Melted metal at outlet - Breaker never tripped

ardmiOctober 12, 2013

I wished I could take a picture to show. Today I found a circa 1960's outlet/wire behind my fridge scorched and I wonder if the damage is old or new.

There was about 1/4" of the wire, above the screw, where the insulation was burned. The 12g conductor was melted at that spot and was about half its diameter.

The portion was laying against the back of the outlet and melted a tiny spot on the back strap on the yolk.There was no burn or damage at the screw terminal although it didnt look like it was seated properly.

The fridge was working fine though and a breaker has never tripped that I know of.

I this was new damage and the wire was shorting out on the back of the outlet like that, why didnt the breaker trip?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ron Natalie

It probably wasn't a short. You had a poor connection that resulted in a lot of heat even though there wasn't enough current to trip the breaker. This is one of the reasons connections need to be made in boxes.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 6:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ardmi

That might make sense. However, theres metal on the yolk and it too was melted a bit where I presume the wire was pressing up against.

So there was a metal on metal contact. I figured that would have been an automatic dead short.

So with the hot wire melted to half its size (about a 1/8-1/4 of inch of it)... I would guess that would have failed immediately with the fridge compressor kicking on, or do you think that weakened portion could work for an extended period of time before totally breaking?

Just trying to rationalize if this just occured or happened a long time ago.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 7:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bus_driver

Flawed logic. A toaster gets red hot but does not trip the breaker. Welders generate 6000 degrees and some of them operate on 120 volt 20 amp circuits. Melting heat can be created without tripping breakers.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 8:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ron Natalie

By the way, the thing holding the receptacle in place is a YOKE. Yolk is the center of the egg.

In addition to connections must be made in boxes, AFCIs also address the issue that certain wiring failures can cause a fire without exceeding the circuit ampacity.

This post was edited by ronnatalie on Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 9:20

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 8:15AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Garage florescent light flickering - bulb or fixture problem?
I replaced the GE F40 RES garage lights with a GE F40...
bibbus 7b
1 of 2 security light bulbs keep going out, do i need a new light?
I have a security light fixture in my carport that...
tlbean2004
Can I electrify battery-operated lights?
Hi all. Is there a way to electrify a battery operated...
eam44
Need to Understand GFCI Requirements.
I posted this in the remodeling section, but I think...
homechef59
Confused & need help please
I know just about zero when it comes to electricity....
bicyclegirl1
Sponsored Products
Sterling Silver One-Light Clear Spectra Crystal Wall Sconce, 5W x 15H x 5D
$262.00 | Bellacor
RION Furniture - Africa Ottoman, Metal/Burlap - OTT114MT
Great Furniture Deal
Vaxcel Yosemite Outdoor Wall Light - 5.13W in. Burnished Bronze - OW24953BBZ
$61.25 | Hayneedle
Soap Dispenser Made From Thermoplastic Resins and Stone in White Finish
TheBathOutlet
Pink Fashion on Patterns Wall Plaque Set
$47.99 | zulily
Flambeau Lighting Anemone Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
Apollo Guest Chair MTG9900
$173.50 | LexMod
Sebring Outdoor Weathered Copper Wall Mount
$158.30 | Bellacor
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™