4 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlets (also known as receptacles) show signs of wear and tear over a fifteen to twenty year period. It could even be sooner than that, depending on the frequency of your plugging and unplugging habits. Many of us overlook what we are plugging our appliances and devices into, until its unfortunately too late. Let’s take a look at the most common signs that should prompt you to have your outlets replaced by a licensed electrician. Many of these signs can also warn you of electrical issues with your wiring that go unnoticed. When you are finished reading this blog, go around your home and inspect your electrical outlets. It could save your home from fire hazards, and keep your family safe from electric shock!
Take a look around your home. Are only some of your outlets two-pronged? If you have some three-pronged outlets and some two-pronged outlets, then your home may be grounded. We say MAY BE grounded because your “amateur do-it-yourselfer” could have popped in a three-pronged outlet on your ungrounded circuit. THIS INDICATES A GROUND WHERE THERE IS NOT A GROUND! A licensed electrician can test if the two-pronged electrical outlet is in fact grounded, and then replace it with a three-pronged receptacle for you. Replacing those two-pronged outlets with three-pronged outlets will ensure maximum safety against shock, and damage against an appliance.
Are all of your electrical outlets two-pronged? Older homes that are ungrounded have no three-pronged receptacles at all. In this case, it’s important to replace your two-pronged electrical outlets with GFCI outlets. A GFCI receptacle protects you from electrical shock by monitoring the electrical current, and shutting off the power if the electrical current flows through the wrong path. Having a licensed electrician install a GFCI outlet to replace an ungrounded two-prong outlet in a home that isn’t grounded will ensure protection from any electrocution; however, a GFCI may not fully protect your appliances, or operate correctly with surge protectors in an ungrounded home.
The sure way to fix an ungrounded home is rewire the home so that it is grounded. If you are not up for that large scale project, KB Electric LLC can run dedicated lines to electronics and appliances. Take a look at our grounding blog for more information about what it is, and why it is crucial for home electrical safety.
Discolored or Cracked Electrical Outlet
If your electrical outlet shows signs of discoloration, it can indicate that the connections are overheating. In this case, the outlet should be inspected by a licensed electrician and could mean a variety of safety concerns. In the end, the outlet will need replacing. If your electrical outlet’s face plate has cracks, you are exposing the loose terminals, which is a definite hazard for anyone using the outlet.
Plug Keeps Falling Out
It happens to us more frequently than not. You go to plug in your phone charger, and the plug slides halfway out of the socket holes. Over time with the constant motion of unplugging and plugging into our electrical outlets, the spring mechanisms start to give way causing loose connections. When you notice your devices and appliances aren’t fitting tightly into the outlets, it’s time to replace them. Loose connections can cause arcing, an electrical fire hazard.
Your Electrical Outlets Aren’t Tamper-Resistant
For newly built or renovated homes, or when replacing old receptacles, it’s now mandatory under the NEC (National Electrical Code) to replace them with tamper-resistant electrical outlets. Even if your home isn’t newly built or recently renovated, it’s important to replace your regular electrical outlets with tamper-resistant outlets. Tamper-resistant receptacles prevent children from electrocuting themselves when inserting foreign objects into the slots of the receptacle. There are “doors” in the slots that remain closed unless there is equal pressure for all slots to open, like when inserting a plug. Even if you don’t have children living with you, it’s a good idea to have these installed throughout your home by a licensed electrician. Most of us get visitors, family members, friends etc. with small children. Prevention is key when to avoiding electrical shock for anyone entering your home. Visit our tamper-resistant electrical outlet blog to learn more.