So it’s a really long story but the gist of it is that we have this outlet in the kitchen that we replaced when we moved in with something that looked nicer. As dictated by code, each outlet was wired to a separate circuit (1 grnd, 1 wht, 2 hot (blk, red)). I had never delt with an outlet like that before and didn’t know about that little tab you break off the outlet to separate the outlets so I ended up not using the red wire and instead just had everything running off the single circuit. Which really is fine. In the half year since I did it the only thing using that outlet was the kettle. No problem.
Apparently I should listen more to that advice: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
This morning I had a little time to kill and figured now is as good a time as any to fix my outlet (since by now I’ve learned about that little tab I need to remove). I went ahead and rewired it only it seems that I messed up and forgot that black is the hot wire and not white. Essentially I created one normal outlet that from the white and black that was the normal 120V across the terminals. The other outlet was red to black which gave me a measured voltage of 240V (naturally these were only measured after the fact). At this point I thought everything was good and proceeded to plug-in our kettle.
Now the old saying a watched pot never boils is certainly NOT true of kettles wired in this fashion. I was holding Josh and not really paying attention but the kettle boiled the water in almost no time at all (I would guess the full 1.5L in less than a minute). I was rather surprised but I figured maybe I was just distracted by Josh.
Later this morning I tried to boil the kettle again and it seems that was just too much. After a couple seconds there was a brilliant flash, loud buzzing, billowing smoke and our kettle was no more.
I’m sure there is a moral to this story. Well lots of them really:
- Leave it to professionals (at least you have someone to blame when your appliances go up in smoke)
- Turn off the breaker before attempting rewiring an outlet. Your side cutters will thank you for it (another story that I’m sure is not covered by Canadian Tire’s lifetime warranty)
- Test with a volt meter before plugging your fancy kettle in
- Test which is the hot wire. Don’t just guess.
Luckily nobody was harmed in this, I learned a few things and I’m sure I’ll get it right next time