View Full Version : Help Fire Sparkky!!

12-20-2004, 09:23 PM
I just avoided a house fire. I replaced a gcfi outlet in my garage yesterday. Tonight I walked out to the garage and smelled something hot. I followed my nose and realized the new gfci was smoking and molten hot. I quickly kicked the breaker and and pulled the outlet out. The hot wire leading to it was smoldering and one side of the gfci was literally molten. Anyone know anything about these!!! Any help would be appreciated as I'd hate to have my house burst into flames.

Thanks Sean

Rain Man
12-20-2004, 11:07 PM
This is kind of obvious, but I would recommend hiring an electrician next time around.

Other than that, I'm no help at all.

12-20-2004, 11:44 PM
was anything plugged into it?
when you replaced it, how many pairs of black and white wires were there?
did you put the white wire on the silver/steel colored screw and the black on the brass colored screw?
GFI receptacles have 2 sets of screws, an incoming and an outgoing, or line and load.
what else is on the circuit "downstream" from the GFI?
what size fuse/circuit breaker feeds it?
I have seen them just get hot and burn up for no reason.
I'll check back in here tommorrow nite.

12-21-2004, 09:35 AM

Yes It was wired correctly. I've figured out I was pulling too much of a load through it. The garage circuit also is the circuit that runs outdoor recepts.
So we esentially had all of my xmas lights and griswoldian display, keggerator ,deepfreeze, and two 1500 watt electrical heaters running through a 15a gcfi. I had replaced the breaker to a 25a this last summer because it would kick every time I started the table saw. Never the less I unplugged the heaters, replaced the gcfi with a 20a mainline outlet, and tonight I will run a new seperate circuit for the garage heaters and Table saw circuit.

Thanks for the reply, Once I realized everything that was pulling throught that circuit it was clear. Do you think I should replace the gcfi with a larger amp cgfi outlet or change the breaker to a gcfi breaker... Besides splitting the circuit in the garage to two breakers.

Thanks Sean

Radar Chief
12-21-2004, 09:40 AM
This brings up a really good point.
Wal-Mart has fire extinguishers for $10. Thatís cheap insurance.

12-21-2004, 09:38 PM
I would FOR SURE split/add circuits. Fuses/breakers are sized to protect the wire/insulation from overheating due to load.
Alot of newer houses use alot of #14AWG wiring which should be fused at 15 amps. #12AWG fused at 20 amps and #10 fused at 30 amps.
Increasing the fuse/breaker size without increasing the wire size will often solve the "tripping/blowing" problem but create one MUCH worse.
Heaters are a killer for power consumed. A 1500 watt heater uses about 12 amps. If its a 15 amp circuit it's pretty much shot. Even on a 20 amp it leaves very little left over for anything else.
Rule of thumb, we don't load a 20amp ciruit over 17 amps. And that's pushing it.
Merry Christmas "Clark"!!! LOL
PS: yes, I always use 20 amp plugs, switches and GFI's.

12-22-2004, 12:33 AM
Thanks Sparks,
I split the circuit and added a 20 a gcfi to the original circuit. I pulled a new line for the power tools/heaters (never at the same time). I changed the 25 back to a 15a breaker and the new line is the 25 a with three wire flex conduit(metal) and two 20a outlets. I'll keep an eye on the new circuit and will add a 20a switch to the power equip. after the holidays. I'm looking for a locking switch or box so I can leave all the tools plugged in but keep the kids from hurting themselves.

Thanks again.