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Old 05-30-2012, 07:20 AM   #1
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Sparking GFCI

This morning while my girlfriend was using a hairblower on high (certainly not the first time on this outlet with this appliance), the outlet threw some nasty sparks. (it is the wiring setup from this thread:Anyone decipher this bathroom wiring?).

She shut off the appliance and dropped it. I flipped off the breaker and pulled the plug.

The top 1/2 of the receptacle (where it was plugged in) is blackened and the box on the plus (transformer?) is very slightly melted right at the prongs.

The GFCI indicator light was ON, but it wasn't tripped (obviously).
Hitting test and reset cycles the light on and off.

I have not plugged anything else in to see what it does or doesn't do, as that seemed like a poor idea at this point.

Faulty appliance? Faulty GFCI? Faulty homeowner? Several/all of the above?

Any thoughts appreciated.


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Old 05-30-2012, 07:52 AM   #2
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You might have had a loose connection and the sparks was the electricity jumping the gap like a spark plug. With a compromised connection you need to replace the GFI.


Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:49 AM   #3
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The GFCI wouldn't be inclined to trip for such an event. It only senses ground faults which this case is not. So don't be hard on the GFCI for not tripping. Sounds like weakened or bent contacts in the outlet as JP pointed out. Just install a new GFCI. They are cheap enough. If the dryer plug is all burnt and splattered from this throw it away and get a new one of those too.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:53 AM   #4
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I just noticed at the store the other day that there are simple hair dryers that draw 1800 W.......
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