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  1. #1
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    Default Little Puff of Smoke

    My wife tells me this morning that she has noticed this week when she unplugs her hairdryer she see's a little puff of smoke. Says she needs to get another hairdryer. I ask her more about it and she says she thinks it may be coming out of the receptacle.

    I immediately remove the plate cover and sure enough you can see arcing at the side terminal and the wiring connector is loose. The receptacle also has some melting on the edge.

    So all day, I've been removing receptacles and making sure all the connections are tight. We've already had one fire (Ford)at this house, maybe we are sitting on some sacred ground or something. The Hurst's are curse I believe.

    When was the last time you checked your receptacles?

    Rick

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  2. #2
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Hey good catch. I just went over my house this year New panel and outlets and switches. I did find few that had problems.

    Thats one good point about the little tester you can find loose outlets with it.

    Best

    Ron


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    WESTMINSTER CO
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    hey rick

    i will inspect your house, inspector discount $.50, fly me in the golf courses are covered with snow here, funny how we let our own place go. good find
    charlie


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Rick,

    I've got a few more rooms to go, but most of the ones I've replaced (1978 house) have back-stab holes ONLY, NO screw terminals at all, WORSE, when I pull the receptacles out of the boxes so I can get to them, many pull RIGHT OFF THE WIRES ... little or no tension on that spring contact.

    Used to be, on houses older than 15 years, I always made a note in there to have an electrical contractor replace all devices (switches and receptacles), simply because I found so many with loose contacts when I plugged my tester in. This hose (30 years old) confirms that I had done the right thing recommending that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Bill Thacker's Avatar
    Bill Thacker Guest

    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Was this on the neutral side of the outlet?

    If so....that is a great example why neutrals should be one to a lug in a panel.

    AllPro - PA and MD Home Inspection and Radon Test - MD Licensed Home Inspector
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Thacker View Post
    Was this on the neutral side of the outlet?

    If so....that is a great example why neutrals should be one to a lug in a panel.
    And imagine what two wires twisted together would do.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  7. #7
    Bill Thacker's Avatar
    Bill Thacker Guest

    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    And imagine what two wires twisted together would do.
    Complete continuity? Not sure what you are getting at. 2 wires under one screw?

    Gotta watch those wire biters with a limp wrist. It seems no one has pride in their work construction wise. Combine that with cheap cross border subcontractors and you never know whet you'll end up with.


  8. #8
    Richard Moore's Avatar
    Richard Moore Guest

    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Thacker View Post
    Was this on the neutral side of the outlet?
    I doubt it. Assuming it's a grounded receptacle, I woud expect to be able to see the grounding terminal in Rick's first photo. The positions vary, but the grounding terminal is usually (always?) oriented to the same side as the neutral.


  9. #9
    Bill Thacker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    yea.....upon closer examination I can see the screw is a gold colored screw....hot.

    the neutral is typically if not always silver in color.

    Thanks,

    Bill


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Thacker View Post
    Complete continuity? Not sure what you are getting at. 2 wires under one screw?
    You should be sure of what I am getting at by now - TWO WIRES UNDER ONE SCREW = NOT ALLOWED.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Thacker View Post
    yea.....upon closer examination I can see the screw is a gold colored screw....hot.

    the neutral is typically if not always silver in color.

    Thanks,

    Bill
    The neutral screw is required to be lighter colored, white or silver, not brass colored.

    Just like twisting two wires together is not allowed and does not equal continuity as you indicated.

    From the 2008 NEC. (underlining is mine)
    - ARTICLE 200 Use and Identification of Grounded Conductors
    - - 200.10 Identification of Terminals.
    - - - (A) Device Terminals. All devices, excluding panelboards, provided with terminals for the attachment of conductors and intended for connection to more than one side of the circuit shall have terminals properly marked for identification, unless the electrical connection of the terminal intended to be connected to the grounded conductor is clearly evident.
    - - - - Exception: Terminal identification shall not be required for devices that have a normal current rating of over 30 amperes, other than polarized attachment plugs and polarized receptacles for attachment plugs as required in 200.10(B).
    - - - (B) Receptacles, Plugs, and Connectors. Receptacles, polarized attachment plugs, and cord connectors for plugs and polarized plugs shall have the terminal intended for connection to the grounded conductor identified as follows:
    - - - - (1) Identification shall be by a metal or metal coating that is substantially white in color or by the word white or the letter W located adjacent to the identified terminal.
    - - - - (2) If the terminal is not visible, the conductor entrance hole for the connection shall be colored white or marked with the word white or the letter W.
    - - - - - FPN: See 250.126 for identification of wiring device equipment grounding conductor terminals.
    - - - (C) Screw Shells. For devices with screw shells, the terminal for the grounded conductor shall be the one connected to the screw shell.
    - - - (D) Screw Shell Devices with Leads. For screw shell devices with attached leads, the conductor attached to the screw shell shall have a white or gray finish. The outer finish of the other conductor shall be of a solid color that will not be confused with the white or gray finish used to identify the grounded conductor.
    - - - - FPN: The color gray may have been used in the past as an ungrounded conductor. Care should be taken when working on existing systems.
    - - - (E) Appliances. Appliances that have a single-pole switch or a single-pole overcurrent device in the line or any line-connected screw shell lampholders, and that are to be connected by (1) a permanent wiring method or (2) field-installed attachment plugs and cords with three or more wires (including the equipment grounding conductor), shall have means to identify the terminal for the grounded circuit conductor (if any).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    This was a grounded receptacle and yes it was on the "hot" side.

    rick


  13. #13
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    You guys have bought into your own BS here. If you think I'm going to jump up on Sunday and change out all of my receptacles you should just go ahead and have another "Little Puff of Smoke" . . .


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Why AFCI breakers a Good Idea on receptacle outlet circuits...

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    .
    Put My Assistant to work on that.
    .

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    According to my mother, I did exactly that - after which she found me crawling toward the outlet to try it again.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 02-01-2009 at 02:01 PM.
    Michael Thomas
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    I finally saw the new child resistant outlets on an inspection yesterday, and not on a new house, it was on a flip that they had replaced all the switches and outlets. That must have been all that were available when the picked up the outlets. Of course there was not a GFCI in the house and none of the three-way switches worked right but they were nice a pretty looking.
    I had to try to stick something in one side of the outlet just to test it out. They seemed to work pretty good. Easy to use though when plugging in my tester.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I finally saw the new child resistant outlets on an inspection yesterday, and not on a new house, it was on a flip that they had replaced all the switches and outlets. That must have been all that were available when the picked up the outlets. Of course there was not a GFCI in the house and none of the three-way switches worked right but they were nice a pretty looking.
    "Of course there was not a GFCI in the house ... "

    That's a big Oops! on their part. As soon as they replace a receptacle which requires GFCI by today's code, GFCI protection is *required* for that replaced receptacle. That is one of only two retroactive sections of the code (that I can think of), and it is only retroactive in that the code *requires GFCI protection on those receptacle outlets* and, when installing a new receptacle outlets, well, all work *must* be consistent with current code, so ... those new outlets must have GFCI protection (thus, is it really even "retroactive"?).

    I had to try to stick something in one side of the outlet just to test it out. They seemed to work pretty good. Easy to use though when plugging in my tester.
    Yeah, but try inserting TWO paper clips, one in each side ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzkelly View Post
    As I understand AFCI's, that arcing wouldn't have tripped it. They only trip with hot to ground or hot to neutral neutral arcing.
    The old ones were parallel arc sensing, the new ones are combination which includes series arc sensing. Or do I have the parallel/series backward? Regardless, the new ones are to detect either type of arc.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  20. #20
    Bill Thacker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    You should be sure of what I am getting at by now - TWO WIRES UNDER ONE SCREW = NOT ALLOWED.
    TWO WIRES UNDER ONE SCREW = I KNOW.

    But thanks for letting me know what you were referring to. I did not fully understand your post.

    Bill


  21. #21
    Jim Zborowski's Avatar
    Jim Zborowski Guest

    Talking Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    C'mon Rick, it's only " a little puff of smoke"......not like it's shooting out lightening bolts.

    Smiley face in place.....I hope.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Little Puff of Smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzkelly View Post
    Good to know, I always thought that parallel arc sensing is actually pretty worthless.
    Actually, parallel arcing causes many fires. Parallel arcing is what you get when a nail or screw is driven into a wire, or when insulation is rubbed (abraded) through, or cracked/brittle, or chewed off by rodents, etc., parallel arcing occurs within the walls, making its presence known when the fire get hot enough.

    Your lamp, shaver, hair dryer, etc., still may work with parallel arcing, and you are not aware of what is going on.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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