An electrical outlet in a busy part of the house like your bathroom , kitchen, or home workroom has a difficult life. The 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 learning the signs that indicate one or more of your electrical outlets requires replacement.
Signs that an Electrical Outlet Needs 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 warning signal. Flip the circuit breaker which controls that particular outlet to the “Off” position and contact an electrician immediately.
The outlet produces electric shocks. In this case, the problem could be due to an appliance you are presently using, the outlet itself, or the wiring. Unplug the appliance to investigate whether that might be the trouble source. Otherwise, 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. If this doesn’t solve your problem, check the outlet with an outlet tester. Plug in a small appliance (which works fine in other outlets) to be sure that the problem is in the receptacle itself.
Read more about when to replace an electrical outlet at Networx.com