What would magnetize a receptacle?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Taylor, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. Taylor

    Taylor New Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    Northern Joisey
    Removed a box from a circuit yesterday. Today, the circuit breaker blows every time the microwave (on the circuit) is turned on. Has worked fine beforehand. In switching the microwave over to another circuit, noticed that the receptacle for the microwave appears to be magnetized. Is this a clue to what is going on? Are hot and neutral switched somewhere? All i did yesterday is remove wires.

    BTW not a single box in this house is grounded.
  2. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT

    Not really sure what you did, but if it worked all the time until you touched something, I think I know what the problem is.
  3. Taylor

    Taylor New Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    Northern Joisey
    :confused:

    I removed a box and the corresponding wires in a junction box that had both the removed box and the microwave receptacle downstream (separate streams).
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    What would magnetize a receptacle? Nothing
  5. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    Plastic magnet?
  6. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I grew up in an old house like this. I'm guessing that you have plaster walls with metal lathe as well. I'm also guessing that you have a hot wire connecting to the wall somewhere. Electrical flow through iron (the steel lathe) will make a magnet.

    You need to call an electrician and find out where the leak is.
  7. Taylor

    Taylor New Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    Northern Joisey
    Plaster walls but.....

    ....wood lathe.

    Sounds like people do not see a connection with the (observed) magnetization of the receptacle and the microwave blowing the circuits. Just realized that the gas dryer was running downstairs on the same circuit as the microwave, maybe that was the source of the circuit breaker tripping. Even gas-fired, it needs juice to turn the drum.
  8. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Old homes tend to have a mixed bag of circuits. There could be a lot going on. The magnetic effect still points to a current leak somewhere. Old plaster is reinforced with all kinds of materials (my sister discovered horse hair in hers), and a lot of things can carry electricity. You should shut off all your appliances and lights, and see if the area is still magnetic. Also look at your meter and see if its still moving. If it is, then turn off all breakers until it stops moving, and find out which one is using electricity without anything turned on.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    26,623
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    outlet

    How do you "observe" the magnetization?
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