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Plug & Socket HOT - Why?



OK, I know just enough about electricity to be dangerous, but this one
has me stumped.

Today I had an oil convection electric heater (1500W) turned on in the
bathroom to heat up the room before taking a shower, and when I
unplugged it, I noticed the prongs of the plug were HOT. Probably like
175F hot...almost too hot to touch. Then I put my hand on the socket
and that was hot, too.

Yet the cord to the heater wasn't even warm.

If the heater uses 1500W I assume that at 125V my load is about 12A...right?

It's an old house but the wiring is modern Romex.
None of this matters. The prongs are hot because there is a bad
connection between the prongs and the receptacle slots., or possibly
between the wires in the walls and the receptacle.** If they're not
loose, put in a new receptacle.

In 1980, I lived ina building in Brooklyn built in 1930. The heat was
broken iirc and I was using a heater in my little bedroom ( I had 6
rooms but slept in what was intended to be the maids room.

Something woke me in the morning, and I looked at the foot of the bed
and a foot to the right to see 1 or 2 inch flames coming from the
plug! I didn't know what to do, but my reflex was to unplug it.
Each time I reached for the cord, the girl next to me would pull my
arm back. I guess she was scared. I reached again, and she pulled my
arm back again. At least three times before I overpowered her.

It was like a comedy movie. I think she yelled a little too, in fear.
I'm glad I was stronger than she was.

The fire went out as soon as I pulled the plug from the wall. it was
either hard rubber or bakelite that was burning. There was nothing
flammable within a foot of the plug, except maybe if pieces fell off
the synthetic carpet could have burnt.

The plug was normal but the receptacle was 50 years old. Actually,
it wasn't even a twin outlet, only one outlet in the center.

(You guys know I don't talk about girls, but this was so on point.)

Another thing one can sometimes do is, with prongs that are folded
back, carefully so you don't cut your self, put a knife in between the
two layers, and spread them apart so they are springy themselves to
make up fo for the receptacle slot parts. But this isn't the
problme in this case, I'm positive.

** in theory between the prongs and the wires they are connected to,
but that couldnt be it. The heat woudn't make it to the part of the
prongs that show.)


Why would the prongs of the plug and the socket get so hot? Resistance
in the plug? (The plug APPEARS undamaged, and we always pull it out by
grabbing the plug, not the wire).

Should I put a new plug onto the cord?

Is it likely there was resistance or a bad connection in the socket?

Thanks for any clues.
Following up on another poster, first determine if the problem lies with the
plug or the socket. Power the heater from another socket far away. If the
plug still gets hot, you've got a plug problem; if not, you've got a socket
problem.

(It IS possible, too, that you've got BOTH a plug problem AND a socket
problem.)
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
me know if you have posted also.
As noted, the wires to the outlet (in the wall) may not be making good
connections with the outlet (don't use a push in connector, use only the
screw down type. It is also possible that the plug is not making good
contact with the outlet. For both of these I suggest replacing the outlet
with a commercial grade outlet (cost maybe $2.00 more than the cheap
residential grade that is likely there now).

It is also possible that it is just normal. However I would replace the
outlet, in fact I have replace all my outlets that have heavy loads on them.

I would question about putting a new plug on the wire. Is the current
one molded on? The replacement may not be a good as the original. On the
other hand replacing the entire cord with a new high quality cord is a
possibility.