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Repair and troubleshooting guides for air conditioning units used in houses, offices, and cars.

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Why is my plug overheating>?

Hi everyone,

I just bought a second hand window A/C unit. (Bad move, I know...) Its working well, but the plug is getting very hot. When I take it out of the socket, the prongs are hot enough to burn me. The strange thing is that the wire itself doesn't feel hot, only the plug. When I used an extension cord the whole extension cord heated up.

I tried 2 different sockets on 2 different circuits and got the same results. The A/C is 12 amp, on a 16 amp breaker.

Anyone have an idea what the problem could be, and can it be fixed?

Thanks very much!

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Thanks for that.

I forgot to mention that I tried changing the plug and that didn't help. I tried it on 2 sockets which work on 2 circuit breakers, so its unlikely thats the problem. I used 2 extension cords, one of them brand new with a capacity of 16 amps (for a 12 amp unit). Besides the plug heats up even when I'm not using tan extension cord at all. I'm trying to work out what on earth could the problem be??


Has to be the a/c unit drawing way too much power. The stuff that's not heating up may be rated higher than necessary, high enough to handle the additional load. I would get the a/c checked before continuing to use it.

I suspect you bought a defective a/c.


What would cause an A/C to draw more power than its meant too?

And if it is, why is the fuse not blowing? It's also 16 amps, so why would it hold up better than the plug?

Thanks again!


Not sure. But the fact that some things are heating up means that you have an electrical problem somewhere. Since you bought your A/C used, it is suspect and should be checked. Since it is portable, you can bring it to a repair shop; you don't have to get a technician to your house.


My AC is doing the same thing, recently the plugs are getting very hot when itwas plugged into the wall. We bought a circuit breaker and plugged it into that one. After 15 minutes or so the AC shuts off also the circuit breaker shuts off . This just started happening like about three weeks. Do you think the plug is not working properly? Please advise!


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@spare do not use an extension cord is number 1. Number 2 is that your breaker at 16amps is underrated since you most likely have other things on that particular branch of your circuit. Number 3 would be to clean the AC properly since a dirty AC will attempt to continuously run to keep up with the workload. Since we do not know what AC unit you have, it is difficult to figure out the BTU of the unit compared to your room size. If your AC output is to small for the area you are trying to cool down, your AC will try to cool it down but wont keep up with it. This can cause the compressor to run all the time and it will draw maximum amperage. There is nothing touching the plug and it is not the plug that is at fault here.

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The unit is actually very powerful, and when the door is kept shut it cycles on and off. And anyway, it gets hot after about 15/20 minutes, so that's not the problem.

It probably is very dirty, but would that cause it too draw more power, or just to stay on for longer?



The harder your AC tries to work the more power it draws. You will find that it will make a difference if it is properly cleaned etc. How long does that compresor stay on? How often does it cycle on and off to cool your area? What make and model AC is this? What have you checked on the unit thus far?


The compressor stays on for about 10 minutes. It stays off for a few minutes then turns on again. Its a general Electric, very old (and very noisy!). It would be a big effort to clean it (its a very heavy piece because its so old), so I don't want to do it unless you think that could really be the problem. Does it really use more power when its dirty? And what else is worth checking? Thanks once again!


Yes, it really does use more power. If the unit is dirty and has issues with pushing/pulling air through the cooling fins, your motor works harder/longer and so does your compressor. It is trying to keep up with the limits set by your thermostat. The colder you set it, the longer the motor/capacitor have to run. Anything like a dirty unit or worn bearings on the motor or compressor can do this as well. Once you have the unit open and are cleaning it, check the motor and check the capacitors. I'd replace those as well. If you really want to check something out, use an inexpensive clamp meter and measure the amperage that your unit pulls. You'll be surprised to see what it pulls before the compressor kicks in and once it does kick in.

What is the model of the GE AC?


The model is AFR15DAE1. Its very old, I'm sure they don't make it anymore...


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Your unit is drawing too much power for one of the components which is touching the plug. That's why it is too hot. The fact that the wire doesn't get hot but the plug does tells me that the plug itself may be defective. Or maybe the outlet is defective, or under-rated for the amount of power being drawn. The extension cord is not adequate for the amount of current being drawn; that's why the extension cord is getting hot.

Whatever you do, make sure that you have the correct size breaker for the electrical circuit. This should prevent an electrical fire from starting.

In these cases, I ALWAYS get a professional electrician involved. You need to make sure that EVERYTHING involved here is up to the task and not defective: wiring, outlet, plug, a/c unit, circuit breaker, etc etc. The last thing you want is some defective component starting an electrical fire.

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I have the same problem.. the electric plug in my air conditioning (AC ) feels extremely HOT..…I found it some what helpful if you consider the following :

1) the reason the plug gets hotter than the outlet cause of the Guage of the copper wire in the plug is thinner than the one in the outlet…

  • 2) the connection contact in them is weak, thus it creates heat.
  • 3) operate the AC on “LOW”…
  • 4) GOOD LUCK. …

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