Do you have lights in your home that dim when the refrigerator kicks on? Have you ever felt a slight shock when you touch your stove with wet hands? These are just two situations that should be looked at by an electrician. I didn't give any attention to the lights that were dimming in my laundry room when I turned my dryer on. A few months after I had noticed it, we had a small electrical fire in the ceiling. To find more home electrical symptoms that shouldn't be ignored, visit my website. Here, you will find symptoms, problems and solutions for each.
Most people don't think about replacing their electrical outlets until they paint the room, in which case they might change the plastic outlet cover from a dark color to light. However, electrical outlets don't last forever - they can develop hazardous conditions and can be quite dangerous if they aren't taken care of. Outlets don't necessarily need to be replaced just because they are old; however, here are three situations that indicate it's time for a new one.
1. The plastic is cracked.
If the plastic on either the outlet plate or the outlet itself (the round piece with slots that the prongs are inserted into) is cracked, it's generally not a good sign. While the plate can be broken by impacts such as being bumped by furniture, some plastics are poor quality and break more easily than others. If the plate and the receptacle were installed together, the receptacle may be poor quality plastic as well. Poor quality or brittle plastic receptacles are dangerous because they can break under the pressure of plugging or unplugging and create the risk of shock.
2. The plug feels loose in the receptacle.
Outlets that are used more wear out faster. The reason that prongs stay securely in the receptacle slots is that the slots (contacts) are tensioned. With repeated use, the tension decreases. When the plugged-in device is switched on and the prongs slip part-way out of the outlet, you could accidentally touch the prongs that are conducting live current and receive a shock. It's also a fire hazard if something flammable, like the edge of a drape or a stray paper from your desk, comes in contact with the exposed prongs.
3. The receptacle is loose.
If the receptacle – the piece that you actually plug into – is loose, moves forward or backward, has too much "give" or wobbles when you plug something in, the entire box was probably installed incorrectly. Each time you use the plug and the receptacle moves, it loosens even more and electrical arcing can result. Additionally, it also creates the opportunity for dust, dirt and lint to build up in the crevices and contacts, which is also a fire hazard.
While these are the three most common problems with electrical outlets that warrant replacement, they certainly aren't the only ones. Any time an outlet gets hot or changes color, or if a lamp or appliance flickers or won't turn on, stop using the outlet and have it inspected by an electrician. Not only can these situations indicate more serious problems with the wiring, but a residential electrician can make sure that all your outlets are safe and that they conform to the latest building code requirements. For more information, consider contacting a professional like those at Action Electric.