Wall outlets are the life-blood of any home. Every gadget, kitchen appliance, stove, and water heater requires some form of electrical receptacle to make your modern life possible. Unfortunately, many houses still have the same sockets they were built with. Considering they show significant wear within a 15 to 20 year period, you may need to consider that it’s time to replace them. But what are the indicators that your outlets are in need of replacement?
Many older houses have this problem. You go to plug-in your electric mixer and the end will not stay in the outlet. Maybe it jiggles or slides halfway out. It is only natural that frequent use of a device leads to wear, but this isn’t just an inconvenience: it is a safety hazard. Exposed prongs on your plug can allow electricity to arc, causing a house fire or electrocuting you the next time you go to unplug it.
Even the best made, most well-cared-for house takes its share of dings and dents over time. Wall sockets, too, can end up damaged. Frequent sun exposure can cause older plastics to become brittle and discolored. Cracking and seams can open up on your plate as your house settles. This allows dust to get in, which can serve as excellent kindling for a house fire.
Another, more sinister form of damage you may notice is charred, sooty plastic. This can mean you have an exposed or ungrounded wire inside which needs to be serviced. If you are in the Gordon Powers service area, you should hire a professional to deal with this dangerous issue right away.
Warm Wall Plates and Cords
Many people have their share of older devices, and you too may be holding on to that special something from the early 1980s. While these cherished keepsakes may be heartwarming, they can also be a significant electrical risk. Older cords tend to have shielding that breaks down, or no shielding at all, which can allow them to heat up. Likewise, you may not know that using extension cords with power-hungry airconditioners can increase the impedance at the socket. Higher impedance means higher temperatures. It is not normal for cords and wall plates to be warm to the touch so you need to take this warning sign seriously.
While the previous issues focus primarily on safety, you may want to consider that electrical outlets have not existed in a vacuum. Wonderful upgrades have been made to the technology that makes them safer and more convenient. Sockets containing handy USB chargers, tamper-resistant covers to prevent children from inserting foreign objects into them, and even communications outlets can all be installed right on your wall plate. You may even have antiquated ungrounded sockets if your home is older, which should be replaced to protect your family from electrical shock and damage to your appliances.
Keeping the Signs in Mind
Everyone ignores their electrical system until it becomes a problem. You can help avoid dangerous fires and add value to your home by keeping a few warning signs in mind. Be on the lookout for loose plugs that can permit electrical arcing. Do not take signs of physical damage or discoloration of the wall plates for granted. Consider upgrading to more modern sockets for the safety and convenience they can bring to your life. If you take care of your outlets, they will take care of your power needs for years to come.