Bad smell - electrical?

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Hi,
I posted yesterday about a bad smell in our bedroom that we have not been able to figure out. I thought it was a mouse in the wall until this morning when I discovered the smell was coming from an electrical outlet. Upon investigation the two power strips plugged into that outlet were extremely hot near the plug. When I pulled them out and touched the plug I burnt my finger. So there seems to be a big problem with that outlet. We weren't running anything big off of this outlet - clock radio, small bedroom lamps.
Looks like we were heading for a fire if I hadn't found this.
Could bad wiring cause this kind of smell? It smelled like a dead animal. I guess I'll find out if it goes away now that I unplugged everything.
Thanks for any info, Steve
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You should not wait, turn off the circuit , remove the outlet and find what is wrong, it could very well still be shorting, it could be the strips or what was pluged into them. Sure it could cause a fire, you probably were not far off. If you dont know what you are doing get in a pro, dont guess on this one.
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I had the electrician in this morning. Nice of him to come on such short notice on a Saturday!
The outlet was shot. He replaced it and its running fine. No problems at all and that sickening smell is gone, gone, gone!!!!
It was pretty fried looking. We're lucky we didn't have a fire. It continued to stay hot after I removed the plugs so obviously it was bad.
Thanks for the feedback on this one.
Steve
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I know you think you aren't "running anything big", but TWO power strips off of one outlet is just asking for trouble......
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Then it might be something as simple as the wires are not making good contact to the outlet. May be loose screws or the dreaded "push-in" connections. Also, depending on the year that the house was built (early to mid 70s), look for aluminum wire; it is notorious for bad connections. Also, it could be a bad plug on one of the outlet strips. Either way, it should be checked out.
Red Neckerson wrote:

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Let's see, a 60W lamp is about 1.8A , clock radio maybe another amp. If the receptical can't handle 4 or 6 amps divided by two stips, thee is a problem.
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wrote in message

I understand, and there probably is something wrong with the outlet, but like I said: Plugging two power strips into one outlet is asking for trouble. He is powering more than just a lamp and a clock radio. Why in the hell would he had 2 power strips, then?
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First of all, a 60 watt lamp is about 1/2 amp. Any modern clock radio probably draw WAY less than an amp. There are many small things in a bedroom that usually are very small loads, individually. Just by my bed I have 2 X10 controllers, 2 electric bed warmers, 2 clocks, 2 lamps and the occational heating pad and small window fan. All of these if on might add up to 3 or 4 amps, if they are all on at the same time. But the point is, there are lots of plugs, fairly small load. Even a small load like 1 amp with a high resistance bad connection, could produce 10 or 20 watts of heating concentrated right at the bad connection. Look for the bad connection.
Red Neckerson wrote:

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How many amps does your wife's Bulldog use?
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Same areason I have two strips. The receptial is behind the bed. The lamps on either nighstand will not reac without a short extension. A powerwstrip going in each direction solves the problme. My side has a clock radio and a 60W lamp in it. On the other side is a lamp and a 9V power adapter for a telephone caller ID.
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wrote in message

aHA! I SEE said the blind man......
;-]
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<< the two power strips plugged into that outlet were extremely hot near the plug. >>
If your electrical loads on those strips were indeed modest, they may be faulty. Test them with similar loads in some other easily monitored location. If the heating reoccurs they should be discarded. But if they were mine they'd be in the trash right now.
<< there seems to be a big problem with that outlet. >>
Plan on replacing the outlet, and don't buy a 39 cent bargain type. The $2 types (or better) have much more robust contacts which will carry rated current without overheating. The smell that you noted could arise from the outlet contacts overheating and causing decomposition of the molded plastic body, possibly a urea-formaldehyde composition. If your house has many cheap outlets like this, consider replacing all of them for safety reasons. Good luck.
Joe
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (njsteve) wrote:

While a little off topic, this reminds me of an issue My mom had a few months ago...
She started smelling something bad in her kitchen... she looked and looked, and finally zeroed in on one lower cabinet, but nothing was visible there as being the source.
She had her friend over one day, and he pulled up the back of the cabinet floor and using a flashlight and mirror found a dead mouse.
When he reached in to pull it out with a pair of old metal tongs, he got bad electric shock.
To make a long story short, when she had her kitchen remodeled 25 years ago, some clown ran the wiring for the dishwasher and disposal just loose and unprotected down there. It looked like mice had been eating the insulation years as little of it was left... it appeared the dead mouse was electrocuted, and looked to have been very hot for a while.
I think she was lucky. I like the idea of conduit more and more these days...
Erik
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This is why I'm an advocate of armored BX cable. It should be mandated by law. I won't allow Romex in my house.
-- Take care,
Mark & Mary Ann Weiss
VIDEO PRODUCTION FILM SCANNING DVD MASTERING AUDIO RESTORATION Hear my Kurzweil Creations at: http://www.dv-clips.com/theater.htm Business sites at: www.dv-clips.com www.mwcomms.com www.adventuresinanimemusic.com -
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I feel the same way, not to mention it is code in my area.<G> I've found flexible metal conduit, and pulled wires much easier to work with than armored (BX) cable.
In many cases, I'm able to run a single wire(s), through the flex and emt and boxes, with no splices along the way.
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Erik posted for all of us....

wouldn't be around anymore.
--
Tekkie

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On 30 Oct 2004 06:23:35 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (njsteve) wrote:

A failed autovent smells like a dead animal. It also moves the smell through holes like electrical boxes. Are you SURE you don't have an autovent in that wall????
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snipped-for-privacy@think.com.
duh he said he Burnt his finger and the strips were real hot, duh. Read the post again.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (njsteve) wrote:

You may have unplugged everything from that outlet, but if the wiring for some high amperage device/s just passes through that box on it's way somewhere else, you could still have a dangerous situation.
By whatever means, you need to positively find and correct that problem immediately. I wouldn't leave that circuit energized and unsupervised until then. I'd turn off the breaker (or pull the fuse) feeding the circuit in the mean time.
Nothing in the wall should be warm, hot or smell...
Good Luck!
Erik
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