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mysterious receptacle question

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  • mysterious receptacle question

    Greetings!

    I've had a mysterious drop in current/wattage delivery at kitchen outlet. A toaster is plugged into this 20A outlet and nothing else. When plugged in, the toaster hums, heats up, but not enough to actually toast. When plugged into another outlet, it does not hum and toasts just fine.

    I've swapped the outlet for a new one, but there is no change. The wiring appears to be in good condition, clean no fraying, etc.... This is outside of my limited electrical experience.

    Has anyone seen this before?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    How old is your home?
    Have you checked the other outlets for loose connections?
    "Diplomacy is saying nice dodging until you can find a rock." Will Rogers
    "If a Monkey can do your job, are you in the right profession?

    Comment


    • #3
      1940's - 50's property

      This is one of mom's rental properties. Tenant reports that all other outlets are fine. Problem has recent started with the one outlet and reportedly, was working properly a week ago.

      Sorry that's not much info, but it comes third hand from mom.

      Thanks for any info!

      Comment


      • #4
        That outlet is probably inline with another one on the same wall. Check that outlet for a loose connection that feeds the weak outlet. You can normally take the outlet loose and see which way the wires go into the wall from the box and know which outlet it feeds from.
        info for all: http://www.hoistman.com http://www.freeyabb.com/phpbb/index....wwtoolinfoforu --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."

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        • #5
          Have you tested the voltage to see what it is?

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          • #6
            outlet not working properly

            If the outlet is not at the end of the run, there should be at least two wire nuts inside the box with the outlet. Have you checked the wire nuts? Sometimes they will not have been put on tight enough and can get even more loose than they were to begin with. I've seen them so loose that if you pulled on one of the wires coming out of the wire nut junction they'll just all fall out in your hand. Unscrew each wire nut and check to make sure that the 12-gauge wires are first twisted together before the wire nut goes on. Makes for a much better (read safer) connection overall if you do that. Just a thought to look at. I agree with the previous posts also. Check voltage at the outlet with a meter. and check the wiring at the box that feeds this particular outlet. May also want to check the wire nut connections in the feed box.
            Jim Don

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            • #7
              Why would there be 2 wire nuts? Your grounds get twisted and sleeved with copper crimp sleaves your hots aka black wires go to your screw terminals and your negative aka white wires get bugged with a pig tail coming out going to your receptacle so my count is only 1. I understand people do it different but it should all be done by NEC code.

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              • #8
                more info...

                Thank you all for your responses so far. They have been very informative.

                I believe this outlet is at the end of a run because there are only three wires in the box (hot, neutral and ground) and it is the only 20A outlet in the kitchen area that I can see. Whether or not it is the only outlet on this circuit, I can't tell. All other outlets are standard 15A except the one by the sink which is s GFCI.

                I don't own a meter to check the voltage, although if I'm going to be helping mom with her rental properties, maybe I should get one.

                Even though I think mom is calling an electrician to diagnose and fix the problem, any other thoughts would be appreciated.

                Thanks!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by lumpygravy
                  ...and it is the only 20A outlet in the kitchen area that I can see. Whether or not it is the only outlet on this circuit, I can't tell. All other outlets are standard 15A except the one by the sink which is s GFCI.
                  One thing to be clear about: when we talk about circuits, we refer to the rating of the breaker supplying the receptacle, not the receptacle itself. So a 20 amp breaker supplying 12 wire to a 15A-rated receptacle is a 20A circuit.

                  Even though I think mom is calling an electrician to diagnose and fix the problem, any other thoughts would be appreciated.
                  You have a bad connection somewhere. Without more information, that's about as specific as it gets.

                  Troubleshooting over the internet is difficult; if there's an electrician on the way, I think it would be less headache to just let it sit until they arrive. Sometimes messing with the system in the interim makes troubleshooting more difficult, because the list of things recently touched is longer.

                  I'd advise turning off the circuit at the panel until it is repaired.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    thanks all

                    ... and thank RMS for your info.

                    Mom called a GC who is going to install a new outlet in a more convenient location. He will then disconnect the problem outlet and install a coverplate over the Jbox.

                    I think this is the quickest solution and the least disruptive for the tenant.

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