Hot Topics: Warm Outlet

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Original post: Unused wall outlet getting slightly warm

jayncc1701 Member

I have a wall outlet in my bedroom that gets warm (not hot) even when nothing is plugged into it. My desktop computer is set up using the outlet 8 feet to the left of it, and my room AC (5,000 BTU) is plugged into the other side of the room. Both of these are plugged into completely different outlets. I smell no odor of any kind coming from the warm outlet. The outlet doesn't stay warm all the time. Should I be concerned?

Ray2047 Group Moderator

Yes, you should be concerned. Do you have aluminum wiring? Even if you have copper connections it needs to be redone. If backstabbed, it needs to be moved to the screws. If it is aluminum, even more work will be needed.

Pcboss Forum Topic Moderator

Any load downstream of a loose connection will cause heat to build up. Too much heat can lead to a fire.

Jayncc1701 Member

I'll have it looked at ASAP. Oddly, it only seems to get warm when I run my window AC unit in the same room. This AC unit is on the other side of the room plugged into an entirely different outlet.

Ray2047 Group Moderator

A different receptacle or different circuit?

Pcboss Forum Topic Moderator

The heavy compressor load is going through the receptacles upstream where you are seeing the heat.

The_Apprentice Member

What I would start off with to investigate:

Go to the panel and turn off that socket.

Let's see if the other one really is on the same circuit or not. Also, this lets you see what else may be tied onto that circuit with some more investigation.

If it's a fuse-box, what does the amp rating on the fuse say? I would not be surprised if some lazy person used a 20+, and the wires are only rated for 15.

AllanJ Member

It's likely a loose connection at that warm outlet (receptacle unit) which is in the daisy chain over to the outlet where the air conditioner is plugged in.

Loose connections can get hot even when far fewer amperes than the breaker rating are being drawn.

Mad Scientist Member

I suspect your window AC unit and PC/monitor/printer/etc. are on the same circuit and drawing too much current for the wiring.

CasualJoe Member

Do you have aluminum wiring?

I am still interested in the answer to this question. When was the house built? Loose connections will get warm whether it has copper or aluminum wire, but if you do have aluminum wiring, you probably have more issues than just the one warm receptacle.

The_Apprentice Member

BTU is a non-metric unit that doesn't tell us much of anything here.

What is the Watts rating on the unit? It should be labeled somewhere. If not, how many amps does it draw? We can calculate from there.

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