Power Cord Warning

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(Preface) This morning I decided to do a little woodworking in my garage th at is attached to the house but only connected to the house on one side wal l. At -6F outside and 32.5F in the garage this morning when I got up, I de cided to preheat the garage to get it a few degrees above freezing. I pull ed out my trusty 1300 watt fan-helped floor electric heater, plugged it in and went about doing somwe other garage chores, and then did my woodworking .
When I was done, about 2 hours later, I turned off and unplugged the heater . To my surprise, the plug was warm, not hot, but definitely warm to the t ouch. I took a closer look and realized that the prongs of the plug were b adly tarnished/corroded. An even closer look showed that the insulation on the power cord itself was badly cracked and fallling off(from overheating maybe) for the first inch or so where it comes out of the plug.
Needless to say, I was thankful that nothing bad had happened. I could hav e gotten a shock from the power cord before the GFI for the garage circuits kicked out, or even a small fire if the cord had ignited some stray sawhus t laying around. I am normally quite safety sensitive, so this was a wake- up call to think about safety a little more than I have apparently been doi ng lately!!!
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Cords are fine if you use a larger gauge. The heater should have a tag with a FLA number. Get a cord that can handle it.
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On 1/24/2014 2:20 PM, Metspitzer wrote:

I made my own using 12/3 SO and industrial cord bodies. ^_^
TDD
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Per snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net:

I have had similar experiences (plural because I'm a slow learner) with long narrower-gauge extension cords and heaters.
The only 16-gauge that I have that still has it's tags on it says 1,350 watts max.
I feel more comfortable with 14-gauge and even have a couple of 10-gauge cords for use with my little generator.
--
Pete Cresswell

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Many years ago my teenage son was helping some rich guy clean out his garage. When I went to pick him up I saw a 25' 12 gauge extension cord - on a cord reel - on the pile of of "trash". I asked my son why it was being thrown out. "The guy said it was cut."
I took it home and found that it was cut about 8' from the receptacle end. I cut the section off, put a plug on the end of the 8' section and a receptacle on the end of the 17’ section and had 2 heavy duty expansion cords. The 8' section is something I use all the time and right now it's hooked up to a oil-filled space heater used to keep the garage a little warmer for the dogs.
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On 01/24/2014 04:44 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Yep.
One day my wife and I walked past the house of a friend of ours who has way too much money. She was taking stuff out of her house to make a trip to the dump. My wife spotted a beautiful chandelier that is now in our 115 year old house ...and it is just perfect.
When my wife spotted it, she asked if we could have it and she was told: "Sure, just one less piece of junk I need to haul!"
Amazing what people throw out.
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<stuff snipped>

I noticed a nearly brand new crosscut paper shredder on the curb the day before pickup and asked my neighbor what was wrong with it. "Jammed so I got a new one." Ten minutes with a pair of tweezers and some WD-40 and it was as good as new. I think it was the adhesive that some credit card companies glue their sample credit cards with that jammed it. Nicer than the one I bought. Has a window on the shredding bin and a CD cutter.
When I went to look for info on cleaning it, I found this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA_Shredder_Challenge_2011
<<DARPA Shredder Challenge 2011 was a prize competition for exploring methods to reconstruct documents shredded by a variety of paper shredding techniques. . . . The San Francisco-based team "All Your Shreds are Belong to U.S." won the competition 32 days after the competition went live, or 3 days ahead of schedule. The team used a combination of techniques to solve the puzzles: custom-coded computer-vision algorithm were created to suggest fragment pairings to human assemblers for verification>>
I'm betting that the NSA already has a automated reconstructor and sponsored the contest to see if they could buy some cheap consulting on improving their algorithms. (-:
--
Bobby G.



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I would love a heavy duty expansion cord. But I think I need your spell checker to get one.

Yes, it is. Not so amazing but for the record, most vacuum cleaners in the trash work fine if you pull the big clump of threads etc out of the internal pipe or the hose. I bought 12" tweezers, not knowing what I'd use them for, but they work well for this sometimes. Other things will work too.
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<stuff snipped>

It's great to be handy. (-: God only knows the amount of stuff that gets tossed because there's some trivial problem that could be easily fixed by someone with a little skill.
You can't imagine the number of computers that people I know were ready to scrap because a cooling fan started to screech. The interesting thing about PCs is that most non-technical people are dreadfully afraid of breaking something and when a drive or a fan begins to whine, they lose confidence in the computer completely and immediate want a new one.
I have a 100' cord for the snowblower that's got loads of splices in it from that pesky cord hiding in a snowdrift. Finally ordered so heavy-duty marine-grade adhesive-filled heat shrink tubing and the old soldering iron and fixed it "good as new" - well almost. I used to use electrical tape (too brittle in the cold) and then self-fusing rubber tape (which eventually got leaky) but the heat shrink with goo inside has been remarkably resilient and has stayed quite waterproof.
--
Bobby G.



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<When I was done, about 2 hours later, I turned off and unplugged the heater. To my surprise, the plug was warm, not hot, but definitely warm to the touch. I took a closer look and realized that the prongs of the plug were badly tarnished/corroded. An even closer look showed that the insulation on the power cord itself was badly cracked and falling off(from overheating maybe) for the first inch or so where it comes out of the plug.

Yow! I've had a similar experience with a space heater and it's why I often use two of them set to the low power settings warm a room. (Buying an extra unit is a lot cheaper than dealing with a fire.) I have also put the space heaters I use regularly on AFCI outlets in the hope that they will detect and interrupt the arcing that usually causes cords to melt (and worse) before it starts a fire. While most outlets are rated for 15A and some even 20A, I've found that pulling that much current often leads to the kind of problem you experienced.
When I used to run the workshop heater at 1500W I melted a powerstrip and a six way outlet whose internal "bus bar" was a thin piece of copper strip connected by a pop rivet. A stinking pop rivet that wasn't crimped tightly enough to even keep the two strips in good contact and that melted down from the current passing through it. That's when I decided to get a second space heater ($15 at TruValue) and distribute the load between two set at 750W.
Space heaters really test the integrity of your household wiring when running at full blast. The high current can cause arcing in poorly made wire nut connections and especially in back-stab outlets. In the workshop mine runs under an aluminum crate to keep it from getting knocked over or accidentally blocked. So far, so good.
The only issue I would have now if I were you would be whether I felt the need to remove and inspect the outlet. While they're made of much more heat-resistant materials, generally, there still may have been heat related damage to the outlet. Is there a clear point of arcing on the plug blades? That might tell you where to expect damage to the outlet's mating connector. If there's substantial pitting on the plug blades, I'd definitely pull the outlet.
Count your blessings, HR. These sorts of incidents can end up with severe consequences and their all-to-frequent occurrence is one reason the NEC will probably require AFCI breakers in all new construction eventually. From what I read when researching them, arc-fault fires are the last big category of adverse electrical events that's left to deal with in the code. We've come a long way from people burning down their houses by sticking pennies in screw-in fuse boxes.
--
Bobby G.



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On Fri, 24 Jan 2014 18:54:58 -0500, "Robert Green"

The few times I heat my garage I use a 4500 watt "construction heater" with a 30 amp monster 220 volt plug the size of a hockey pock, connected to a 10 ga extention cord.
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<stuff snipped>

That would be nice but I doubt I could find one for $16 at Tru-Value! (-:
When I switched home insurers the rep asked me a number of questions: did I own a dog, did I run a business out of my home and did I use a space heater were among the questions that stood out. I answered honestly that I used them - it didn't cause them to reject me but I'll bet it cost a few bucks more in the annual premium.
I'll bet thirty amps does the trick because 1000Ws (two units running at 500W each) doesn't quite do it - but it's better than nothing. With the nights getting down to 9F the basement is so cold soaked that I doubt anything short of 4500W would warm it. We just had a huge water main break half a mile away. While those pipes are supposed to be below the frost line, I'm sure the cold had something to do with it. Those tanks that polluted the drinking water in West VA ruptured because a small leak froze, or so I recall from reading the article.
--
Bobby G.



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On Sat, 25 Jan 2014 15:58:13 -0500, "Robert Green"

Picked mine up for $15 at a garage sale - had a non-standard 20 amp 220 volt plug on it. Cost me $18 for the plug to fit the line in the garage (also runs the compressor)

I figure if the furnace gave me touble I could keep the house reasonably comfortable with the 4500 as long as I could keep the furnace blower running. That's 15000 BTUs and my 35000 BTU furnace runs about 33% of the time in this really nasty cold weather. Just have to throw together an extention cord to run 15 feet from the drier plug to the furnace.. I've got lots of teck cable around that is plenty heavy enough - just need the connectors (about $50)
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wrote in message

(-:

That's quite a deal.

I

heater

break

froze,

It's always great to have backups. We had a water main break last week and you'd be surprised how many times I went to the faucet, turned the handle and then remembered "There's no water!" It was a good reminder to clean out and fill all the water containers around the house - just in case. The odd water or power outtage is a good reminder of how much we take for granted. (-:
FWIW, two of my neighbors had furnace failures in the middle of this extreme cold weather. It always pays to have spares/backups, especially for critical systems. One recent winter we lost electrical power for 4 days in the middle of a deep freeze. I was *very* happy to have a a gas water heater with a pilot light. Routed a garden hose from the basement sink up through the bedroom access panel and out to the bathtub. Kept it warm enough to make it liveable.I would have stayed elsewhere but the alarm system battery died (since replaced by a trolling battery for a boat that will run it for over two weeks) and I didn't want to leave the house unprotected. Besides, roughing it every now and then makes you appreciate what you have.
--
Bobby G.



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"Robert Green" wrote in message
outlet.
Count your blessings, HR. These sorts of incidents can end up with severe consequences and their all-to-frequent occurrence is one reason the NEC will probably require AFCI breakers in all new construction eventually. From what I read when researching them, arc-fault fires are the last big category of adverse electrical events that's left to deal with in the code. We've come a long way from people burning down their houses by sticking pennies in screw-in fuse boxes.
--
Bobby G.

When I worked for a electric utility company taking trouble calls. One call
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On 1/25/2014 1:01 AM, WW wrote:> > > When I worked for a electric utility company taking trouble calls. One > call tripping fused circuit. Room had been painted and when painter > replaced ceiling fixture he connected all the wires together. Total > short tripped fuse. I reconnected right way. and new fuse worked. > Whenever a call had fuses I remove all fuses to be sure no pennies were > there .On this box I found a Indian Head penny.If I recall it was a 1910 > marking. Asked customer how long they lived in this house. About 25 > years. Lucky they never had a shorted item on that circuit WW.
Mom's house had a fuse go bad, a couple days ago. I went and replaced a twenty amper. Didn't occur to me to check for pennies. Thank you, I've go to do that some day soon. Dad (RIP) would not have done that, but he'd also not have checked for pennies from the last people.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
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wrote:

and look at the money you might make!
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<stuff snipped>

pennies in

call

I had a similar problem. When I first moved here, the backyard light did not work and the sellers advised me of that. After I took ownership, I traced the wires back to a junction box in the basement that had been opened at the wire-nutted connections all left open. No combination of connections resulted in anything but a popped breaker. I believe the problem was a nail in the cable or some short between the junction box and the fixture but I never really solved it. I just ran new wire.

customer

Ubetcha. (-: That's why even thought modern circuit panels cost so much more than old style glass breaker panels, they're worth the expense. Gone are the days when you saw Indian head pennies in the occasional penny jar. I almost never see wheaties, either, anymore.
What would happen, I wonder, if there was a short? Fire in the wall? Melted wires?
--
Bobby G.



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MOST state right on them "to be connected to wall receptacles only"
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Well, the heater cord has already been replaced by a new cord that I had in my shop, sufficiently heavy to do the job with no heating. The heater cor d was not plugged into an extension cord.
The wall outlet is fine, it was the cruddy plug blades that caused the heat ing. The wall outlet will be checked carefully after the temperatures get above the minus numbers we are having in the Chicago suburbs for the next 6 days. In the meantime, I am using a whole different outlet on the same GF I for the heater.
Appreciate all the polite comments.
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