Skip navigation to main content.

How Long Do Electrical Outlets Last?

While you might not think about your electrical outlets very often, they’re some of the most important parts of your home. Since they’re responsible for safely delivering power to various appliances and devices, it’s critical they stay in good condition. One of the best ways to stay on top of your electrical outlets is to know more about their typical lifespan so you can replace them before they break down or become a fire hazard.

When to Replace Electrical Outlets

When you want to know how long electrical outlets last, you should know that there are a few different types of electric outlets currently installed in homes around the United States. The most common electrical outlets are standard three-prong outlets and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets, but some older homes still have two-prong outlets. If you want to know when you should replace any of these different types of outlets, learn more below:

  • Two-prong outlets: If you have two-prong outlets in your home, it’s already time to replace them. Due to their lack of a grounding wire, two-prong outlets are outdated and potentially dangerous. An electrician should replace any two-prong outlets with standard three-prong outlets or GFCI outlets.
  • Standard three-prong outlets: The typical lifespan of three-prong outlets tends to be around 15 years. However, if you rarely use the outlet, it could work for around 30 years, but most replacements should occur around the 15-year mark.
  • GFCI outlets: Generally, GFCI outlets last somewhere between 15 to 25 years and should be replaced in this timeframe. While these outlets tend to work for a long time, you should test them regularly with the “Test” and “Reset” buttons. 

6 Main Warning Signs Your Electrical Outlets Should Be Replaced

While older outlets can simply stop delivering power, they can also result in safety hazards in your home. As a result, it’s critical you hire a professional to replace them once they’ve reached the end of their lifespan or are showing signs of damage. Since outlets can start to age or develop problems prematurely, it’s important you know the main warning signs of an outlet needing replacement—no matter its age.

Review the primary signs of an outlet requiring replacement below:

  • The outlet doesn’t deliver power: If your outlet doesn’t deliver power to any appliances or other devices, it’s time to replace it. As long as you’ve checked that you don’t have a tripped circuit or a blown fuse and that the appliance you’re trying to power isn’t at fault, you’ll need to hire an electrician to inspect the outlet.
  • The outlet is cracked or damaged: When your outlet’s face is cracked or damaged, it’s time to replace it. Besides looking bad, cracked outlets can allow flammable materials, such as pet hair or dust, to build up inside them, raising the chance of a fire occurring.
  • The outlet is loose: A loose outlet is another sign you need replacement. Typically, loose outlets come from improper installation, and they can interrupt your electrical connection. This interrupted connection can cause electric arcs or jumps in electricity that could result in an electrical fire.
  • The outlet has burn marks or shows signs of melting: While it seems obvious, it’s important to stop using an outlet and have it replaced as soon as possible if it has burn marks or signs of melting on its faceplate. Whenever you see melted parts, scorch marks, or brown or black discoloration, your outlet could have short-circuited or sparked, 
  • The outlet sparks or produces smoke: When you plug in an appliance or turn it on and the outlet sparks or produces smoke (or even the smell of smoke), you’ll want to immediately use your breaker box to turn off power to the outlet. After doing so, you’ll need to contact an electrician to inspect the outlet and potentially replace it.
  • The outlet is hot: If you touch your outlet and it feels hot, it’s likely damaged, or its wiring was improperly installed. Due to the potential for an electric fire, you should stop using the outlet and have it replaced.

Choose Bonney for Electrical Outlet Replacement Services

When you need electrical outlet replacement services in Sacramento, California, turn to Bonney. Our team regularly removes old outlets and installs new GFCI outlets, ensuring our clients have the power they need and the safety they deserve. Alongside our outlet installation services, we regularly provide several other electrical services, such as smoke detector installation, EV charging station installation, and outdoor lighting installation. We also offer various coupons to give our clients the best deal possible.

Find out more about our GFCI outlet installation services. If you’re ready to schedule service or have any questions, please feel free to contact us.