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Old 08-15-2011, 02:38 AM   #1
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Old Burnt Outlets Replaced - Is Wire OK?


I have a 120yr. old house. I don't know how old the electrical is, but there is no ground.

Last winter I used a new room heater that caused two of my bedroom outlets to go bad and ooze black goo. One outlet burnt out so I tried another outlet--both went bad due to this heater.

Those outlets are replaced with new ones now. Is that old wiring ok to use? My handyman said they looked ok. I'm just wondering, back in the day, was wiring made to handle more use than an outlet? How do I know when wiring needs to be replaced?

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Old 08-15-2011, 05:43 AM   #2
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Old Burnt Outlets Replaced - Is Wire OK?


If you can take the wire and bend it without the insulation cracking or falling off I'm sure it is still fine.

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Old 08-15-2011, 07:05 AM   #3
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Old Burnt Outlets Replaced - Is Wire OK?


In a house that old please hire a licensed electrician to inspect it.

To find an electrician I suggest asking for a referral at your local electrical supply house.

Burning two outlets on the same circuit like that indicates a serious problem to me.---Mike---
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:47 AM   #4
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Old Burnt Outlets Replaced - Is Wire OK?


If the receptacle (outlet) burned but the wires in back looked okay then almost surely the wires are still okay, minus any portion of the ends where the insulation is cracked.

In your case what most likely happened is that the plug did not fit tightly in the receptacle or the plug has a loose connection inside. You can replace a plug in the same fashion as replacing a receptacle; stores like Home Depot sell replacement plugs. You can cut off the old plug as well as enough wire to get back to non-brittle insulation on the power cord.

The question is not whether the wiring can handle the number of receptacles but whether the wiring can handle the heater and other things turned on at the same time. If the heater drew less than 12 amperes then it alone would not hurt normal sized (14 or fatter gauge) wires. (14 gauge wires and any given receptacle can take 15 amps for a few hours at a time.)

This problem actually happened when I was staying in a hotel. THey had given me a heater to use temporarily and it melted the receptacle. I found the problem in the heater's plug and fixed it for them. Then I put the heater near a different receptacle while I went out for the day. THey found the melted receptacle and replaced it without saying a word. Apparently they blamed a 3 prong to 2 prong adapter which they had furnished and that also burned up. The heater was still there for my use the next night.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:37 PM   #5
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Old Burnt Outlets Replaced - Is Wire OK?


Thanks for filling me in.

I'm not so sure there was a loose connection. I did use a 3-prong to 2-prong adapter, which I've used in my house with many other appliances with no problem. The two outlets don't share a circuit. But I also have a spot on a surge protector that got burnt from this heater.

I'm not so sure if Lasko should be manufacturing electrical appliances. In 2005 1.2 million ceramic heaters were recalled AND in 2002 to 2004 4.8 million box fans were recalled, both for fire hazards. The model I have is 5572. It has not been recalled as of yet. I'm thinking it's this heater that's causing problems.

I guess I'll just have to stick to my old radiator-type heater this winter along with my down blanket.
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