Section of house losing power

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On Wed, 21 Jan 2009 19:41:33 -0500, "Twayne"
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    What are you talking about. The suggested action is likely to correct the existing problem safely and totally.
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It's pretty hard to melt a nightlight, short circuited or not, so something doesn't sound right from the git-go. If you've located the presence of previous serious over-heating though, it's entirely possible the wiring insulation is compromised and who knows what all else is going on inside the boxes and their wires? Whoever claimed it was a nightlight caused that problem, IMO, lied to you. Somethign else may have melted the nightlight, but I doubt the nightlight was the offending component. Have the wiring checked by a licensed electrician and make sure you don't have a fire hazard there. If you want to look into it yourself and are confident you can do so safely, think about it first: Your questions/comments don't sound like you have the experience it takes to grab hold of 120Vac safely. Anyway, first things I'd do is: -- Kill the breaker to it; stop using it until it's repaired. It could be a dangerous situation (as in fire, not necessarily shock, though that's also possible of course).. -- What current is the outlet rated for? The feeding ckt brkr/fuse? Wire size appropriate? -- Any evidence of arccing anywhere? Inside the boxes? At the wire connections? If outlets are stab types, that's a good place to start replacing things. -- You'll probably have to inspect the wiring from the panel to the outlets and on to wherever else they go to. I'd say you can't depend on anyone's word in this; the entire ckt needs to be checked out or perhaps parts of it abandoned if you can't pull enough to get access to the actual wires. Insulation problems will usually be near a box though, and easy to spot. Question is, which box?
HTH,
Twayne
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On Wed, 21 Jan 2009 19:37:23 -0500, "Twayne"

be at a connection. It WILL be either AWG14 or AWG12 wire, and the receptacle (outlet) WILL be rated for 15 amps.. If it is a 20 amp outlet it will have different blade orientation.
The chances of insulation damage outside the box with no damage inside the box (due to heat, not mechanical damage) are so slim as to be virtually non-existant.

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Very likely. Hopefully they are all exposed and available. DIY could be anything though.
It WILL be either AWG14

You don't know that; that's what it SHOULD be. And occasionally some 10.
and the receptacle (outlet) WILL be rated

You can't know that. Your'e not there.
If it is a 20 amp outlet it will have

==INto which a 15A will still plug just fine. ==And which does not mean 12 wire, or even a 20A breaker. It could be 14 wire, and I've seen a few 30 Amps where 15's belonged, one right here in my own home when we moved in, in fact, in addition a flooring nail thru an insulation right at the staple point. == And there is no guarantee a 20A or more appliance still has a 20A connector on its cord.

Usually; unless it's encountered a run of 14 ga along the way where it needed to be 12. in that case a full draw near popping the breaker (of unkown amperage) can indeed melt and otherwise compromise the insulation.
Never, EVER depend on code to represent what one will find in any home they did not have wired, or wired themselves, and had inspected. Any inspection only speaks for what it WAS, not what it IS. When you buy a home, you're also buying whatever the last owner may have done to/with it. And never take anyone's word for anything; they may just not know any different.
I once even found a 26ga twisted pair solid wire used to provide an extension for the last foot of a run inside a wall for an added outlet where they couldn't pull the wires far enough to reach the new position. They spliced it at the old location, soldered & taped it, then plastered it closed & painted it. They matched the pain perfectly but couldn't be bothered to get the proper wire for the job, or care about codes. Lots of people are similar to them but hopefully not quite that ignorant of reality.
No: I'm not a contractor, lawyer, insurance agent or electrician. Just a diy'er who knows the code & helps people out since being forced into retirement for health reasons. But, like the condition of wiring in any home, I'm nost exposing what I WAS or even which union I was in<g>.
Twayne
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