According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), faulty electrical outlets are the third leading cause of home electrical fires and account for over a billion dollars in property damage, nearly 500 deaths, and some 1,4000 injuries each year.
Most people don't give a second thought to their electrical outlets, but when you take these shocking statistics into consideration, it is not surprising to see homeowners across the country taking proactive measures to minimize electrical fire hazards Regularly inspecting your electrical outlets or receptacles is the first step in catching a problem before it turns into something more serious. Let's go over some key indicators that it’s time to replace your electrical outlets.
5 Signs That You Need to Upgrade Your Electrical Outlets
Whether it be a two-pronged outlet, a three-pronged outlet, AFCI or GFCI, no matter the outlet, you still need to be mindful of the condition they are in. Here we will discuss what to keep an eye out for and when it is time to update your home’s electrical outlets to avoid potentially catastrophic damage to your property, or worst-case scenario, injury to you or a loved one.
- Two-Prong Outlets – Adopted in all 50 states, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publishes the most current National Electrical Code (NEC) guidelines so that builders and homeowners alike can keep their electrical systems up-to-date and operating safely. That being said, the traditional two-prong outlets that you may have seen growing up are now a thing of the past.
According to the NEC, all homes constructed after 1965 are required, by law, to have grounded three-prong outlets installed throughout the property. The reason being is that the older two-prong outlets are not grounded and are more at risk of causing electrical fires. If your home happens to have the old two-prong outlets of yesteryear it is absolutely time to call a professional electrician and update your outlets to safer Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets (GFCI).
Outlets Are Hot to the Touch – While a lukewarm wall plate isn’t something to get frazzled about, if you notice that your outlets are hot to the touch, it could be a sign that there are damaged or frayed wires leading to that outlet. This could present a serious electrical fire hazard. You should immediately find the circuit breaker that is assigned to that outlet and turn it to the off position and call a licensed electrician to come and inspect that outlet before using it again.
Outlets Are Discolored or Have Singe Marks on Them – This is a major cause for concern. A singed or discolored outlet or wall plate could mean that there are wires behind the outlet that have already shorted out, causing them to heat up to the point of burning the wiring. Or it could be a sign that the outlet wasn’t properly installed. In either case, you will need to contact a local electrician in your area to have them inspected and replaced.
Appliance Plugs Falling Out of Outlets or Are Loose – Loose outlets are not only an inconvenience, as they can make using your appliances a hassle, but they can pose a real safety hazard as well. Loose connections may lead to electrical arcing. Electrical arcing is when an electrical current jumps a circuit or between two conductors. Liken it to a mini lightning bolt just freely darting from the outlet to the plug. As you can imagine that isn’t a good thing and can spark an electrical fire if not handled properly.
Sparks, Smoke, Popping, or Sizzling – This one should be a no-brainer. But for the sake of informing the masses, if you see sparks or smoke coming from any of your outlets you should immediately cut power to that outlet and call a trusted, local electrician. If you hear a popping or sizzling noise, or anything resembling those symptoms it could mean your wiring has been exposed to water. Follow the above precautions and call a professional.
Contact a Professional Electrician for Electrical Inspections & Installations
Make your home a safe haven. Express Electrical is open for professional outlet repair, inspections, and electrical services in Los Angeles. Express Electrical is taking steps to follow CDC guidelines to the letter in regards to COVID-19. We are enacting added safety precautions to ensure our customers and their home environments are left undisturbed.
Express Electrical Services offers superior Los Angeles outlet installation and rewiring services. Both will add value to your property and save you money in the long run. To find out more, call 323-727-7799 today!