Signs an Electrical Outlet Needs Replacing in Westerville and Worthington, Ohio

Because they provide appliances with access to the main power supply in a home or office, electrical outlets represent a potential hazard. Faulty outlets can lead to electrical fires and shocks that can destroy property and injure or even kill inhabitants. Thus, faulty outlets should be replaced at the first sign of malfunction.

Unfortunately, people sometimes fail to recognize a faulty outlet. Because they lack the knowledge peculiar to electricians, lay persons may miss the signs of malfunction or even consider them a part of normal operation. By recognizing the following signs, however, anyone can tell when an electrical outlet needs replacing.

Current Malfunction

Faulty outlets often show signs of malfunction during normal use. First, sparks and shocks that occur upon plugging an appliance into an outlet provide clear signs of underlying problems. Second, excessive heat emanating from an outlet — usually detected as a warmth on the wall plate — suggests an inappropriate resistance that might eventually cause a fire. Third, smoke and smoky odors might also indicate a fire hazard. More subtle signs include lights dimming or flickering and repeated tripping of circuit breakers when using an outlet. Of course, failure to provide power to connected appliances is an obvious sign.

Prior Malfunction

Often, outlets show signs of a prior malfunction requiring replacement of the outlet. Scorch marks on the wall plate or surrounding wall indicate prior sparking. Because water in an electrical system presents an obvious hazard, a wall plate or surrounding wall showing water damage often indicates a need for outlet replacement — even if the leakage has been repaired. Since its absence on an outlet can result in the arcing of electrical current, any missing wall plate should be replaced; moreover, because wall plates usually break after being struck forcefully, caution may require replacement of the entire outlet in such a case.

Although serious malfunctions remain relatively rare, a faulty electrical outlet poses a threat to any building and its inhabitants. An outlet showing signs of a current or prior malfunction should be replaced immediately. Then, the inhabitants of a building can safely enjoy the benefits of electricity and the appliances it powers.