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You will get some residual heat through the element which will warm up the wire a little. The brown brittle insulation is quite common and your right that is actually due to a poor/loose connection. A poor/loose connection does increase resistance which leads to heat I allways cut off the burned portion of wire and installed a new connector. If its a real bad connection the the wire will melt off right at the end of the connector and fuse to the element. So replace it know before you have a real problem. Hope this helps if you need further assistance let me know or press the accept button and leave a comment. thanks, Tim
Thank you Tim. Your response was in line with what I was hoping, but since was a potential safety issue, I wanted some 'expert' advice on the matter. I will replace the electrical connectors on the 'old' element and test again.