Receptacle (Open Neutral)

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  #1  
Old 11-22-17, 07:16 PM
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Receptacle (Open Neutral)

My garbage disposal acted really weird last week. One of the blade inside the garbage disposal broked off and it grinded like the sound of a spoon. I replaced that garbage disposal two days ago. Unfortunately, the new garbage disposal keeps tripping. I would have to press the reset button on it to start it again.

I decided to test the receptacle. The outlet that is not connected to the wall switch; tested fine. However, the outlet that is connected to the wall switch shows "Open Neutral". If I pulled the tester a little bit to the left, then it shows good.

1. Is "Open Neutral" the reason why the new garbage disposal kept getting tripped?

2. Did the old garbage disposal damage the outlet, or did the outlet damage the old garbage disposal?

3. What would cause an outlet to become "Open Neutral".

4. I have changed receptacles many times. I can't recall if I ever changed a receptacle that is connected to a wall switch. Is the process the same? Will I need a special receptacle for wall switch or is it the same regular receptacle? Maybe a GCFI receptacle since it is next to water?

I would appreciate it if you can answer each number.

Thanks
 
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Old 11-22-17, 10:43 PM
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1 - no. An open neutral will keep the unit from working... period.
2 - it's possible the old disposer damaged the receptacle from high current draw.
3 - you move the tester and the receptacle shows ok. It's worn out..... just change it. Use a pro or preferred quality receptacle.... not one of those cheap specials.
4 - if the entire receptacle is switched..... then the wiring is straightforward.
 
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Old 11-22-17, 10:57 PM
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Thanks Pete.

For #4, do I need a GCFI receptacle since it is under the sink? Only 1 of the 2 outlets is wired to the wall switch. If I remember correctly, there is a tab that need to break to separate the two outlets on the receptacle right? Is there a link that you can provide on how to do this?

Thank you
 
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Old 11-23-17, 10:47 AM
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Whether you need GFCI protection under the sink is dependent on what code cycle this was installed under, but I doubt you need GFCI protection. If you do need GFCI protection you would need to install a GFCI breaker as a GFCI receptacle cannot be split wired and has no break-off tabs. I would just install a new duplex receptacle under the sink and call it a day.
 
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Old 11-23-17, 11:06 AM
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Technically you need GFI protection within 6' of a sink but for the most part the disposer is exempt.

You mentioned switched receptacle.... half switched or fully switched ?
 
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Old 11-23-17, 01:41 PM
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Joe, thanks for your reply.

Pete, on the receptacle, the top outlet is for the dishwasher. The bottom outlet is for the garbage disposal which is turned on by the wall switch. I believe this is what you mean by half switched right? Is there a tab that I need to break off because I recalled this a while ago?
 
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Old 11-23-17, 01:48 PM
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That is correct. The bridge clip needs to be removed on the brass screw side of the receptacle.

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Old 11-23-17, 02:10 PM
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Thank you Pete. I will do that tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and the rest of the members.
 
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Old 11-26-17, 01:27 AM
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So here is an update.

I have successfully changed out the receptacle but did run into some complications.

There are three wires (White, Black and Red). The Red wire is connected to the top outlet (Dishwasher). The Black wire is connected to the bottom outlet (Garbage Disposal). Both of these wires are connected to the brass side. The White wire is connected to the silver side.

I found out from the outlet tester that each outlet is connected to a different circuit breaker.

I replaced the receptacle and broke off the bridge on the brass side as Pete instructed and it makes sense. The only difference is I switched the Red to the bottom outlet and the Black to the top outlet. I think should be fine since the bridge now separates the two outlets.

I exchanged the new Garbage Disposal and this one sounds much more smooth and correct. For some reason, the other one kept tripping and I would have to reset it.

Questions:

First, why is it so difficult to remove the wires from the old receptacle? It is not the screw type but the insert type. I had to take a flat head screw driver and shoved it into the narrow slot, resting this against the drywall. Then I took needle nose pliers and pulled the wire out. I jammed my thumb against the pliers.

Second, why is it so difficult to break off the bridge tab on the brass side?
 

Last edited by WRDIY; 11-26-17 at 02:58 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-26-17, 01:44 AM
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Those push-in stab connection receptacles were one of the worst designed devices ever created. Make it a point to not use those push in terminals.

If those clips were easy to break off.... everyone would be doing it.
 
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Old 11-26-17, 03:25 AM
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Pete, thanks for your help again on these electrical stuffs. That is my first time replacing a "half switch" receptacle. Full switch receptacle is much easier but "half switch" receptacle is not that bad after breaking off the bridge tab.

Yes, I stock up on receptacles that are "screw & clamp".

https://www.handymanhowto.com/wp-con...1/DSC03652.jpg

Next time, I will use Diagonal Cutters to cut the bridge tab. One more question, are the bridge tabs (one bridge for the neutral wires and one bridge for the hot wires) the only connection points between the two outlets? I assume if there were two circuits coming in and need to be hot/active all the time, then both tabs would need to be broken off right?
 
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Old 11-26-17, 04:29 AM
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One more thing, the old receptacle is a 15 amp receptacle since it doesn't have the horizontal slot. Two 20 amps circuits were running through this 15 amp receptacle. I replaced it with a new 15 amp. I think this is ok because I remembered asking Ray about this. If it is not Ray, I apologize but someone told me it would be fine.

https://www.bobvila.com/posts/82844-...20-amp-circuit

Originally Posted by Pete
Technically you need GFI protection within 6' of a sink but for the most part the disposer is exempt.
Is that 6 inches or 6 feet?
 
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Old 11-26-17, 04:36 AM
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If the receptacle is not switched or both halves are switched you do not break any tabs.

Use needle nose pliers to bend the tab back and forth. Thee or four times is usually enough .

Since each receptacle is now dedicated it should be circuit rated.
 
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Old 11-26-17, 05:28 AM
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the old receptacle is a 15 amp receptacle since it doesn't have the horizontal slot. Two 20 amps circuits were running through this 15 amp receptacle. I replaced it with a new 15 amp. I think this is ok because I remembered asking Ray about this
It is only okay if there are two or more places to plug in. If this is the only plugin for each circuit you need to use a 20 amp receptacle assuming #12 cable. If #14you need to change the breaker to 15a.
 
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Old 11-26-17, 06:10 PM
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Thanks Ray and pcboss.

It is #12 gauge wires. So in other words, I will need a 20 amp receptacle since there are two circuits (20 amp each) running through the current setup?

Also, Pete, if you are reading this, I have two questions for you above on the bridge tab and the distance. Thanks
 
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Old 11-26-17, 06:26 PM
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You can either change to a 20 amp duplex and break the brass tabor switch the breaker to a 15 amp.

what is the other question ?
 
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Old 11-26-17, 08:50 PM
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I think if that is the case, I will put a 20 amp receptacle in. I have never switch a breaker from 20 amp to 15 amp before. It sounds a lot of work since it probably requires to replace the 12 gauge to 14 gauge for the 15 amp breaker.

The other two questions are about:

"One more question, are the bridge tabs (one bridge for the neutral wires and one bridge for the hot wires) the only connection points between the two outlets?"

and

Is that 6 inches or 6 feet for requirement of a GCFI receptacle from the sink?

Thank You
 
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Old 11-27-17, 04:27 AM
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#12 is fine on a 15 amp breaker. Boht hot and neutral tabs must be broken if there are two neutrals on different circuits. All grounds on the other hand must be connected together even if from different circuits.
 
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Old 11-27-17, 11:13 AM
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Is that 6 inches or 6 feet for requirement of a GCFI receptacle from the sink?

It would be 6 feet, not 6 inches, but this rule rarely applies in a dwelling kitchen as all countertop receptacles, regardless of distance from the sink, must be GFCI protected. I was also remembering some kitchen under cabinet GFCI information from "Code Question of the Day". According to the 2017 NEC, you do not need GFCI protection under the kitchen sink because:



The additional second paragraph of 210.8 in the 2017 NEC indicates that the measurement is made based on a cord path that does not pierce a barrier or pass through a doorway. A receptacle in a dwelling unit kitchen cabinet does not need GFCI protection because the cord would need to pass through the doorway. Waste disposers are not included in 422.5 so do not require GFCI protection unless it is included in the listing instructions as stated in 110.3(B).

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