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Old 11-29-2010, 09:25 AM   #1
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Split Plug fire - possible causes?


I own and live in a 6 yr old home in Toronto, Canada. Recently we had a kitchen counter split plug heavily spark and flame while boiling water in a kettle. Our microwave was plugged in to the second receptacle and it was also on. Fortunately I was nearby and pulled both plugs out, then the sparks and flame stopped. Note the dual pole 15-15 breaker did NOT switch off. Upon closer examination of the receptacle, the red wire area was quite melted. What are the possible causes of this and should we have our entire electrical system inspected?
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:50 AM   #2
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That might be a good idea, at least that circuit?
Down here, I was required to have 20 amps in the kitchen on at least 2 separate circuits.
Both sides of the sink are also GFCI outlets, as required by U.S. code.
Each one is the first outlet on that half of the kitchen's circuits as well.
Not sure about Canada's codes regarding kitchens, but you may be due for an upgrade?
But only 6 years old? hmmmm

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Old 11-29-2010, 11:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielS View Post
I own and live in a 6 yr old home in Toronto, Canada. Recently we had a kitchen counter split plug heavily spark and flame while boiling water in a kettle. Our microwave was plugged in to the second receptacle and it was also on. Fortunately I was nearby and pulled both plugs out, then the sparks and flame stopped. Note the dual pole 15-15 breaker did NOT switch off. Upon closer examination of the receptacle, the red wire area was quite melted. What are the possible causes of this and should we have our entire electrical system inspected?
Your problem was a bad connection and the circuit was undersized for US standards. The sparking and smoke was due to a loose connection. If the connection had been good and tight it would have tripped the 15 amp breaker before it started the possible fire.
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Old 11-29-2010, 01:45 PM   #4
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The circuit is fine for Canadian standards. A dual 15 amp split receptacle can supply more power than a single duplex 20a mp receptacle.

The issue was a loose conenction. Sounds like the red wire was the problem. When a connection is loose it generates heat and becomes more loose. Eventually it will begin to arc and burn up. Cut back the bad wire and replace the receptacle. Don't forget the tab on the gold side needs to be cut.
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:05 AM   #5
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Is it ok if I just cap the live red wire and only connect the black, white and ground... And only use one plug?
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Old 11-30-2010, 08:31 AM   #6
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That would be a code violation. Kitchen counter plugs are requried to be 15 amp splits or 20 amp T slots. There is NO way you could run the toaster and the microwave at the same time on a 15 amp circuit.
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