Share This Article
When our electrical outlets stop working, it throws off our daily routine. It can be a sign that something is wrong, and the problem needs to be resolved before it becomes dangerous.
Outlets need to be checked regularly. If you notice discolored or melted plastic, or signs of short-circuiting, it is time to replace them.
If you’re noticing that one or more outlets in your home aren’t working properly, it might be time for repair work. Depending on the problem, you may need to replace them altogether or fix the wiring within.
In many cases, homeowners can complete simple repairs on their own without the need for a professional. However, for more complex tasks, such as electrical wiring repairs, you should have a licensed electrician come in to inspect the situation and give you an estimate.
Older homes, in particular, can have outlets that aren’t up to code. These old-school devices can’t handle the power demands of modern appliances and electronics.
They can also start a fire, which is why it’s important to replace these aging outlets as soon as you notice any problems. Loose outlets can cause a flow of electricity to “jump” or create an electric arc, which could damage your wall and lead to a devastating fire.
Loose wires are a common problem. They can be an issue for both commercial and residential outlets.
Outlets in California are typically anchored to a box, which is attached to the drywall or a wall stud. The box may move from the drywall over time, which can cause the electrical outlet to become loose.
The wires that attach to an outlet (called receptacles) connect with terminal screws, which help to make sure electricity flows smoothly and quietly between the receptacles. If the wires aren’t tight to these terminal screws, they create more resistance and therefore generate more heat.
In addition to this, wires can get frayed or exposed if they’re not properly secured. This can lead to a fire hazard, which is why it’s a good idea to call an electrician as soon as you notice a loose outlet or plug.
Having too many plugs in a single outlet can be frustrating. It can also lead to tangles of extension cords and bulky power strips.
One way to avoid overloading an outlet is to use surge-protected outlets. This prevents the wires from overheating and causing a fire.
Another way to avoid overloading an outlet is by using the maximum wattage capacity for each device. For example, if you have a hair dryer that draws 800 watts, it should not be plugged in at the same time as an electric razor that draws 1,100 watts.
The standard rule is to load a circuit no more than 80% of its rated power. If a circuit is overloaded, it will cause the breaker to trip and shut off electricity to that area.
A dead outlet can be a panic-inducing situation, but it’s not always a sign of a major electrical issue. In some cases, these outlets can be fixed by troubleshooting a few common issues before calling an electrician for assistance.
One of the easiest ways to find out what’s causing your dead outlet is by using an outlet tester. This device can tell you if there is power on the outlet or not by measuring three different electrical values: voltage, amps, and ohms.
Another way to find out if an outlet is working is by plugging in a lamp or appliance that works into it. Sometimes the problem isn’t a dead outlet; it could be a defective device that requires replacement.
You can also check if your electrical outlets are protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). These types of outlets have “Test” and “Retest” buttons that automatically shut off when there’s a current leak in the outlet.