Beware Of The Hazards Of A Loose Electrical Outlet

Most homeowners give little thought to the electrical outlets in their homes. The only time we pay much attention to these essential features is when there are not enough of them to charge all of our electronics and toys. Even when the outlet or box appears to be loose or damaged, we overlook that minor inconvenience and just use a lighter touch when plugging or unplugging at that outlet. However, homeowners need to understand that a loose or damaged outlet holds the potential to be very dangerous.

More Than Just A Simple Fix

You see a loose outlet and think that a couple of turns of the center mounting screw should be all it takes to correct the issue. However, it is essential to note that the box that houses the wires, wire connections, and outlet is mounted to the framing of your home. And if that entire box is damaged or loose, it could take more than tightening a screw to correct the problem. But you really should not be cramming your fingers or a screwdriver into the box that contains electrical wiring. So unless you are on the pretty handy side of the DIY scale, it is time to call in a pro for a safe and professional resolution to your loose outlet problem.

How Could An Outlet Be Damaged?

When you look at a loose outlet, it is easy to wonder how it could get damaged. You are only pushing a plug into it and then removing it. But pulling that plug from the outlet can take more effort than you might think. And after years of even a gentle tug a few times a day, the outlet or the box could begin to work itself loose and create a safety hazard.

More Than Just Annoying

You could be lumping that loose outlet onto a list of to-do projects around the house that might or might not get addressed in a timely fashion. Sure, it is annoying that you need to use two hands to unplug a cord, by you have gotten used to it and can easily overlook it now. But what you are not bargaining for is more damage to the outlet or surrounding components. In addition, a loose outlet can result in several other issues that could pose a shock hazard to you or others in your home. These issues include:

  • A Cracked Face Plate- While this might appear to be nothing more than a visual defect, the fact is that the faceplate on an outlet is essential. That solid piece of plastic forms a protective shield for your hand as you plug and unplug something at an outlet. Even a tiny crack in the cover can allow electricity to escape and shock you or anyone else using the outlet.
  • Damage To The Wiring- A loose outlet puts unnecessary and unwanted stress on the electrical connections inside the box. An adequately installed outlet never moves and never places any stress on electrical connections. While the wire nuts provide some support, they are only designed to hold the wires gently and not when an external force moves them. The constant movement of the outlet can cause the wires to come apart, resulting in a nasty shock.
  • Charging Issues- If the wiring and outlet are not installed properly and secured, even the slightest amount of motion can stop the flow of electricity and result in no charge to your device or power to an appliance.

When you discover a loose outlet in your home, eliminate the potential for an electric shock or fire. Call (541) 234-8864 for help from the licensed electricians at Excel Electric.