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Damaged outlets #94916 08/19/05 09:41 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 3
ghill Offline OP
Junior Member
My company maintains over 4000 military homes on a prominanate installation and many others on other installations.

Recently some housing inspectors that have no electrical training have decided that if an occupant wiggles their electrical plug when they are extracting it from an outlet and breaks the tiny piece of plastic that is immediately adjacent to the grounding slot on the outlet that the outlet must be replaced. The damage is extremely minor and is not normally even noticed unless one examines it closely. I'm hoping that many of you have seen just how small this damage is and can help me as I struggle with this issue. The NEC Code that probably applies is:

NEC 110.12 (C), page 70-34, which states the following:

"Integrity of Electrical Equipment and Connection.
Internal parts of electrical equipment, including busbars, wiring terminals, insulators, and other surfaces, shall not be damaged or contaminated by foreign materials such as paint, plaster, cleaners, abrasives, or corrosive residues. There shall be no damaged parts that may adversely affect safe operations or mechanical strength of the equipment such s parts that are broken; bent; cut; or deteriorated by corrosion, chemical action, or overheating."

As it pertains to the first sentence, this damage is not internal, and as it pertains to the last sentence it does not adversely effect safe operations or mechanical strength. In that it poses no safety hazard I submit that the replacement of these outlets, often new ones, is unnessary and the money spent for this could be better spent on other safety issues. I would appreciate your thoughts.

2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides
Re: Damaged outlets #94917 08/19/05 10:27 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 693
Larry Fine Offline
My first thoughts agree with yours: there is no danger.

My second thoughts are that, if I'm getting paid, no problem.

Larry Fine
Fine Electric Co.
Re: Damaged outlets #94918 08/19/05 09:34 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 27
William Runkle Offline
I agree with Larry. So who do you charge for this? And is it like a Thousand Dollar toliet seat cost since it is a military complex possible big bucks and any questions blame the inspectors.

William Runkle
Re: Damaged outlets #94919 08/20/05 02:21 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 315
luckyshadow Offline
I agree there is no real danger. I might even find one like that in my house.
I can see how this could become a "sore spot" for you if your company has a maintenance agreement and is charging a flat out yearly price to handle such minor things. On the other hand if you are able to charge for them why not wait until you have a days worth of work at any one particular base and go to it ?

Re: Damaged outlets #94920 08/20/05 06:18 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 103
jes Offline
One upside to this is that there is a system of sorts to replace receptacles. You may not see other issues that may exist hidden in the device or related to the circuit connections. For example loose connections or poor tension. I would also expect the newer receptacles to be a bit less susceptable to the damage you are referring to. Do you perform any kind of test on the finished replacement?

Re: Damaged outlets #94921 08/29/05 10:02 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 3
ghill Offline OP
Junior Member
Thanks to all for your imput. I was sure hoping that Joe Tedesco would weigh back in on this one also, Joe are you out there?

Re: Damaged outlets #94922 08/29/05 05:56 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 693
Larry Fine Offline
While waiting for Joe to chiime in, I'd like to add a piece of advice:

As long as you're replacing the old receptacles anyway, and unless you're going to throw the main breaker, use a piece of wire to short each circuit at every receptacle; don't assume anything!

On a similar job in a house, we found that the center bedroom's receptacles were being fed by three different circuits! The house was wired "up-n-down"; labeling the panel was an excercise in itself.

Edited for sentence structure. (Yes, it was worse before!)

[This message has been edited by Larry Fine (edited 08-29-2005).]

Larry Fine
Fine Electric Co.
Re: Damaged outlets #94923 08/29/05 06:16 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,507
George Little Offline
As long as you're replacing the old receptacles anyway, and unless you're going to throw the main breaker, use a piece of wire to short each circuit at every receptacle; don't assume anything!

Larry would you mind if I paid for some insurance on you? I'll make me the beneficiary.

My advice, don't short out circuits to trip the overcurrent device. Definitely a bad work habit.

George Little
Re: Damaged outlets #94924 08/29/05 06:51 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
Roger Offline
Larry, I am with George. Besides the obvious dangers, this can cause hidden conductor damage also, especially if the trip is not intantaneous.


[This message has been edited by Roger (edited 08-29-2005).]

Re: Damaged outlets #94925 08/29/05 07:31 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,749
Joe Tedesco Offline
I am here and await the response from the people you have criticized for attempting to use a rule discussed in a class they recently attended.

Please settle this issue with them, and let's see and hear the rest of the story.

Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant
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