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Old 07-14-2009, 01:49 PM   #1
Dave1998
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Default Electricians Please ... Can an Electrical Outlet go bad?

My basement upright freezer started tripping the 15 amp breaker after being plugged into the outlet for 10 minutes. All food was ruined.

I then plugged the freezer into a heavy duty extension cord and plugged it into another outlet 12 feet closer to the circuit box on the same breaker and it has run fine for 2 hours. The breaker still has not tripped. I suspect it wont.

What is the correct course of repair?

Thanks
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:51 PM   #2
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Yeah, they can short out. Easy to replace too.
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:51 PM   #3
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Yes, they can go bad. Sounds like this is what happened here with you.
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave1998 View Post
My basement upright freezer started tripping the 15 amp breaker after being plugged into the outlet for 10 minutes. All food was ruined.

I then plugged the freezer into a heavy duty extension cord and plugged it into another outlet 12 feet closer to the circuit box on the same breaker and it has run fine for 2 hours. The breaker still has not tripped. I suspect it wont.

What is the correct course of repair?

Thanks
Turn off the breaker.
Make sure it is off.
Pull the outlet out.
Make sure the screws that hold the wires on are tight.
Wouldn't hurt to check the ground pigtails either.
Check all screws on all outlets going back to the breaker.
Re-assemble
Turn on breaker and test.

I hope the original installer didn't use those "push in" type outlets where you strip a little of the end of the wire an poke it in.
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:06 PM   #5
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I think you are all on the right track.

Back in February, the breaker tripped once, and then never again until last week. I have now tried this outlet like 5 times and in each case, within 10 minutes, it trips the breaker. I believe it has to be the outlet, or less likely, the wiring between the 2 boxes which seams less likely.
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:12 PM   #6
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I just changed out a wall switch without turning the breaker off.... I got electrocuted once and made some nice sparks but it wasnt a big deal...get to work and swap out that outlet
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:18 PM   #7
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I just changed out a wall switch without turning the breaker off.... I got electrocuted once and made some nice sparks but it wasnt a big deal...get to work and swap out that outlet
At times I could believe this.
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:20 PM   #8
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At times I could believe this.
its actually true I wanted to see if I could swap a switch out without turning the breaker off ..it was just a test ...I failed
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Petew1971 View Post
its actually true I wanted to see if I could swap a switch out without turning the breaker off ..it was just a test ...I failed
When I was in college working in a large office building maintenance dept I did that all the time. No problem for a 20 year old kid, right.
It was easier than running down the breaker in a panel that contained 50 or 60 breakers.

I didn't even use insulated pliers cause I was standing on vinyl tile, an insulator. Just like a bird setting on a wire right? The maintenance electrician taught me the trick.

Then I managed to grab a grounded piece of metal romex flex conduit in my left hand, while cutting into the hot wire with my right hand, completing the circuit. Fortunately I was with an experienced electrician who knew how to pull me off the circuit. I was locked on the pliers, all muscle function was locked up tight except for the vocal cords which worked rather well.

If it can be disconnected do it. I was very lucky, if I had been alone I have no doubt it would have been fatal.
LJ
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petew1971 View Post
its actually true I wanted to see if I could swap a switch out without turning the breaker off ..it was just a test ...I failed
you wouldn't believe how many wire cutters I've ruined because someone said the power was out and I cut through the hot, neutral, and ground wire at once
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:49 PM   #11
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Refrigerators, washers, dryers well pumps, etc do NOT LIKE any GFI breaker, take that check first....bet that breaker is only 15 amp IF it's the one in the box that's tripping....check what else is on the circuit....

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Old 07-14-2009, 04:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wytevette View Post
I hope the original installer didn't use those "push in" type outlets where you strip a little of the end of the wire an poke it in.
Why, are these not as good as the other kind?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petew1971 View Post
I just changed out a wall switch without turning the breaker off.... I got electrocuted once and made some nice sparks but it wasnt a big deal...get to work and swap out that outlet
Are you dead?
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryMJones View Post
When I was in college working in a large office building maintenance dept I did that all the time. No problem for a 20 year old kid, right.
It was easier than running down the breaker in a panel that contained 50 or 60 breakers.

I didn't even use insulated pliers cause I was standing on vinyl tile, an insulator. Just like a bird setting on a wire right? The maintenance electrician taught me the trick.

Then I managed to grab a grounded piece of metal romex flex conduit in my left hand, while cutting into the hot wire with my right hand, completing the circuit. Fortunately I was with an experienced electrician who knew how to pull me off the circuit. I was locked on the pliers, all muscle function was locked up tight except for the vocal cords which worked rather well.

If it can be disconnected do it. I was very lucky, if I had been alone I have no doubt it would have been fatal.
LJ
Quote:
Originally Posted by Z064life View Post
you wouldn't believe how many wire cutters I've ruined because someone said the power was out and I cut through the hot, neutral, and ground wire at once
Quote:
Originally Posted by AD2VET View Post
Why, are these not as good as the other kind?



Are you dead?
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by AD2VET View Post
Why, are these not as good as the other kind?


Every switch/outlet I've seen/used for the past 30 years has the push-in AND screw terminals on it.

I'm quite sure they all are made this way.
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:49 PM   #15
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Did you check the expiration date?
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:51 PM   #16
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Push in connection outlets are not as good as ones with screws because they rely on a thin blade biting into the wire. These connections have very little connection area and over time the connection becomes faulty. A screw connector has a large area connection to the wire and is much more reliable.
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petew1971 View Post
I just changed out a wall switch without turning the breaker off.... I got electrocuted once and made some nice sparks but it wasnt a big deal...get to work and swap out that outlet
Just like old times. Except you were on dry land.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by touringmike View Post
Every switch/outlet I've seen/used for the past 30 years has the push-in AND screw terminals on it.

I'm quite sure they all are made this way.
Some have not made it the the 21st Century yet!

Dont know when your house was built but check if you have aluminum wiring. The house I grew up in(built in 60's) had al. to cooper connections at the outlets which were a big problem. Tripping circuits and in some cases fires. A 4 year girl died in one of these fires 2 blocks from my house when I was a kid.

And copper wiring can also get very brittle over time especially at outlet connections and cause shorts also.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by touringmike View Post
Every switch/outlet I've seen/used for the past 30 years has the push-in AND screw terminals on it.

I'm quite sure they all are made this way.
Point taken. Yeah, they (15amp) are made that way. Unfortunately, too many guys are tempted to use the push in, which is adequate for NEC. If it is ok for NEC, that is good enough, and I am only stating my opinion.

I don't want to get into a pissing match, but I am of the opinion that those spring loaded push in contacts are not nearly as good as the screw. Adequate, but not as good. I got this opinion based upon what I have been told by my local electrical inspector, as well as instructors in continuing education.

That said, I don't use the push in contacts.

The argument could be made that a screw can work loose (and they do), but I just prefer the screws.

I have yet to see a 15 amp outlet with a spring loaded contact for the ground. The ground is the most important safety component of the device, and they use a screw for that.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:12 PM   #20
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Push in contacts suck. Quality commercial receptacles do not have the holes for push in connections.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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