10:23AM | 11/23/04
Member Since: 11/22/04
4 lifetime posts
On Saturday I noticed that one of the outlets in my house and the wall around it was very hot. We shut the circuit breaker off and called an electrician. The electrician said he thought we had too many things on one breaker. He capped the outlet and said that we should call his company on Monday morning.

His boss came yesterday and said that we should have the refrigerator and micorwave on their own circuit breaker. I understand and agree with all that.

The outlet in question is on the same breaker as everything in the kitchen.

I do not understand if we have too many things on one breaker shouldn't we have had issues with tripping the circuit breaker? We never have had to re-set the circuit breaker. I look at the melted outlet and I think this is not supposed to happen shouldn't something have happened before to prevent the outlet from burning. I appreciate any advice you can give.

Tom O

03:05PM | 11/23/04
Member Since: 09/17/02
487 lifetime posts
The root cause of your problem was most likely a loose connection. This will not cause the breaker to trip unless the loose connection is at the connection to the breaker.

Although I feel your problem may have been mis-diagnosed, I think putting the microwave & fridge on their own circuits is a good idea.



06:40AM | 11/24/04
Member Since: 11/22/04
4 lifetime posts
Thank you for your response. Like I think I said it does nto make sense to me that if I am running too many things on 1 circuit how come we have never had an issue with the circuit breaker tripping. Which made think maybe the circuit breaker does not work. The electrician said the circuit breaker is fine.

He is estimating a price of 1200.00 to put the refrigerator and microwave on their own lines. He sayd there maybe a problem with the micorwave line not being able to go to the basement. So he may hace to run a pipe out of my house and then into the basement.

I just had all new siding put on my house and would rather not cut it unless necessary.

Can you think of any reason why he couldn't leave the micorwave on the existing circuit. Pull the refrigator out and put it on its own circuit - same for the diswasher and outlets?

What about the outlet - what needs to be done with this - if it is a loose coneection will replacing the outlet solve that or is their more to it - what cause a loose connection. I thank you for you advice and time. I am a first time home owner and I do not really understand these things but I am trying to learn.

Tom O

11:00AM | 11/24/04
Member Since: 09/17/02
487 lifetime posts
Is that a typo or is he really going to charge you $1200 for two circuits? If that is the price, start shopping around.

Just do the fridge, skip the microwave. i would'nt want any conduit on the side of my house either.

If there is enough good wire left in the box to work with, the burned up receptacle can be replaced.

Loose connections are usually caused by a lapse in workmanship. Considering how many connections an electrician makes in his career, he is bound to make a few loose ones.



05:35AM | 12/03/04
Member Since: 11/22/04
4 lifetime posts

I just wanted to thank you and let you know how much I appreciate your advice. I did get a second electrician to come and take a look. I did not tell him much about what the first electrician said needed to be done. The second electrician said exactly what you said a loose conncection in the neutral wire caused the outlet to burn and that if I have never tripped the breaker then I am most likely not running too many things on one breaker but if I did want to run seperate lines he would do for less than 1/2 what the first guy was proposing.

Thanks again for being here.

Tom O

04:23PM | 12/03/04
Member Since: 09/17/02
487 lifetime posts
Thank you for posting your follow up action. it is nice to know that the right answer got posted here (by me or others). Most of the time our answers go off into never-never land & we really don't know if we even came close to giving the appropriate advice. I'm glad you're able to save a few $$$ too.



05:53PM | 12/03/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Just wanted to add my two cents. I agree with Tom O wholeheartedly!

The BBS definitely works better when we know the resolution. And "bonus points" for good dialogue along the way!


-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum


03:38PM | 12/04/04
Member Since: 12/03/04
2 lifetime posts
I'm a Master Electrian in Alabama. Here's what could be wrong. When an electrical circuit is installed in the house,the wire goes from the breaker to one plug then to the next etc... Since all of the electrical current for the whole circuit goes through the connection on the first plug if it is not connected well it will overheat.

There is four screws on each receptacle(plug).Sometimes instead of wrapping the wire around the screw the wire is stuck in the back of the plug in a spring loaded catch. This is terrible.It needs to be wrapped around the screw. I've worked a lot of burn jobs because of this. To remove the wire from the catch,look on the back of the plug and you will see little openings next to the wire.Stick a small(real small)screwdriver into the openings one at a time. While the screwdriver is in the opening pull the wire out. Then use a pair of electrical wire strippers to bend a loop. Wrap the wire around the screw and tighten good. Don't buy a cheap plug.(50 cent) buy a 2.00-2.50 commercial plug it's worth the extra money in your kitchen (and I believe throughtout the house).

If you have aluminum wiring do the the same as above but before you reconnect the wire clean lightly with sandpaper till it's shiny and lightly coat with NoLox.You can get this at electrical supply houses. Aluminium wire oxidizes when it gets hot. The NoLox keeps it from oxidizing. It wouldn't hurt to replace all your recptacles in the kitchen. If any of them are near water (6 feet)(this is getting longer and longer) you need a GFI(Ground fault interrupter recepticle). You only need one if your whole kitchen is on one circuit. On the first plug from the breaker is where it is installed.You probably ought to have an electrician do this .It doesen't work properly if it's hooked up wrong.

SAFETY get a plug-in tester and MAKE sure it's off before you change the plug. Plug the tester in before you turn off the breaker and make sure it lights and then make sure it's out before you touch it.

You also probably should change the breaker. They don't trip sometimes when they get old.

The price you were quoted sounds high,but it may be reasonable. Sometimes it's really, really hard to add a new circuit. I would replace the plug and breaker first(inexpensive),then see if it needs a new circuit. If the new breaker trips then get a couple more estimates before proceeding.


08:41AM | 12/07/04
Member Since: 11/22/04
4 lifetime posts
Thank you for your advice but you have totally confused me just when I felt relieved that I understood and had done the right thing. I had the outlet replaced the second electrician said this problem was caused by a loose connection in the wire. Both electricians said there was nothing wrong with the circuit breaker. Both electricians said if I wanted to bring things up to the new building codes I should have circuits added but that it was not necessary. There was a very big difference in the cost to do this between the two. So I guess at this point my question is - what do I need to do now - the outlet has been replaced - and if I want I can add the circuit breakers but both electricians said it was not necessarty the second said if I am not tripping the circuit breakers ever then I do not have a problem - is that correct or do I have something more to do???

Thank you.


10:25AM | 12/07/04
Member Since: 09/17/02
527 lifetime posts
If you are not having any problem with the breaker tipping I would do nothing at this point. You problem has been repaired. If you start tipping the breaker then you can decide how to add more circuits to your kitchen.

Sam has just tried to explain how or why you might have had a loose connection. Since the loose connection has been repaired don't worry.
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