An outlet (also known as a receptacle) is subject to a great deal of wear and tear. Once an electrical outlet has been damaged or is simply past its prime, it is not only an inconvenience, it can be downright dangerous. Avoid the possibility of electric shocks or burns by looking for these signs that indicate one or more of your electrical outlets requires replacement.
- The faceplate is broken, chipped, or cracked, permitting dangerous electrical arcing when you try to insert a plug.
- The slots have loosened so that they will allow the weight of the cord to pull the plug out of the receptacle, rather than remaining firmly — and safely — in place.
- The plastic of your outlet cover feels warm to the touch, is darkened or charred looking or gives off an unpleasant burnt smell. Deterioration of internal contacts or wire terminals can cause overheating, with eventual melting and the possibility of sparking or — worst of all — an electrical fire. Treat this as an emergency. Flip the circuit breaker which controls that particular outlet to the “Off” position and contact an electrician immediately.
- The outlet produces electric shocks. This problem could be due to an appliance you are presently using, the outlet itself, or the wiring, have an electrician examine the outlet and the wiring for faults.
- The outlet has gone dead. First see whether your other outlets are functioning. Then look for a tripped breaker or GFCI device and reset if necessary. Plug in a small appliance (which works fine in other outlets) to be sure that the problem is in the receptacle itself.
- You have an ungrounded outlet — the type with 2 slots. (The safer grounded type has 2 slots and a 3rd hole resembling a mouth.) To protect yourself and your family against shocks, install a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet, or hire a professional electrician to upgrade your outlets.
Also be aware that electrical receptacles in areas such as kitchens and baths will tend to need replacement more frequently, due to their continual exposure to steam, heat, and cleaning products.
If you need new outlets installed, call the professional electricians at Cardinal Electric at (561) 753-3131.