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Eddie, Home Improvement Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 882
Experience:  owner of Island Pro-Craft
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Yikes! Friend noticed a spark at an unused outlet. After turning

Customer Question

Yikes! Friend noticed a spark at an unused outlet. After turning off power at main breaker, and removing faceplate... Top outlet came right off with cover... Burnt on inside. Outlet also was upside down in box. Wires were connected as follows.... Top left terminal -rear wired(pushed in from back)WHITE WIRE 'assumed neutral'. **Bottom left terminal- rear wired BLACK WIRE 'assumed hot' & side wired(looped around screw)BLACK WIRE 'assumed hot'.** these two black wires are connected to the same terminal** Top right terminal-rear wired WHITE WIRE'assumed neutral'. Bottom right terminal-rear wired WHITE WIRE'assumed neutral'. *There is also a free floating single (ground) BARE WIRE. I am just wanting to put in a regular non gfci outlet in place of the shorted out one. However this wiring kinda threw me off. Does this mean that at some point someone put an extra neutral for a switch or something? Can I just wire the new outlet the same as the old one? Attaching the ground to its proper place of coarse. Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Eddie replied 1 year ago.
Hi ................if you could upload a picture of the old outlet it would help immensely said it was upside down so I don't know how you gave it to me ..........the silver lugs are for the neutral side and the gold is for the hot black wire could be that this was wired for a switch for a lamp..........we would have to see if the bar is snapped off from top to bottom so if you could give me a side view picture of the outlet you know if there is a switch in the room for it ?Thankseddie
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well to be honest there was not much to take a picture of. The outlet quite literally came out in 5 or 6 pieces as soon as I removed the screws that hold it in the box(which were painted over I don't even know how many times) I drew a diagram and marked all the wires and where they came from on the diagram. And also took note of what was left of the plastic back piece of outlet.Sorry I forgot to mention that the wires are in order when you are looking at the face of the plug, when the ground is on top of the two prong is a pic of new outlet with where the wires were located on the broken one. The two white wires on the same side, are side of the outlet with the silver screws, not the brass. I also know this is an inbetween outlet within the circuit, but when it sparked it didn't affect anything else that we could notice.I know there is a switch that goes to another plug on the same wall further down, it just doesn't go to this particular plug that I am aware of.
Expert:  Eddie replied 1 year ago.
hi sparked because the outlet shattered ............I think this was used as a switch outlet too .............which if you haven't used don't need it don't have to hook it back up that cable of a black and white wire I would cap and lay back in the box never know if you'll want to use it as a switch again someday ...................the two black wires that were together on one gold lug put on both of them now and put the neutrals back the way they were.............after hooking this up and before putting it back in the box.........go around and make sure everything is operating the way it was Thanks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay so the white neutral wire that was on the same side as the 2 black wires, I should cap, and tuck? While the other 2 neutral wires I should put back on the side that says "white wires go here" in there respectful order? Correct? should I connect the ground to the green screw or just tuck and leave it how it was, floating in the box.
Expert:  Eddie replied 1 year ago.
yes to the white neutral and it's black wire with that cable on the same side as blacks..........................yes cap and tuck..........................yes two other doesn't matter which lugs.............the ground wires should be twisted together and then attached to the green outlet lug
Expert:  Eddie replied 1 year ago.
I hope I have been of some help and you would consider a good ratingThankseddie
Expert:  Eddie replied 1 year ago.
I hope you found my answers to your questions helpful and of sound value and would consider a positive rating so I may receive credit for my help. I'm very passionate and proud of my work here and the positive ratings given by clients like you!Thankseddie