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Burnt Outlet

01/03/2014 6:57 PM

Year and half ago my landlord paid a licensed electrician to install a new outlet on its own breaker. Last week I smelled smoke and noticed the outlet and front of cord were "burnt" and really hot. I have been looking to replace the outlet myself but noticed that the breaker is 20amp, the outlet is 15amp, and the wire is 14 gauge. Is that against code in Indiana? The wire is too burnt to read any writing, but I'm thinking only 14 gauge is accepted in 15 amp outlets. Should the breaker be 15amp if the outlet is 15amp, being it's the only one on the breaker with 14 gauge wire? I run a register type space heater off of the outlet in the winter, so it sees a bit of use.

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#1

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/03/2014 7:11 PM

This register type space heater... Does it still have the original factory correct cord with the molded-on factory correct plug? If not, DISCONTINUE USE OF THE APPLIANCE. If the cord and end are correct, DISCONTINUE USE OF THE APPLIANCE until this is figured out.

What is the wattage of the heater? There should be a plate or sticker somewhere on the device that gives this information.

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/03/2014 7:37 PM

heater is 12.5 amps and 1500 watts

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#8
In reply to #5

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/03/2014 11:02 PM

"I" would only use that space heater on a properly installed 20A rated outlet wired with #12 AWG and a dedicated 20A breaker.

See http://cr4.globalspec.com/comment/755711 for more details.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/03/2014 11:13 PM

Me too.

OP has a "landlord".

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#2

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/03/2014 7:11 PM

I thought 14 ga was outlawed.....In any case I would go with 10 or 12ga stranded thhn and a 20amp breaker and a 20 amp recpt.....

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#3

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/03/2014 7:22 PM

Don't use it, don't try to fix it yourself!

Check the power requirements of the heater. Depending on the AMP draw of the heater, it is probably drawing too much current.

NO! a 20 amp fuse SHOULD NOT be used to fuse a 15 amp circuit, or 14 ga. wire.

Look here.

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#6
In reply to #3

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/03/2014 7:39 PM

Thanks for the quick replies.

Think I'll call the electrician in the morning.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/03/2014 10:37 PM

I hope it's a different electrician this time. A 20A breaker on a 15A receptacle with #14 wire is a definite no-no.

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#14
In reply to #6

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/04/2014 11:43 AM

Heck yeah.

You are a renter. It's the landlord's responsibility...and you should be able to run a space heater in any room in the house.

If you mess around and burn the place down, you're gonna be on the rent to own program, but there won't be a house.

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#46
In reply to #14

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/07/2014 9:33 AM

I would not say you should be able to run a 20 amp service from any outlet. That is more wishful thinking than reality. However, if it was wired correctly you should blow the breaker not burn the wires.

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#4

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/03/2014 7:22 PM

I never use 14 gauge for anything else than small lights in a house.

In Cowboy city we do:

14AWG - 15 A
12AWG - 20 A
10AWG - 30 A
8 AWG - 40 A
6 AWG - 50 A
4 AWG - 70 A
3 AWG - 80 A
2 AWG - 90 A
1 AWG - 110 A
1/0 AWG - 125 A

This is all for copper wires only and specifics may apply.

I was visiting Florida and in one motel, I had trouble keeping any plugs in the receptacles, I hope it doesn't burn down when I am there.

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#10

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/04/2014 12:19 AM

"Year and half ago my landlord paid a licensed electrician ....." Are you sure this was a licensed electrician? I don't know of any licensed electrician that would put 14 ga wire on a 20 amp breaker, unless his sideline job is a professional arsonist!

As other's have said, unplug the heater, get another electrician (not the same one either) to make the proper repairs. And while he/ she is there have them inspect your heater, wouldn't hurt to have them check the current draw at the same time.

Have a Happy and safe New Year.

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#11

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/04/2014 12:21 AM

"Year and half ago my landlord paid a licensed electrician ....." Are you sure this was a licensed electrician? I don't know of any licensed electrician that would put 14 ga wire on a 20 amp breaker, unless his sideline job is a professional arsonist!

As other's have said, unplug the heater, get another electrician (not the same one either) to make the proper repairs. And while he/she is there, have them inspect your heater, wouldn't hurt to have them check the current draw at the same time.

Have a Happy and safe New Year.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/04/2014 12:59 AM

Gave you an OT because it shows in stereo. Or is it me?

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/04/2014 1:46 AM

Man, sometimes, can't win for losing Seems like times, it refuses to let you post other times it loses it in cyber-space and twice now, it double posts for me! wonder if this a new glitch in the system? I know I only hit the submit once

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#15

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/04/2014 3:40 PM

Buried in your question is really the best question ... is that against code in Indiana?

Most jurisdictions in the United States adopt the National Electrical Code (NEC) as the basis for electrical construction standards, but some jurisdictions:

  • Supplement the NEC with additional requirements;
  • May have an electrical code of their own;
  • Lag in their adoption of the NEC (the current versions is the 2014 Edition, the prior edition that may have been the effective edition at the time of the work a year and half ago would have been the 2011 Edition); and
  • The local inspection authority always has the last word.

See Wikipedia for a better discussion on these limitations.

OK, that off my chest ... using the 2014 Edition of the National Electrical Code as a basis for comments:

Outlet Rating

Article §210.21(b)(1) ... A single receptacle (outlet) on an individual branch circuit shall
have an ampere rating not less than that of the branch circuit.

So, to be compliant, since the electrician installed a dedicated 20 ampere circuit (size of the breaker/fuse) the outlet should have been a 20 ampere receptacle.

The code does have a few exceptions ...

  • where more than one receptacle is installed on a 20 ampere circuit 15 ampere receptacles may be used §210.21(B)(3).
  • If the single receptacle is "duplex receptacle" a single 15 ampere duplex receptacle can be installed on a 20 ampere branch circuit (see 2014 NEC Handbook interpretation at §210.21(B)(1).

Wire Size

First, in response to post #2, the NEC does allow branch circuit wiring as small as 14 AWG ... see §210.19(A)(4).

In the NEC, wire ampacity is a lot more complicated that a simple "What gauge wire is it?," and the writer did not say exactly what wire or cable type was used. In "most" dry U.S. residential construction internal wiring would be using nonmetallic-sheathed cable, marked NM or NM-B (rated for 90°C), but some jurisdictions do not all the use of such wiring methods in multi-family buildings ... requiring metal conduit, plastic conduit, or armored cable.

Over-Current Device

Nice? The 14 AWG wire is rated more than 15 amps? Likely 20 amps. ... does not matter, §210.19(D) limits the 14 AWG copper over current device to 15 amperes (with a few expectations, like tap connections) that I would not expect to apply in this case).

Your Heater

I would classify your heater as a continuous load, so the branch circuit should have an allowed ampacity of not less than 125 percent of that load, or 12.5 amps (from rely #5) * 125% = 15.625 amps; so

  • a 15 ampere circuit would be inadequate §210.19(A)(1)(a), and
  • a 15 ampere rated receptacle would be inadequate §210.21(B)(2).

CONCLUSION

Yes, there were likely errors in the design, a 15 ampere breaker should have been used, or 12 AWG wire, but even if 12 AWG wire were used, the 15 ampere duplex receptacle would be acceptable to the NEC.

There was also operator error; the user should not have plugged a 12.5 ampere continuous load into a 15 ampere receptacle ... but I find it unlikely the general public would ever know this ... but then, from your questions, you are not a member of the general public.

OK, the only reason I responded is because I feel this point is important ... how do the code writers expect the general public to know not to plug a cord connected heater of this size into a 15 ampere outlet, and how does the general public even recognize a 15 ampere outlet?

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/04/2014 11:26 PM

"There was also operator error; the user should not have plugged a 12.5 ampere continuous load into a 15 ampere receptacle ... but I find it unlikely the general public would ever know this ... but then, from your questions, you are not a member of the general public."

I have to disagree with you on the above statement. All Appliances with a 15 Amp 3 wire plug can handle 13 Amp continuous power if the copper wire gauge is correct size and the the terminations are tight.

The NEC is only a guideline. Local codes always apply and most beef it up. They do around here. The biggest mistake was the 20A breaker, the second was the wrong gauge wire and third and maybe the most important, a loose neutral connection on the outlet. I have seen this time and time again. Some of those DIY outlets sold across America should be outlawed. If it doesn't have a screw with a pressure plate, they should not be used.

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#47
In reply to #15

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/07/2014 3:57 PM

OK, the only reason I responded is because I feel this point is important ... how do the code writers expect the general public to know not to plug a cord connected heater of this size into a 15 ampere outlet, and how does the general public even recognize a 15 ampere outlet?

Well there is a way to solve this dilemma - a true 20A plug has a different configuration on the neutral tine that allows it to be plugged into a true 20A receptacle, but not a 15A one. Petition the NFPA to add a requirement for appliance manufacturers to be required to install a 20A plug on loads of 12.5A and up. (just wait to hear the cries on that one when 90% of consumers can not use a space heater - conversely it would sure be applauded by many company maintenance crews)

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#49
In reply to #47

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/08/2014 9:18 AM

The NEMA codes have been around for many years. The appliance manufacturers deliberately design devices to just barely be able to be used in the common 15 amp rated outlets. No one designs a product to be slightly above what is legal, they build to use as much current as they can, to do the desired job as quickly for the consumer as possible.

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/08/2014 9:32 AM

Yes, but as pointed out by the post I was replying to, if you figure at 125% for a single largest load then it is above 15A - I was suggesting this modification be enacted. Let's face it - with a space heater on a circuit, even a 20A one, you really don't want another appliance to also be plugged in. Before we were busy enough that I could be a full time control engineer, I also had to double as Maintenance Supervisor and I was quite tired of mid January breaker resets in the office areas.We need to redefine the codes on these much abused devices. (we outlawed them per company rules in our offices here)

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#51
In reply to #50

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/08/2014 9:53 AM

Agreed for sure. But if 15 amp circuits were outlawed, along with 14 and 12 gauge wire, the appliance manufacturers would suddenly start selling 3500 watt heaters, and the circuits would overload from them.

What I am trying to say is that as the code writers try to correct issues, manufacturers will adapt to take every advantage they can.

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#52
In reply to #51

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/08/2014 10:05 AM

Most assuredly they will. But we have one consumer appliance here right now that has been abused for at least 20 years now. Not suggesting outlawing 15A receptacles and AWG 14 wire - just making some appliances (space heaters specifically) 20A only.

I understand abuse can still occur even with such a change, because I see our new building has at least 4 duplex 20A receptacles in one room, apparently on one circuit, so 2 space heaters on the same circuit is a definite possibility here. But, at least it would be a start in the right direction.

The electric fireplaces they are pushing on QVC is another one for concern as these are also 12.5A devices. My wife has purchased 2 of them and I was very sure to see she didn't overload any of our circuits. How many people would think about this? Can you imagine someone getting 2 of these and trying to run them in the same room on the same circuit? I am sure it is happening.

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#53
In reply to #50

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/08/2014 10:32 AM

" I was suggesting this modification be enacted"

Having worked in the design and QC sections of a manufacturing co. I believe the industry in general, No matter how NEMA codes are modified and rewritten, products are and/or will still be barely meeting set standards! I believe this to be true considering that All manufacturers are in the business to make profits! And to maximize their profits therefore will be cutting corners! Specially those electrical /electronic products that are manufactured in China, Taiwan, Mexico, etc., and other offshore countries.

The only time products may or will be in accordance with good manufacturing practices is when the intended customers are part of the Federal government? Which in this case we know have a very different pricing structures!

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#55
In reply to #53

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/08/2014 5:39 PM

"China, Taiwan, Mexico"

Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon that if it is made offshore, it is poor quality.

I would argue that your first argument is the valid argument, that products will barely meet set standards.

As an example, Potter-Brumfield used to manufacture relays locally to me. It was great for getting specialty relays made. Then the operations moved to Mexico - I did not see immediately any quality changes in the standard product, but the specials became impossible.

So many of the foreign corporations are actually subsidiaries of US companies, so I have to believe "the poor foreign quality" is actually home grown greed. If we can make a quick buck using foreign cheap labour and preferential taxes, those products will go offshore.

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#48
In reply to #15

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/08/2014 7:12 AM
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#54
In reply to #48

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/08/2014 12:25 PM

Hi Yusef,

Thank you for this contribution. A keeper. G.A.

Happu New year. D.

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#17

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/04/2014 11:48 PM

The purpose of the breaker is to protect the wire.If the wire is #14, it should be a 15 amp breaker.The receptacle could be 15 or 20 amp,no problem.

If the breaker is a 20 amp, the wire should be #12.The receptacle should be 20 amp.

I would request a hospital grade receptacle as a replacement,they are much more rugged, and contact both sides of the male prong of each conductor, as opposed to only one side in a standard receptacle.Hospital grade also has to pass a 24 hour,10 pound pull out test.

There will be a green dot on the receptacle to indicate hospital grade.

Do not use the push-in connectors,use the screws,and wrap the wire clockwise around the screw before tightening.

If there is another receptacle(s) downstream, join the wires together with a wire nut, and pigtail to each receptacle.This prevents any receptacle from carrying the load of all downstream receptacles.

Since the receptacle and cord has been hot, check the connector on your heater cord.If the prongs are discolored, replace the plug end.If not, it could create a similar problem even with a new receptacle.This may actually be your problem.

At 12.5 amps you would be right near the upper limit for a 15 amp receptacle,continuous load.

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#20
In reply to #17

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 10:18 AM

Just a slight addition to your post, in case anyone wants to do that.

Make sure any wire nut joined wires are inside the receptacle box, otherwise, put them in a junction box.

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#28
In reply to #17

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 7:43 PM

does a nurse have to install it??

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#18

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 12:03 AM

DirtyPhoenix-

Call a licensed electrician to do the repairs.

If you decide not to and you have enough knowledge and experience do the following after shutting down all associated circuits. Without going into the sometimes confusing world of the National Electric Code, which many electricians sometimes have trouble understanding, there is a simplified method of interpreting it and it is legal---Use an "Understanding the National Electric Code" book. It is the simplified guide book to the NEC, written for electricians and it discusses more clearly what is legal, what isn't, and how to do it correctly. This is the end result you want.

#14 wires are ok, but not usually for outlets. It is normally used to ceiling mounted lighting since they seldom would carry that much current, the limitation is 15 amps for common household wiring, type NM (non-metallic). At 120v this has a carrying capacity of 1800 watts. No matter what it is feeding the circuit breaker, CB, must not exceed, but can be smaller, the current carrying capacity of the wire.

Outlets usually are fed with a 20 amp CB feeding #12 wire with a current capacity of 20 amps. The outlets used are normally the 15 amp type (2 parallel blades) or 20 amp type (two flat blades in a "T" configuration). There are other types of #12 wire that has a lower current capacity but they are seldom available now having been replaced with wire with better insulation.

Your hot outlet could have been due to faulty wire but was most likely was due to a poor connection of the wire to the outlet, either within the junction of the wire/screw or the wire/insert connection. This is not an unusual condition. The higher the current being carried through the bad connection the more heat is generated. This was probably the situation you encountered. The heater at 1500 watts is 12-1/2 amps, less than the 15 amp capacity.

If the new outlet is only 1-1/2 years old it was probably installed with NM wire, 2 wires and one bare wire, all three the same size, encased in a plastic insulation. Unless you have an unusual situation, through concrete or some other, NM is the normal wire to use because it normally doesn't require conduit or metal or plastic tubing. THHN, THWN and other single wires require conduit, etc. to be installed for the wires. Do not use these unless absolutely necessary. It will make the remediation much more complicated.

The normal remediation of your situation would be:

Replace the 20 amp CB with the correct 15 amp one for #14 wires,

Replace the socket, in case there was any damage, and cut off any thermal damaged wire and strip the ends.

If the socket has "push in" holes on the back for the wires do not use them. Use the screw terminals on the sides and make sure the screws are firmly tightened. Check the wiring on the heater and the plug. Molded plugs very often only have a simple mechanical connection to the wiring which causes it to heat due to the resistance of the poor wire/blade connection. Replace the wire and replace the plug with one that has screw connections to the wire.

Overall what you are doing is replacing any parts that could have been damaged, outing the correct CB in and replacing components that will prevent this from happening again. Many "convenience, labor saving or costs savings" often compromise on quality when compared to the better ways of doing the same things,

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#19

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 9:37 AM

DirtyPhoenix -

Take note of all the good advice you received from this site, But from being a landlord myself in NYC, please report all your observations to the landlord! By law the only the landlord can effect and authorize any necessary repair needed in his building(s). It is the landlord obligation and responsibility as well as a mandate in his building insurance coverage. All you need is to document all information and see to it that the landlord or his representative signed /acknowledge that such reports were dated and received!

For your own safety, don't try to repair / change anything in your apartment, even when given a verbal OK by your landlord! Also, do not use your space heater until checked and tested!

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#22
In reply to #19

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 11:17 AM

Best answer of all...

GA.

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#21

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 11:10 AM

DirtyPhoenix,

All the necessary & important stuff has been said with one exception,that electrician nearly killed you and yours.

I started to write "nearly started a fire..." but the reality is there was/is a fire,how else does something get 'burnt'!?

IMHO I would notify the city/county jurisdiction and make a report.

Because the licensed electrician may or may not be actually licensed and the landlord may or may not have known this.This means other families/buildings could be at risk.You could be saving someone's life.Consider this when anyone tries to argue against making a formal report.

To summarize the mechanical issues,

14g wiring is rated for a max continous amperage of 15.That's 1800watts of energy.Your heater should not have been at issue.

Circuit breakers are there to protect the wiring from more energy than it is capable of safely carrying (thus protecting the building).

If the circuit breaker is rated for 20amps,the wiring connected to it Must be also.

Any device (recepticle or switch or ??? etc. ) must be rated to handle the energy that could be supplied by the wiring used.14gage = 15amps. 12gage = 20amps

There might also be issues with aluminum and copper wiring,anytime aluminum wiring is used,a specific connection procedure must be used (IIRC) and the use of a 'joint compound' specifically for Al wiring must also be used.

Hope this helps

J

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#23

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 12:01 PM

By code the breaker should be 15 amp. Since the heater draws 12.5 amp, nothing should have burnt. Maybe your "electrician" used one of those outlets where you poke the wire in and it gets friction to not come out. They are dangerous. Always use one that has a screwed down terminal.

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#24

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 1:37 PM

"The wire is too burnt to read any writing,"

perhaps it is 12 gauge?

I have always found 1500 watt heaters challenge the molded plugs and then damage the receptacles. I have found many hot plugs on heater cords, and the heater cords are often lighter than 14awg, so the heater cord also warms up - therefore do not cover the cord!

I agree with the hospital grade specification for the receptacle especially if you are using it for a heater.

By the way, is the landlord aware of you using a space heater? In our area that will be contrary to most tenancy agreements - due to hydro costs and fire risk.

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#25

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 5:47 PM

Good rule of the thumb is for a continuous load not more than80% of the full load So for #14 romex that is the continuous load should never be more than 12amps. In the US the NEC defines continuous as 3 hours. I always thought it best not to load any circuit more than 80%. Although my brother calls me "Mister Belt and Suspenders."

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 6:21 PM

Good rule to live by

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#27
In reply to #25

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 7:18 PM

Question suggested by previous posters: How the F*ck is Mr. or Mrs. J. Public supposed to work that one out? If a receptacle rated at 15A can't take a continuous load of 15 amps, why the hell is it rated at 15A?

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#31
In reply to #27

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 10:25 PM

GA! I'm with you on that one!

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that any socket should provide enough current to correctly operate any commercially available device that will physically plug in to that socket. Any device that requires more current than a standard outlet can provide continuously, should have a plug that won't fit a standard socket.

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#29

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 7:55 PM

interesting thread. I'm still wondering why a dedicated circuit was run for a space heater. in any event you've been given good data on NEC, its all accurate but...a loose connection regardless of age will do all the damage you describe. it could have simply been a bogus plug that would have cooked in any receptacle, dedicated or not, and it can cook away and still never draw enough current to trip the breaker. don't expect a breaker to perform logic or magic. I'd suggest you turn off the breaker and have a qualified electrician take a look. you can do a search on house fire causes and find your little heater making the list over and over, not the best idea. have fun and please report back with an update after they take all the aluminum, knob and tube outit'll be interesting to see what the final outcome is.

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/05/2014 8:07 PM

Way I read it was that it was just an additional outlet (undedicated), which the OP used for a space heater.

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#32

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 9:07 AM

If I understand you statement correctly:

The wire feeding the outlet is size 14 AWG and is not burning nor suffering heat damage.

The front of the heater cord is suffering heat damage/burning and the recepticle/outlet the heater is plugged into is also suffering heat damage.

This being the case the issue is with the plug body and heater cord not the outlet.

Most likely the plug has loose and/or high resistance connection(s) causing excessive heating and the heat is being transferred to the outlet contacts.

Have the damaged outlet replaced and the heater cord assembly including the cap replaced with a properly sized UL listed cord or get rid of the heater and purchase a new unit that pulls 12.5 amps or less.

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#35
In reply to #32

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 11:20 AM

If your understanding / assessment is correct, then I will look and concentrate on the contact resistance between the heater plug and the outlet terminals.. Even on normal usage, contacts wear and tear occur, that even it is rated as a hospital grade outlet, it is normal for the contact resistance to increase and the tendency to loose its contact tension.. This is the same reasoning why all hospital outlets are mandated to be checked for its contact (resistance) tension annually... or automatically be replaced if it fails or below the minimum 4 oz. contact tension test...

Farther aggravating this loose electrical contact scenario is the electrical and physical condition of the electric heater's power plug. I assume was never been replaced from the time it was put in service? In this case it will be normal for the circuit breaker to trip due to an increase in current brought about by the loose connection condition...

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 12:07 PM

I am thinking that the worst problem the OP is having started with a poor connection at the receptacle. Either a loose wire, or a poor fitting plug on the heater. I have some of these heaters that are older than dirt. Made before the safety switches were mandated. Still with the factory installed plugs on them. They work just fine in 15 amp receptacles. The cords might get warm after hours of use, but not warmer than human skin.

The electrician may have used 14 gauge wire, and should have used a 15 amp breaker, BUT, the components should have not gotten hot enough to have damaged the wires as he stated.

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#37
In reply to #36

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 12:18 PM

Agree..

The OP claimed it was replaced 1.5 years ago and that was probably with a cheap replacement too!

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#41
In reply to #35

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 3:13 PM

"...an increase in current brought about by the loose connection condition..."

I can understand that a loose connection will probably increase heat generated, but it will decrease the total current due to increased contact resistance.

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#42
In reply to #41

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 4:41 PM

I agree and you are obviously correct if ohms law is the only concerned.

Basically what I'm referring to, which by the way didn't come out very clear, sorry for that..

I'm referring to a condition that exist in a confined arcing environment, where electrodes are also in close proximity with one another as in an electrical plug.. In this particular situation, the arcing, beside melting surrounding nearby conductors, the heat also generates carbonized materials from surrounding insulation materials... this combined carbonized material thus in turn will create additional path for an electrical short that eventually will trip the circuit breaker.

Luckily for the OP the protective CB worked as expected in this particular incident!. It may even be worst if the protective device malfunctioned, turning into an electrical that may also turn deadly! This scenario I described was the same situation I experienced in one of the smoky hospital electrical fires while working in NYC!

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#43
In reply to #42

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 5:17 PM

OK! If something was burned due to arcing, then you could be right: an additional path through carbonized plastic or carbon deposits could add additional current.

If that is the case, then the outlet and plug must both be replaced, and likely some wire too.

I have to add agreement with others: This is the landlord's responsibility, and even a qualified engineer resident should have the landlord arrange the repairs, to avoid liability.

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#44
In reply to #42

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 5:20 PM

"the protective CB worked as expected in this particular incident"

I did not see any refrence to the OP stating the CB had tripped.

3 days later we are all rambling on like some old ladies tea club.

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#45
In reply to #44

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 5:57 PM

And the OP hasn't been back since Jan. 3, the time of the original posting. Just wonder if his place burnt or a stray electron took out his computer or are we just ....

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#33

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 10:10 AM

I don't know that this applies. But I have seen it many times on heater and fans. Where people will unplug them while they are still running and plug them back in with them on. At 12.5 amps as the plug is pulled from the or pushed into the receptacle. It causes arcing on the contacts. This will lead to pitting and carbon build up. That causes a poor connection that can heat up and burn the receptacle and plug.

I do agree that the wire is not rated for the 20 amp breaker in most areas.

If the wires were properly fast to the outlet terminals and the 12.5 amp rating of your heater is correct then there should have not have been a problem. The heater pulling just a little more the 80% of the wires load capacity.

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#34

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 11:07 AM

One more observation. I have seen outlets that have low friction -- the plugs go in very easily. They shoiuld be replaced with ones that have a tight fit.

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#38

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 12:50 PM

My space heater had a factory molded plug that was defective. It worked just fine for the first year and then it started doing the same sort of thing, but the cord had always been warm to the touch.

I cut off the molded plug and replaced it with a plug from the hardware store. The cord has never been warm since.

I cut away the plastic from the original plug and found that only half of the wires were clamped. No wonder it got hot!

The moral of the story is this. The building probably underwent more quality control than the space heater did. And with only 2 wires, I didn't need to pay an electrician to do anything. I doubt the minimum wage flunky on the plug forming production line resembled anything close to an electrician either, but it ain't rocket science.

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 1:02 PM

"I doubt the minimum wage flunky on the plug forming production line resembled anything close to an electrician either, but it ain't rocket science."

I doubt he had a wage comprable to the US minimum wage either.

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#40
In reply to #38

Re: Burnt Outlet

01/06/2014 2:16 PM

Somehow it is a lot easier to pull the plug from the wall outlet by just grabbing on the cord! By doing so it becomes a very common problem for the wires to become loose from the plug whether it is the molded type or not!

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