Razor only power outlet buzzing sound

tarabryanSeptember 15, 2013

Hello, this is my 1st time posting here, Ive searched and searched and could only find similar questions from people living in the UK, with slightly different issues

Here's the thing.. I live in BC (Canada), our townhouse was built in 1984, in the washroom is a razor only power outlet, it is seldom used by us, like maybe twice in the 4 months we have been here, and for less then 20 min each time, oh ya, it was my razor plugged in, but I now charge it elsewhere because the outlet constantly makes a humming noise/buzzing noise. The metal plate surrounding the plug is slightly warm to the touch, Not Hot, It does makes this noise 24/7. there is nothing else plugged in to it, there is no other switch attached to it,no light,nor fan etc I have tried pressing the test button a few times,although the test button does seem to function properly, this facilitated no changes...
thank you in advance

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I suspect that it is just an outlet "protected" by an isolation transformer - a pre-GFCI safety feature - which is humming due to loose core laminations.

It's probably doing no harm but if the buzzing is bothering you just open it up and disconnect the transformer. Install a GFCI controlled outlet if you don't already have one.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 3:11PM
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The "razor-only" power outlets are, as far as I know, mostly a UK thing. They do, in fact, contain a transformer. I can't remember if it's just isolation or if it also steps down to 120 (again, in the UK application, where their supply is ~240).

In any case, the hum/buzz is not an issue - and if you are outside of North America, DO NOT attempt to follow dennisgli's resolution.

If you're in the US, of course, by all means, remove that thing and install a normal gfci in its place.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 8:50PM
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My posting is very clear on where I live...though I appreciate advice..I cant be expected to take seriously the advice of someone whom is either to lazy or to inept to fully read the question and relevant facts.....
I tried to be as specific as possible to avoid generic, broad answers

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 12:50AM
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I never heard of a razor-only outlet so I looked it up. Interesting idea to use a transformer before GFCIs were widely available. From another site:

"In many older homes, you will find that they have a “razor only” receptacle in the bathroom. These usually have a polished silver plate, mounted in a 4” X 4” box, and the outlet has only two prongs. These were designed to isolate you from the grounded electrical system in your house by limiting the amount of current that could flow in a fault condition."

TB, pharkus has lent his good expertise to many, many questions on this forum. I would take him seriously. Sometimes people misread stuff. In my experience, it usually hurts to be too spicy in my posts.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 1:26AM
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The only place that I've seen a "razor only" outlet has been in the US. A reasonable solution at the time - probably saved many lives! But they were probably only good for an amp or two - I still say replace it with a GFCI outlet.

Not sure why the bashing of other's suggestions - just seems to be the norm in this forum.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 10:20AM
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I am not bashing others suggestions, and I do truly appreciate any viable help, and in fact, I have gotten the answer I needed. I am grateful for the knowledge and advise given.
I do stand behind my comment however. In my post/question, I was very specific on where I lived,,If someone is going to give advise on serious issues involving electricity, and the potential safety of other people...and children. That person has a responsibility to ensure that they have all the relevant facts at hand and at the very least take the time to fully read the questions in their entirety..
just saying.....Once again..a big fat THANK YOU!!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 10:37AM
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We have these in Canada as well, I have one in my home which is what brought me here, as a razor only you can't use hair dryers, so was wondering about it, now I know.... that's why I love the net, all sorts of people willing to share their knowledge...thanx

    Bookmark   February 1, 2015 at 11:26AM
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This post was edited by laat2 on Tue, Feb 3, 15 at 7:15

    Bookmark   February 3, 2015 at 6:54AM
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Ron Natalie

The "razor" only comment is because the thing is very current limited. A razor is fine but your average hair dryer is one of the main reasons that bathroom receptacles are now required to be on 20A circuits.

As alluded the isolation transformer provides much the same shock prevention as a GFCI. You can put yourself between ground and either leg of this receptacle with no current flow. Of course, if you put yourself across the two wires you'll get a nasty surprise, but a GFCI won't protect you there either.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2015 at 8:43AM
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