New apartment, electrical outlet blew out 3 fans.

Page 1 of 2  
So I just moved into this new place and I have a problematic outlet. I have pluged three fans into it and all three are busted. The first 2 I immediately heard a clicking noise and then the fan wouldn't work at all anymore. Then My fiance called the fix it guy next door and he came over and they plugged a third fan in. It worked... Then after the guy left (of course) the same clicking noise happened and the fan started smoking. Any Idea on what sort of problem with the outlet could cause this?
PS aparently the people who lived here before me wouldn't plug anything in there cause it would blow out the lamp.
thanks to anyone who can give me an Idea as to what to look for when I bring someone in to fix it... or is it something I can do myself.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Is it near a window and has a pattern like this: (|- |)? If so it could be 220v
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's not a 220V pattern -- that's 120V 20A.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 02 Jul 2009 22:46:23 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

It sounds like someone changed a 220V receptacle to a 120V. A voltage tester would tell you in a second if this is the problem.
Actually building maintenance should be the one checking.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Jul 2, 5:46 pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Perhaps, but I've seen it wires as 220v more than once where a window A/C unit lived.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Take a look at the chart here: http://www.generatorjoe.net/html/web/outlet/quailplug.html
I suspect that you've been looking at 6-20R without realizing what it was.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Jul 2, 9:47 pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

What i' saying is I've seen 520R wired for 220 volt. That may be in violation of every code, but it still happens & more often than you might imagine, especially in older buildings.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote in wrote:

Nice chart. Thanks.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 03 Jul 2009 02:47:19 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

How do you plug a 120V fan (1-15P or 5-15P) into a 6-20R?
BTW, I notice how those charts always have a certain omission. What does the 2-15P plug into?
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.us
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I never suggested that the OP had a 6-20R. Do try to keep up.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mark Lloyd wrote: ...

6-15R -- the load doesn't require the ground for any application that would use the 2-15P.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sounds like a 120V outlet somehow got 240V supplied to it. You can confirm this with a voltmeter, if you know how to use one.

Apartment = you don't own it = not yours to fix. Call the landlord. This could be a simple case of an idiot having wired a 120V outlet to a 240V circuit, or it could be a complicated issue involving improper connections between two circuits. A qualified electrician needs to be called in for diagnosis and repair; this is the landlord's responsibility, not the tenant's.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Your fix it guy could start by testing the outlet voltage with something other than appliances, possibly a volt meter
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
RBM wrote:

Think???? :)
LOL...
--
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

.
Thanks to all who helped and here's the answer... the neutral is receiving power. Thus it blows out any and all normal appliances that go in it. Until I can get someone to fix it I'm just gonna fill it with those baby proof socket fillers.
Thanks again you all rock.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
flips333 wrote: ...

What you mean by "the neutral is receiving power", kemo sabe?
If it was just reversed hot/neutral that wouldn't make any difference; think unpolarized cord plugs. (It ain't right and should be corrected, but that won't cause the problem described).
If neutral _AND_ hot are hot and not same supply side, that's a 240V circuit and that certainly _WILL_ blow a 110V appliance.
Sounds like the same "handyman", maybe???? :)
--
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

...
When my friend lived in base housing there was a dedicated 120 VAC 20 amp circuit beneath a window so you could install a window AC unit. Someone connected the neutral to the to the hot bus so they would have 240 for a larger unit. His wife found out about it when she plugged in a christmas tree.
Jimmie
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I have been suspecting that kind of thing is at work, here. A qualified person should test the outlet with a VOM, and see if it's 120 VAC or 240 VAC.
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

When my friend lived in base housing there was a dedicated 120 VAC 20 amp circuit beneath a window so you could install a window AC unit. Someone connected the neutral to the to the hot bus so they would have 240 for a larger unit. His wife found out about it when she plugged in a christmas tree.
Jimmie
Whoever reconnected the wiring for 240 volts, should have replaced the receptacle, as no 240 volt appliance will fit in a 120 volt receptacle. This is very possibly the same scenario as the OP
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
JIMMIE wrote:

<SNIP to here>

That does not sound to me like a "dedicated 120 VAC" circuit, but a 240V one for 240V air conditioners. Better hope the outlet is one designed for 240V and made to accept plugs of 240V window air conditioners and to reject plugs of 120V applicances.
In a "USA-usual" 240V circuit, the two conductors other than the "grounding conductor" are both "hot" and both "live" to extent of 120 volts.
A USA-usual 120V circuit differs from the 240V one by having between the 2 conductors other than "grounding conductor", one is "hot" ("ungrounded conductor") and the other is "neutral" ("grounded conductor").
You should know the mutual concepts of "hot-neutral-ground", "ungrounded-grounded-grounding", "black-white-green/bare" as well as preferably good multimeter/voltmeter usage practice for USA-usual 120V circuits and occaisional (all-too-common) errors therein.
This is what you should know, along with what various various-amp-rating 120V and 240V residental outlets look like and should have looked like 30-50 years ago, along with some knowledge of existence of both 120V and 240V residential window air conditioning units and the cords and plugs that they had and the receptacles that they plugged into.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.