So after a few months, I finally
got around to taking care of this at my friend & across-the-hall neighbor's apartment:
The cover plate was being held onto the socket using a WOOD screw. Polarity was also reversed and one of the terminals was kind of loose.
The curious cats that also live in that apartment are lucky the plate never fell off.
In the meantime to keep their nosy faces out of the hole, my friend had covered the damaged section of the receptacle up with one of those "child protection" plastic covers you stick into the socket.
In the meantime, while I worked on this I had plugged a lamp into the NEMA 5-20 socket for the air conditioner (on a different circuit).
Later after I was done with the socket in the picture, I went to flip that 5-20 socket around becasue it had been installed ground up and air-conditioner's cord was exiting out the top of the plug (so it was kinked at an angle).
Here's a list of what I found wrong:
- Loose terminal screws.
- Wires wrapped counterclockwise
around terminal screws (so when you tightened the screws, the wires slipped right off)
- No electrical tape wrapped around the device. It was fitted into a "gem box" so the terminals of the device were very close to the sides of the box. The device was loose in the box, so it could potentially have shifted and come in contact with the box.
And to make it worse: These new 5-20 air conditioner circuits had been installed by a NEW YORK CITY LICENCED electrical contractor only a few years ago!!!!!
I made it right. In fact, I had to do the same thing (re-do the connections and wrap the sucker up) to the 5-20 sockets in my own apartment when I moved into my own apartment almost three years ago.
I can excuse a terminal screw coming loose, or device fixing screws coming loose because of use. But wrapping the wires around the wrong way on the screw just reeks of carelessness in my humble opinion.