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Old 04-08-2009, 06:28 AM   #1
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Electrical I am really in the dark!


Can a broken outlet, yes it is literally broken the plastic receptacle is cracked cause the breaker in the panel to pop? I have someone looking at electrical work and his response was that this wouldn't cause the breaker to pop. Of course he said he would charge $300 a day to try and locate it for up to two days but would not promise to find the problem. Is this typical? Of course he told me I should rewire the whole house and would be happy to figure up a price.

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Old 04-08-2009, 07:20 AM   #2
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Electrical I am really in the dark!


Giving estimates for this type of work is not possible, yet home owners always want it. But this contractor over reacted and scared you. Something like this can only take more than a 15 minutes to find unless the electrician is not good at troubleshooting. About 45% of them are not. I know I have had up to 25 electricians on staff at one time. The rate seems reasonable, but need someone that can also give a reasonable estimate. The fix however could take up to 4 hours. The broken outlet is dangerous, but will not normally pop a breaker. What may have happened is that the broken piece also knocked the hot wire into the ground wire (most likely what is going on) and this popped the breaker. Turn of the breaker, not sure which one... turn off all breakers. Now remove the outlet and make sure no wires are touching any other wires. You may find one if I am correct. Then replace the outlet putting each wire on the same screw as you see on the old one. bare wire to green screw, white to nickle colored screw and black wire to copper colored screw. Wrap the wires clockwise around the screw.

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Old 04-08-2009, 07:28 AM   #3
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Thanks Bob for the reminder of "wrapping the wires clockwise around the screws". I work with/around numerous Licensed Electricians often and notice that most of them don't do this. They seem to be happy with just "stubbing" the wire in behind the screw and tightening it down. Job finished, get paid, go home. I believe the wrapping of the wire is essential to a good electrical contact. Thanks, David
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:36 AM   #4
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Back stabbing is quicker and a professional must account for the time. It is an acceptable method, but the wires must be precisely stripped the correct length and after installation we pull the wires as we twist to be assured a good connection. Side wired to the screw is better, but not necessary for a suitable electrical connection. These are UL rates and NEC accepts this back-stabbed since these outlets are designed for this application. DIYer's should always not back-stab.
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:00 AM   #5
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Thanks! I'll try that. There was humming noise coming from the area where the switch was at and then pop went the breaker, so I thought it may be a good place to start.
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:51 AM   #6
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Thanks! I'll try that. There was humming noise coming from the area where the switch was at and then pop went the breaker, so I thought it may be a good place to start.
This sounds like a switched outlet and turning on the switch is creating the short circuit and tripping the breaker.

So the fix is now including a red wire. This goes on the copper colored screw also. And on the new outlet you will see a small copper tab connecting the top and bottom screws (same side) With some needle nose pliers, wiggle this back and forth until it completely breaks off. This way the black will supply power to the bottom and the red will supply power to the top when the switch is on.

So the fix is now costing only $2.50
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:18 AM   #7
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It is a switched outlet. You are good. The doctor of electricity! I'll take a pair of pliers, switch and call you in the morning! Thanks again!!!!!
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:25 PM   #8
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Back stabbing is quicker and a professional must account for the time.
yes, if that's what Thurman meant. It is possible he meant that the electricians sidewired by just stubbing the wire under the screw instead of looping around it...I have come across some wired like this too
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:07 PM   #9
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yes, if that's what Thurman meant. It is possible he meant that the electricians sidewired by just stubbing the wire under the screw instead of looping around it...I have come across some wired like this too
I hope not. He would have been fired the second day his journeyman saw this.
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:32 PM   #10
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Can a broken outlet, yes it is literally broken the plastic receptacle is cracked cause the breaker in the panel to pop? I have someone looking at electrical work and his response was that this wouldn't cause the breaker to pop. Of course he said he would charge $300 a day to try and locate it for up to two days but would not promise to find the problem. Is this typical? Of course he told me I should rewire the whole house and would be happy to figure up a price.
Turn off the breaker and replace the broken outlet. If
no more short then it is fixed. You'll need a new outlet anyway.
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:02 PM   #11
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Be advised that the switched outlet needs to have the bridge between the two sides broken on the hot side. Look at the outlet and on the brass colored screw side you will see a little piece of metal that connects the two screws together. Snap it off or break it. Otherwise the outlet will be hot all the time. DO NOT DO THIS ON THE SILVER SCREW SIDE.

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