Anonymous asked in Home & GardenMaintenance & Repairs · 9 years ago

Hot electrical outlet?

I recently installed a air conditioner (window unit) in the addition of my home. It is plugged in to it's own outlet and is not being shared with any other appliances. The outlet tends to get hot when the air conditioner has run for any long period of time, which I can understand. However, there is another outlet approximately 6 feet away, also in the addition, that also gets hot when the air conditioner has run for any long period of time. The only thing that is plugged in to this outlet is my TV. The outlet cools down once the air conditioner has stopped running. Is it normal for this to happen? It is not vibrating (which I know is a sign of arching), it just gets hot when the AC has run for a while. None of the other outlets in this room do this but I am thinking since the 2 outlets are so close to each other this is why this is happening but I just want to be sure. Just to be clear it has been very hot where I live so there are times during the day where the air conditioner may run for over an hour without shutting off. If the air conditioner just runs for 10-15 minutes all seems fine, just seems to be when it has run for an extended period.


Thank you for the information. Sorry, I should have added the fact that they share the same circuit. It is definitely noticeably warm. I contacted my landlord and he said it is normal and not worry but I can't help to be concerned. It is not so hot that it is unbearable to touch but I would not want to keep my hand on it for any more than a few seconds.

Update 2:

Side note: I had a situation a few years back with a different outlet in this same room. It was not being used by any appliances but it would get hot and vibrate when the space heater on the opposite side of room would run. It did end up being loose wiring and it was arching so we replaced all the outlets in this room. I guess I am hoping that since this outlet is only getting hot and not vibrating that all will be ok.

Update 3:

The addition is wired to a 15 AMP circuit breaker. In this room I have the AC, TV, cable box and a lamp. The AC is labled to use 8.5 AMPS. It is a 110 V 10,000 BTU unit. I can understand if the outlet that the AC itself is plugged into gets hot after running for any extended period but my concern is that the other outlet that TV is plugged into also gets hot when the AC has run for an extended period.

Update 4:

To avoid any problems, till I can talk SOMEONE into looking at it, I decided to unplug the TV and plug it into a different outlet. The other outlet that I was going to use has the cable box plugged into it which is also hot. Again, all on the same circuit, all in the same room. The other outlets in this room, which are also on the same circuit but further away from the outlet the AC is plugged into, feel normal to me. So, I am going to plug the TV right back to where it was so I don't have more than one thing plugged into a single outlet.

6 Answers

  • Wired
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The outlets should not be getting hot (no this is not normal). That indicates some resistance in the connection. You either have a loose connection to the outlet (such as a wire stabbed into the back of the outlet instead of using the screw terminals) or the air conditioner is not making good connection to the outlet. The outlet for the TV is most likely getting hot because of a loose connection to the outlet itself and the air conditioner is drawing quite a bit of current through this connection. I would simply replace both outlets (only a couple dollars each) and make sure the wires are connected tightly under the screw heads.

  • KMA
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    Power coming into the room probably starts at the "TV" outlet and then runs from there to the A/C outlet. From there to the others.This is why some get hot and some don't. Also, I'd bet that the wires are not "pig tailed" at the outlets. This means that they are part OF the circuit as opposed to being ON the circuit. Replacing the outlet(s) using the same wiring method would not improve the situation.

    By "pig tail" I mean the following. Remove all wires from the outlet. Strip about 3/4" on each wire and on a piece about 8" long. Put all the hots (blacks typically) together with a short black added in with them. Do the same with the neutral wires. The ground is already "pig tailed". Now you will have one black , one white and one ground attached to the outlet. Wrap the wires clock wise around the appropriate screw. Do not put them in the little push in holes in the back if available. Now that outlet won't get hot any more. Check the wiring at the A/C and do the same if necessary. While you're at it go ahead and do any and all outlets in the house so as to avoid future problems. Now the outlets are no longer being used to pass current too the next outlet.

    Nuts, I know what I mean but I'm not sure I"m describing it well!

    Maybe a "How to"book (with pictures) from a building supply store is in order.

    Oh, by the way tell the (expletive deleted) Landlord this is NOT normal OR safe. If necessary call Building and Zoning and let them direct you accordingly. The term "Minimum Housing Code Violation will come up.

    THAT will get the "Landlords" attention!

    Good luck!

    Source(s): a licensed electrican (and one time "Landlord")
  • 9 years ago

    The second outlet is on the same circuit as the A/C outlet. If the two can work together for and extended period of time without throwing the circuit breaker, then the situation should be safe. That being said, and A/C uses a lot of electricity, so if the wires are the least bit loose where they attach to the socket, heat will be the result. As soon as you can, you should get an experienced handyman or an electrician to look at both outlets and tighten all the screws where wires are attached to the sockets.

    Source(s): Home handyman
  • Jeff D
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Just because they're different outlets doesn't mean they're on different circuits. The fact that they're close together and both get hot when you run the A/C suggests that they are on the same circuit. The power is probably flowing through the TV outlet to the A/C outlet.

    Air conditioners can draw a lot of power and so it's not unusual for the wiring to warm up. Now you used the word 'hot' which might mean different things to different people: hot as in noticeably warm or hot as in you can't bear to touch it for more than a few seconds? If the latter, you might want to have an electrician look at it.

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  • baty
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Aircon Outlet

  • RedNek
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    Does the outlet have one tall slot, one shorter slot, and then the ground? That's a sure sign that it is a 20amp outlet. If it's a 15amp outlet the A/C unit is probably pulling pretty close to 15amps. Mine pulls 13.6 amps! If the A/C is pulling real close to the rating for the outlet, then yes that will cause the outlet to heat up. And it's probably on a 15amp circuit, should be on a 20amp circuit with an outlet that's rated to carry 20amps, it won't get hot then. It'll also be safer and the A/C won't have to 'pull' enough power cause it'll be supplied with enough power. If it is on a 20amp circuit, let the plug cool off, and bend the prongs outward just a little, it'll make better contact inside the outlet and won't get near as hot.

    Source(s): Professional RedNeck
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