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Old 06-18-2011, 12:07 PM   #1
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melted wall recepticle


Hi I am running an wall unit ac that is 115v 12 amps on a 20 amp breaker with 12/2 wire. Why is the outlet that has the AC pluggled into it melting? All other outlets on the circuit appear to be fine. There are 9 recepticles that are rated 15 amp on the circuit. We have a flat screen tv, cable box, xbox, phone, desktop computer and wall unit AC all running off this 20 amp breaker. The AC unit is on the last recepticle on the circuit. Does the AC need to be on its own circuit or should we change the recepticle to a GFI? Any suggestions welcomed.

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Old 06-18-2011, 12:14 PM   #2
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That is a lot of draw on one poor 20amp circuit. My window AC units 'want' (in the manual) their OWN ('Dedicated') 20amp circuit.

You're cooking that last outlet for a reason. Time for another circuit. Or put your AV system on a different one.

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Old 06-18-2011, 12:14 PM   #3
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what is the outlet rated for? if its only a 15 amp outlet i would replace it with a higher rated outlet. seems like you have too much stuff on this circuit also
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:25 PM   #4
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I wouldn't bother with a 20amp outlet unless your AC needs it (you would know because of the weird plug).

You do want a high quality outlet. But a 20amp is not necessary.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:31 PM   #5
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Okay this makes sense but now my husband is asking if a GFI would help fix this problem?
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:37 PM   #6
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No, the GFI would not solve the problem. The problem lies in the amount of power drawn on the circuit. Too much power drawn through a 15amp circuit can cause it to overheat.

I agree with everyone above, changing the A/C unit or AV equip to a different circuit would be the solution to the problem.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:39 PM   #7
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A GFI would not help this. A GFI is designed to limit shocks.

Loose connections cause heat and heat draw appliances like heaters and motor startups can make the situation worse. Were the plugs loose or the connections to the screws or backstabs?
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:45 PM   #8
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The plug was in great shape and the house is only 9 years old we are not running anything the prior owner wasn't running which is why I couldn't figure out why this was happening we did run the AC unit last year also. My husband said all the wires are nice and tight and the outlet itself was good until this of course.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:47 PM   #9
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Have you changed the receptacle and then the second one also melted too or are you saying the one is melting and so far nothing has been done? If the plug on the A/C is just the ground and two parallel straight pins then it only requires a 15 amp receptacle. Change the receptacle with a commercial grade unit, not one of the 69 ones from WalMart.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:49 PM   #10
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Replace the receptacle with a commercial or industrial grade one, and lightly sand the prongs of the AC plug to remove any corrosion. The problem is that the connection between the prongs and the receptacle has abnormally high resistance, probably due to looseness and corrosion.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:50 PM   #11
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We have not changed any recepticle yet. He was wondering if changing the recepitcle to a better grade or changing all 9 recepticles to 20 amp was the thing to do.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:55 PM   #12
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we have taken the computer equipment off the circuit too hopefully this cut some juice being taken? Yes or no
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Old 06-18-2011, 01:34 PM   #13
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Removing any load like the computer will lessen the amp draw on the circuit. This will not help your situation at the end of the run. It would however help if the breaker were tripping. Only the load from the AC is flowing at the end of the run.

You do not want to install 20 amp T-slot receptacles on your circuit. It would be a code violation if the circuit was only 15 amps. Also unless the cord had the T-cap it would not be needed.
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:17 PM   #14
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melted wall recepticle


even at 20 Amps the receptical should not melt! at 30Amps maybe.. but the breaker in the panel would have tripped. so, i would think you have a problem either:

1) high resistance at the melting receptical. this is usually caused by a lose connection, or corrosion. this is easily fixed.

2) intermittent connection which is causing arcing (which also generates a lot of heat but will NOT trip a "normal" breaker unless it is an arc detection type like is found for bedrooms)

3) the load is greater than 20Amps and your breaker is not working properly (it should trip off).

if it were me.. the first thing i would do is turn on the loads (one at a time) and goto the panel and put a clamp on meter on the load cable to measure the current draw and confirm it is less than 20A (preferably less than 80% of this so... should measure 16A or less). then this would eliminate item #3.

then i would turn OFF the power, pull the receptical and inspect for obvious signs of WHERE the heat is localized and determine if it is just bad connection or arcing. if i find bad conection i would cut the wire and and strip back the insulation a bit so you have nice fresh copper and connect again to a NEW receptical (they are cheap, so don't worry about it).

if none of the above helps, i would call an electrician..

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Last edited by Knucklez; 06-18-2011 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:28 PM   #15
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You have a bad connection(s) in that outlet. IT could be the outlet itself, OR the molded plug on the A/C unit. ... or both.

Sometimes, you will have to change =both= to remedy the problem.

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