DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, new to the site, but here is what I'm scratching my head over.

I noticed an extremely burnt receptacle in a bedroom at my sisters house. So I went to the service panel and shut the breaker off that fed the bedroom outlets. I then checked the receptacles with a non-contact and it alerted that there is voltage in the line. I then checked with a volt meter and it read 4.7 volts through the wire coming from the breaker. After carefully removing the wires (there was a burnt neutral on this receptacle) from the receptacle that received the line from the breaker the volt reading was 0 to 0.8 volts in all other receptacles. Also, as I investigated the burnt receptacle I saw that the neutral wires were burnt and the insulation had burnt off about 4 inches back. It also had severely melt the back of the outlet and caused the power bar to crack in half. This receptacle was at the end of the run. So much overall questions are 1.) what could be causing the voltage in the line from the breaker? 2.) what could've caused the receptacle to burn up so severely?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37,460 Posts
Are they trying to run a space heater in a 15 amp. circuit?
Was it back stabbed instead of under the screws?
Once loose connection is all it takes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. They have just recently purchased the house. Not to sure what could've been plug into the outlet. They were wired with the screws. I have replaced all of the receptacles in the room with 20A receptacles. The previous receptacles were only rated at 15A and were wrongfully placed on a 20A breaker. Hope this change and a thorough check over resolves the problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I do a have a new 20A breaker on hand but haven't had the chance to change them out. I'm leaning toward that and a loose connection of ground/neutral at the service panel resulting in the ghost voltage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
289 Posts
Thanks for the reply. They have just recently purchased the house. Not to sure what could've been plug into the outlet. They were wired with the screws. I have replaced all of the receptacles in the room with 20A receptacles. The previous receptacles were only rated at 15A and were wrongfully placed on a 20A breaker. Hope this change and a thorough check over resolves the problem.
15 amp receptacles are approved for residential 20 amp circuits. The overcurrent protective device (circuit breaker) is there to protect the wire, not the receptacle or the device that is plugged into the receptacle. Go back and insure you have #12 AWG wire on that breaker throughout the circuit. If it is #14, replace the breaker with a 15 amp OCPD.

Chances are the connection on that receptacle was loosened over time, and though you state the receptacle was screw terminated, this often happens with stabbed receptacles. Then, if a large load was applied to any loose connection (say, a space heater), it caused a heating condition due to excessive resistance at the connection point. It steadily worsened over time until the insulation finally burned away or failed.

Best way I've found to combat the issue is (1.) not to purchase 50 cent receptacles. Don't cheap out on junk devices. It is my family living in that firetrap (2.) don't back stab the terminations. Either wrap the screw terminal, or use back WIRED receptacles (they have a plate that, once screwed down tight, grips the wire quite securely) (3.) Use the correct size over current protective device. If you can back stab a new receptacle, it was probably with #14 AWG wire. #12 won't back stab well at all; the hole is too small.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,468 Posts
The small voltages on the
Wires is ghost or phantom
Voltage usually caused by
Induction from other nearby
Wiring. Dont worry too much
About it. You can chop out the
Damaged sections of wire and
Use pigtails. Provided the rest
Of the wiring is ok !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update on the situation:

All receptacles have been replaced with proper wiring procedure ensured.

Circuit breaker has been proven to be in good working condition.

Overall, everything seems to be in proper working order. The burnt receptacle must have resulted from the previous owners of the house having a high current drawing device running from the outlet along with loose wiring.

Thanks all for the helpful responses.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top