Electrical outlets are all too easy to overlook despite their usefulness in our everyday lives. If you are like most people, you only think about them when they’re not working. Watch out for these signs that your outlet is in bad condition.
Eight Signs It Is Time to Replace Your Outlets
The Outlet Is Not Working
This may seem obvious, but if the outlet is no longer powering your electronics, it may need to be replaced. Make sure the other outlets in the room work before making any changes. If there is still no power, check if the breaker was tripped.
Burn Marks or Melting
Check for blemishes on the faceplate, outlets and wall. Dark discoloration and melting are major red flags, as they indicate short-circuiting and sparking. Outlets in this condition should not be used again. Call an electrician and have the outlet replaced as soon as you can.
Cracks and Chips
Cosmetic blemishes like chips and cracks are also cause for concern because they allow dust and other debris to build up inside the outlet. This can serve as kindling when a plug is inserted, potentially causing an electric arc. It’s best to avoid using cracked or chipped outlets until you have them replaced.
Plugs Fall Out Easily
Loose plugs may seem like an annoyance more than anything, but they indicate wear and tear and can cause sparking and electrical arcing.
Outlet Feels Hot to the Touch
Outlets that are hot to the touch indicate worn, damaged or incorrectly installed wiring. Any wiring or electric current malfunction has the potential to cause an electrical fire, so it’s best to not leave anything to chance.
You Smell Smoke or See a Spark
Trust your senses – if you see or smell smoke, sparks or burning near your outlets after plugging something in or turning on an appliance, don’t hesitate to contact an electrician and have it inspected and possibly replaced.
Your Outlets Are Not Grounded
You can tell your outlets are not grounded if they only have two prongs, or holes. This is an outdated design and should be replaced with a grounded three-prong outlet. If you have never replaced your home’s original outlets, it is recommended you do so.
If a device is flickering on and off, it could mean the outlet is no longer able to keep up with demand. This can be due to wear and tear, damage or an outdated design. Prevent short-circuiting or damage to your personal belongings by replacing flickering outlets.
The Benefits of GFCI Outlets
To protect your family against electric shock, it is recommended you install ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets, especially in areas near moisture, like kitchens, bathrooms, patios and yards. These outlets are designed to prevent potentially deadly ground fault accidents from occurring.
All new homes are built with these outlets in the appropriate areas, but older homes will need an upgrade. Keep in mind that GFCI outlets have a useable lifespan of about 10 years, so if your home is older than that, it may be time to have them inspected.
The GFCI outlet works by monitoring the current traveling from the appliance to the outlet. If it detects a minor change in current – even just a five-milliamp difference, which could indicate the occurrence of a ground fault – it automatically cuts power to the appliance.
Electric Services Near Sacramento
If it’s time to replace your outdated outlets, the certified electricians at Bonney Plumbing have the solutions you are looking for. Our team has been providing electrical services to the greater Sacramento area since 1978.
Call 800-444-0551 or visit us online to schedule your service appointment.