal with overheated/burnt wiring?

I am renovating a home built in 1977. Many of the duplex receptacles do not work, only have one working outlet, or can supply only a limited and inconsistent amount of current.

When I removed one of the problematic receptacles, I found that the white wires had been burnt and/or had overheated, and the receptacle had also been burnt/melted where the white wires were inserted into the back of the receptacle. Please see following photos for clarification.

It is obvious I need to replace the receptacle. But how do I deal with the overheated/burnt white wires? Can I use them as-is? If not, how would I go about repairing or replacing them?



Thanks!
 

Popular Reply

 
02-16-21, 03:59 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Tolyn Ironhand
Tolyn Ironhand is offline
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 14,083
Received 332 Votes on 286 Posts
Cut the wire back to where there is good insulation. You may have to then add wire in order to have enough to work with. (Code requires at least 3" past the face of the box) To add wire to a short wire these are very handy: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ideal-Sp...B&gclsrc=aw.ds
 
  #2  
Old 02-16-21, 03:59 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 14,083
Received 332 Votes on 286 Posts
Cut the wire back to where there is good insulation. You may have to then add wire in order to have enough to work with. (Code requires at least 3" past the face of the box) To add wire to a short wire these are very handy: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ideal-Sp...B&gclsrc=aw.ds
 
CasualJoe, Zorfdt voted this post useful.
  #3  
Old 02-16-21, 05:48 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,604
Received 104 Votes on 90 Posts
Does not look like you have much wire left.

I would just use heat shrink tubing and clean copper with emery cloth.
The copper may be harder to bend and fragile since it got significantly hot. So, don't bend too much.
 
d_s_k voted this post useful.
  #4  
Old 02-16-21, 08:46 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 61,872
Received 1,480 Votes on 1,368 Posts
Be sure to remove all wiring from the push-in connections on the other devices.
 
  #5  
Old 02-17-21, 12:53 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Norway
Posts: 319
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The 2 wires that had been hot should be cleaned well (fine sandpaper?) before you add the heat shrink tubing mentioned earlier in this thread. Use high quality outlets when you put in a new one.
 

Last edited by PJmax; 02-17-21 at 12:58 PM. Reason: link removed
  #6  
Old 02-17-21, 12:59 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 61,872
Received 1,480 Votes on 1,368 Posts
The link you posted advocated using the push-in terminals again. That is not a position we take here.
If it were up to me.... the push-in wiring would be outlawed and removed from the devices.
I have seen hundreds of problems from this wiring method.
 
CasualJoe, Norm201 voted this post useful.
  #7  
Old 02-17-21, 03:19 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 14,083
Received 332 Votes on 286 Posts
And I will keep advocating their use when it is the best/only option.

The inline push-ins are one of those items that have a very specialized place, extending short wires in a box. There is really aren't many other options for extending wire that are too short in a box.

I have never recommended using the push-in holes on devices. I don't even like using the device as your junction and always pigtail.
 

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 02-17-21 at 03:34 PM.
  #8  
Old 02-17-21, 03:46 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 61,872
Received 1,480 Votes on 1,368 Posts
The inline push-ins are one of those items that have a very specialized place, extending short wires in a box.
True.
I carry some "good" receptacles with the rear entrance and side screwplates. The best of both worlds.
 
  #9  
Old 02-18-21, 03:38 AM
Q
Member
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,794
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Don't the inlines and the receptacle stabs use exactly the same method of gripping the wire?
I don't use the receptacle stabs but just curious.
 

Last edited by qwertyjjj; 02-18-21 at 04:17 AM.
  #10  
Old 02-18-21, 05:06 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,252
Received 113 Votes on 98 Posts
The push-in connectors use a different clamping mechanism than the backstabs on devices.

OP, the grounds in your box are not spliced properly . Considering how short the one ground is i think a Greenie grounding wirenut is the best option.
 
CasualJoe voted this post useful.
  #11  
Old 02-24-21, 04:56 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,453
Received 131 Votes on 120 Posts
It is usually hard to remove the insulation from the wires far back in the box. But first you only have to cut the wire back so as to leave 3/4 inch of charred insulation still at the end of the wire. Remove the charred insulation and the badly melted insulation without nicking the wire.Slightly deformed insulation that is not slit down the side can remain. If there is a melted copper spot or a significant nick on the wire, snip there. You may then need to cut away a little more insulation to get a bare wire end to make a connection with. Use fine sandpaper to get the wire end bright and shiny.

You are now ready to reconnect the wire with or without an added short length (as a pigtail). Electrical tape or heat shrink tubing may be used to cover excess bare wire instead of snipping that conductor shorter and also splicing on a pigtail.

The hole in the small end of those green wire nuts is difficult to use and can be ignored unless there is a ground wire in the box that is long enough to come through that small hole and be useful.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 02-24-21 at 05:21 AM.
  #12  
Old 02-24-21, 07:52 AM
Z
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,341
Received 38 Votes on 37 Posts
Iím no electrical guy for sure, but I thought you cannot satisfy the NEC by just pig-tailing and extra length of wire to a short piece of wire in the electrical box to give you enough length to work with. Maybe thatís wrong and also maybe I just donít understand - but thatís what I thought the NEC said.

Iíve had that problem in the past and I just canít remember what I did. Seems extreme to have to run a new cable in the wall, and truthfully, I donít know what I did. I think most likely I just added a pig-tail to the short piece. I donít remember running a new cable. But I donít know.

Here is the paragraph from the 2011 NEC:
300.14 Length of Free Conductors at Outlets, Junctions, and Switch Points

At least 150 mm (6 in.) of free conductor, measured from the point in the box where it emerges from its raceway or cable sheath, shall be left at each outlet, junction, and switch point for splices or the connection of luminaires or devices. Where the opening to an outlet, junction, or switch point is less than 200 mm (8 in.) in any dimension, each conductor shall be long enough to extend at least 75 mm (3 in.) outside the opening.

Exception: Conductors that are not spliced or terminated at the outlet, junction, or switch point shall not be required to comply with 300.14.

 
  #13  
Old 02-24-21, 08:07 AM
Norm201's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 9,980
Received 341 Votes on 307 Posts
I agree with PJ but I also understand where Tolyn is coming from.

My question is, are those butt connectors allowed behind a wall? I think not. But I'd like to be sure.
 
  #14  
Old 02-24-21, 08:30 AM
Z
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,341
Received 38 Votes on 37 Posts
Yea Ė thatís what I was also getting at with the 300.14 ref. Seems to me answer is "no". Seems covered by 300.14.
 
  #15  
Old 02-24-21, 05:16 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 14,083
Received 332 Votes on 286 Posts
Nowhere in the code that Zoesdad posted does it say that there cannot be a splice. It only says "free conductor". Adding pigtails is the only way to correct the issue without replacing the entire cable in the wall.
 
CasualJoe voted this post useful.
  #16  
Old 02-25-21, 08:34 AM
Z
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,341
Received 38 Votes on 37 Posts
At least 150 mm (6 in.) of free conductor, measured from the point in the box where it emerges from its raceway or cable sheath, shall be left at each outlet, junction, and switch point for splices or the connection of luminaires or devices. Where the opening to an outlet, junction, or switch point is less than 200 mm (8 in.) in any dimension, each conductor shall be long enough to extend at least 75 mm (3 in.) outside the opening.
I canít seem to read that interpretation but maybe others can. The code does in fact specifically use the term "for splices" (as seen in bold red above). My understanding is the definition of ďfree conductorĒ is slack. So the code seems to me to indicate that the measurement from any splice, back to where the conductor which is spliced enters the box from the raceway Ė would have to measure at least 6 inches of conductor length.

Here is how someone else interpreted 300.14 (but I do know that doesnít mean itís correct, but it seems to make sense), and I know running a new cable is no fun and pretty extreme (for me at least - lol). So who knows:

For a conductor that loops through an outlet box and that is intended for connection to a receptacle, switch, lampholder, or other such device, 300.14 specifies the length of slack (free conductor) required for the box size, as shown in Exhibit 300.13. The intent is to ensure enough slack for the terminal connections to be made easily.
 
  #17  
Old 02-25-21, 02:51 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 14,083
Received 332 Votes on 286 Posts
There needs to be enough wire to make a splice to other wires and/or devices which is why there needs to be 6' of free conductor. It does not say that the free conductor cannot be spliced to another wire to meet the code requirement of available free conductor.

The bottom line is stuff happens that needs to be repaired either due to poor installation or damage like the OP posted. I doubt any inspector would make you rip open the wall just to replace the cable because the wires in the box are too short.
 
  #18  
Old 02-26-21, 08:06 AM
Z
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,341
Received 38 Votes on 37 Posts
I still donít see it. To me it seems to say if you trace a conductor from where it comes into the box, you should not see that conductor spliced to anything for at least 6 inches of conductor.

But Mike Holt (link below) who I guess is a well recognized authority agrees with you, so maybe if I let it go and re-read it sometime in the future the light bulb will come on Ė lol, and Iím pretty sure that I used pigtails myself on short pieces myself in the past rather than running a new cable. Canít really remember.

https://www.facebook.com/mikeholtent...1769841295232/
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: