According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical malfunctions or failures are the 2nd leading cause of home fires, accounting for the highest share of direct property damage and civilian deaths.
The electrical outlets in our homes will inevitably wear out over time. Hence, it’s essential to know when to consider an electrical outlet upgrade or when it’s best to replace your outlets. Faulty outlets can cause burns, shocks, and are very dangerous.
It may be hard to tell for sure if your outlets need an upgrade, however, there are a number of signs that you should be aware of.
1. Your circuit breakers trip often
If this is the case, it is most likely because your outlets are having difficulty supplying power. If your circuit breakers trip often, most especially when you connect multiple devices or appliances, it’s best to replace or upgrade your electrical outlets.
2. The electrical outlet becomes hot
This is a sure sign of concern, indicating damage, loose, or worn wires. Additionally, your outlet should not give off a burnt smell. An electrical fire may be just around the corner. Turn off the outlet as soon as you can, unplug your electrical devices, and contact an electrician.
3. Loose outlet slots
This may not seem like a huge deal, but when the slots of your electrical outlets are loose, the plug might fall out due to the weight of the cord. Plugs are designed to fit tightly in the socket; hence, loose outlets are good indicators that they are old. Most likely, the metal contacts inside are already worn out and the plate is most likely damaged and need to be replaced.
4. Your outlets have two prongs
Electrical outlets with two prongs are outdated and they are not designed to modern safety standards. Two-prong outlets are ungrounded, which will put your electronics at risk of damage and present a substantial shock risk. If you have two-pronged outlets in your home, do not simply replace them with their three-pronged counterparts. This will not offer sufficient protection. To prevent your family from ground fault events, have an electrician install a GFCI outlet and ensure that your electric box is properly grounded.
Upgrading your electrical outlets is not just a good idea, it is essential for your family’s safety. While there are some electrical issues that you fix at home, there are several others that require professional help. Do not leave your home’s safety and the quality of your electrical appliances to chance.