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GFI plug issue

 
 
Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2016 05:52 am
I have no electrical knowledge, and will call a electrician but I want to ask anyway. I have a main bathroom that has a GFI plug, this plug is chained to another two plugs in my Master en-suite. The main bathroom GFI has the "Test/Reset" button, the other two in the en-suite are just fed into this and are normal looking, but possibly GFI related. FYI a new build 4 years ago and was inspected (I know, may not make a difference but wanted you to know)

The last week or so when drying my daughters hair in my en-suite I noticed the plug on the hairdryer would be so hot it would almost burn me when I touched the prongs. This morning this plug stopped working, so did the other plug in the en-suite. The main plug for the GFI works and has not been tripped. I took removed the en-suite plug covers just to have a look and I could tell that one of the white wires was at one point very hot and actually melted a small bit of the coating on the wire. As well as melted the electrical tape the electrician wrapped around the the plug and wires.

My first thought is that the plug is gone, but why didn't the GFI trip and could it possibly be faulty wiring or the hair dryer is gone a muck. Either way with the heat I still don't understand why the main GFI did not trip.

Any thoughts???? I'm a concerned with the safety of this plug

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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 636 • Replies: 11
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engineer
 
  2  
Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2016 06:41 am
@tchaytor,
GFI's are not designed to protect from overcurrent conditions. They are strictly for ground faults. If you were drawing too much current, you should have tripped the breaker. From the way you describe it, it sounds like the power comes into your GFI then to outlet one then two. Since one has an issue, two stopped working as well but the GFI which is first in line is working fine. (Or you might not have the right idea on how they are wired.)

1) Turn the breaker off
2) Use a voltmeter to verify the power is off at all three outlets. This is not hard, but it is very important to verify the circuit is dead before you mess with the wiring.
3) Replace the damaged outlet.
4) Turn the breaker back on and check for power with your voltmeter.

Keep an eye on that outlet when you use a high load like the hair dryer just to be sure everything is back in order.
tchaytor
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2016 07:41 am
@engineer,
Thanks for the reply!!

I plan on picking up a new GFI and outlets.. I'll be replacing outlet one and test as you mentioned. I'll update as to the outcome...

Thanks again,

Terry
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2016 07:43 am
@tchaytor,
I don't know that you need a new GFI. That would raise the cost significantly. Start by replacing the damaged outlet and see what happens after that.
tchaytor
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Apr, 2016 06:31 am
@engineer,
I replaced the "Faulty" outlet and it seems to be fine. When I pulled the outlet from the wall the screw that held in the white wire was not tight, I could pull the wire off without loosing the screw. I noticed the outlet itself has some damage from what looked like too much heat. I can only assume that the electrician forgot to tighten this screw causing an arc. I would attach pictures here but I don't know how..
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Apr, 2016 07:11 am
@tchaytor,
Congratulations on fixing it.
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Apr, 2016 07:25 am
Well done Engineer
0 Replies
 
tchaytor
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Apr, 2016 07:37 am
@engineer,
Thanks, still a bit worried about what would have caused the heat and damage.. I plugged in the hairdryer and ran it for 5mins not hot at all.. then dried my daughters hair for 10mins no heat.. weird! I'll be gradually checking my other outlets just to be safe..

Thanks for you help...
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Apr, 2016 08:03 am
@tchaytor,
I doubt it is a loose wire, but that could be it. I'd guess that the inside of the outlet got damaged (bent, something stuck in there) and it caused a short. You could bust open the old outlet if you still have it and are curious.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Apr, 2016 09:08 am
@tchaytor,
tchaytor wrote:

Thanks, still a bit worried about what would have caused the heat and damage.. I plugged in the hairdryer and ran it for 5mins not hot at all.. then dried my daughters hair for 10mins no heat.. weird! I'll be gradually checking my other outlets just to be safe..

Thanks for you help...

If the dryer runs but does not get hot, I would test the hair dryer itself in some other part of the house, just enough to see if it heats at all anymore.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Apr, 2016 03:47 pm
@tchaytor,
A screw that isn't tightened could case it to overheat under the right circumstances. It could act as an undersized wire when using something with a large electrical draw like a hair dryer.
0 Replies
 
LandonBin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Apr, 2016 02:51 am
@tchaytor,
I had no idea why none of the sockets in my bathroom was working anymore, and "Is an Unknown GFCI the Cause of an Outage" was a HUGE clue! As a lay person, I knew those black/red button thingies exist, but had no idea what they were even called. I went around the house to check out every one of those I can find, and the last one in the other bathroom was the culprit. Pushing the red button did it. Thanks a bunch for putting that info on the web!
0 Replies
 
 

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