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Old 04-17-2014, 10:55 AM   #1
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why does this simple outlet have me confounded?


I'm replacing my fireplace insert and need to replace the outlet that runs it. However I'm not sure how it was installed to begin with. The outlet is part of the circuit running through the living room outlets and a ceiling fan. But this particular outlet has a red constant running to it. The switch is on the wall. The wires are disconnected right now while we install the new insert. The ceiling fan and other outlets still work, which tells me the black wire does not need to be connected to the fireplace outlet. In other words, just use the red wire (and white) and cap off the black. Does this sound correct?

Thanks.
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:27 AM   #2
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What wires were connected to the old receptacle?
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:32 AM   #3
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Wish I knew, I wasn't the one who pulled it. Like I said, they've been disconnected for a few weeks now and power is still going to the rest of the rooms outlets. So the black wire at the fireplace is not needed to continue the circuit. I guess this is a middle of run switch, though I'm really not sure.
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:41 AM   #4
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What color wires and quantity are in the outlet box?
What color wires and quantity are in the switch box?
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:47 AM   #5
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outlet box has b,w,r and ground and thats it. I have to go look at the switch and get back to you.
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Old 04-17-2014, 12:04 PM   #6
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Odds are it is half switched outlet. 1 receptacle is hot all the time and the other receptacle is switched hot.

On a new receptacle, break the tab between the brass screws, connect the black to 1 brass screw and the red to the other. Connect the white to a silver screw. Connect the ground to the ground terminal.
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Old 04-17-2014, 12:07 PM   #7
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Or the outlet was switched, but happened to be middle of the run.
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Old 04-17-2014, 12:50 PM   #8
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Jim, I think it is middle of run. If that's the case, In should just cap the black wire, right? Just want to make sure I follow code.

Lastly, can I put the outlet inside the zero clearance box for the new fireplace insert? that's probably a dumb question, my installer said I could but I just wanted to be sure.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:30 PM   #9
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If it was the middle of the run there would have two cables, one in and one out. It is either half switched or one of the wires in the cable is not needed.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
Odds are it is half switched outlet. 1 receptacle is hot all the time and the other receptacle is switched hot.

On a new receptacle, break the tab between the brass screws, connect the black to 1 brass screw and the red to the other. Connect the white to a silver screw. Connect the ground to the ground terminal.
I agree with the above.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:57 PM   #11
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We're talking about 120v, right? Red & black could be out-and-back for a switch loop.

If it's a 240v situation, red and black would be your hots. Not sure how the switch would work with that, however.
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:05 PM   #12
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Thanks for clearing this up.

I'm a newly licensed contractor but I don't do much electrical. For some reason this was just not clear in my mind.
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:15 PM   #13
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120v. Electrical is for ignition, fan and augur. So not much is needed.

I suspect the previous receptacle was a half switched outlet as was pointed out above. I have these in just about every room in the house. I'm going to cap the black and only use the red wire since the outlet will be inside the behind the pellet insert. It's on rails to slid out for maintenance so it is accessible per code. Problem now is the wire is actually too short and I can't put a JB because there won't be access to it once I tile the face. Hopefully I'll have access in the basement.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
We're talking about 120v, right? Red & black could be out-and-back for a switch loop.
Since there is no other cable what is the source of the 120 volts to go out on the black and come back on the red?
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