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House Fire

Last night, my wife reported hearing a buzzing noise, but I couldn’t find anything. This morning while enjoying our quarantine breakfast, we smelled burning plastic. Smelled electrical to me. I began looking around, and poked at an electrical outlet. That is when flames shot out of the wall. The fire is out, and there is some electrical work that needs to be done. Not much damage, and everyone is OK.

Good thing we were quarantined at home to catch it while it was small. Had we been at work, the fire could have been bad.

4 replies on “House Fire”

Holy Crap! And you had nothing plugged to it? What could have caused the short?

Not sure. There was other stuff on the same circuit. We are going to do some rewiring. I have a contractor coming out on Thursday to give us an estimate.

While this was wired to meet the National Electrical Code, it is still a terrible way to install electrical outlets. The way your outlet was wired is that ALL of the downstream outlets current draw is going through your crispy outlet. The nasty side effect of wiring outlets this way is that if you have a problem with one outlet, them all of the downstream outlets get FUBARed.

The proper way to wire outlets is to install pigtails so that current for downstream outlets goes through the pigtail connection and not through the outlet. The outlet is, so to speak, off to the side and out of the main roadway.

As terrible as your outlet installation is, it still could have been worse. Imagine your outlet being wired the way it is but instead of using the side screws they used the notorious “back stab” holes in the back of the outlet. These back holes are notorious for the internal spring to lose its springiness over time and the wire connection becomes wonky. Again, all of the downstream outlets get FUBARed.

More good news; all of the other outlets in your house were wired the same way.

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