Upgrading the electrical receptacles in your house may reduce the chances of a fire or electrocution and ultimately improve your home’s overall safety.
Taking a closer look at your outlets each year will help you identify possible issues before they become dangerous problems. We are breaking down some of the key signs it is time to upgrade your receptacles and what they indicate about your electrical system.
Learn more about when to update electrical receptacles to keep your home and family safer.
When to Update Electrical Outlets
According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical failure or malfunction is responsible for 47,700 home fires
every year. Taking your electrical system seriously is essential for maintaining safety and avoiding hazards.
A few tell-tale signs will help you discover when it is time to upgrade your home’s receptacles. Explore the following reasons to swap out your old outlets with something new:
Sparks or Shock
When you insert a plug into an outlet and see sparks or feel an electric shock, it is likely time to upgrade that receptacle or check for wiring problems.
Plugs Aren’t Staying In
Inserting a plug that will not stay put in the outlet is not just annoying, and it is a reason to upgrade your receptacles.
Loose outlets can interrupt your home’s electricity flow and can cause a phenomenon called arcing. Arcing can produce excessive heat and become a fire hazard.
When you visually inspect your home’s receptacles, you should not notice discoloration around the holes or on the wall. These are often signs of short-circuiting and can leave unsightly burn marks and even start a fire at the outlet.
Discoloration is a sign you should immediately update your receptacle.
Hot to the Touch
When you feel around your home’s electrical receptacles, the outlet and surrounding wall should be at room temperature. Outlets should be swapped out immediately if they are hot to the touch. Ensure everything is unplugged, and do not use the receptacle until the outlet is repaired.
Smoke or Burning
You should immediately turn off the circuit at your home’s breaker box if you notice a burning smell or any smoke coming from an outlet. You will likely need to evacuate and call 911 to ensure your house is safe. This is a very serious sign that something is wrong with your home’s electrical system, and the receptacle will definitely need replacing.
Test Button Failure
If you press the “test” button on your receptacle and any of the following occurs, you’ll likely need to upgrade your outlet:
- The reset button does not pop out or will not push inward.
- The reset button is out, but the outlet is still delivering electricity.
- The reset button is in but not providing any power.
- The reset button pops out when a plug is inserted into the receptacle.
These are all signs your ground fault interrupter is not working properly.
A cracked or damaged outlet cover may seem like a cosmetic issue, but it can lead to serious problems.
Dust and debris can enter the receptacle and wreak havoc on your home’s electrical system. If your cover has been damaged for a while, it may be beneficial to opt for an upgrade.
If your light flickers upon being plugged into an outlet, the receptacle may not be suited to handle the electrical demand of the lamp.
You may need to replace the outlet with something that can handle more demand.
2-Pronged Receptacles vs. 3-Pronged Receptacles
2-Pronged receptacles are very common in older homes. They consist of only two slots. The left slot connects to the neutral wire that directs the current back to the circuit breaker. The right slot connects to the hot wire that is responsible for bringing the electrical current from the breaker box to the outlet.
3-Pronged receptacles feature a third slot at the bottom center of your outlet. It is connected to a grounding wire that takes hazardous electrical currents and directs them into the ground to be neutralized. These are much safer and better for your home than 2-pronged options.
Even if your home’s outlets seem to function fine, you should consider upgrading any 2-pronged receptacles for 3-pronged alternatives.
What to Update on Receptacles
When a professional updates your receptacles, they may tend to a few different features, depending on the outlet’s needs. The following are three components of an outlet that may require updating from time to time:
- Cover: The cover or face plate protects the inner workings of your outlet and keeps dirt and dust out away from your wires. It is best to replace damaged covers promptly to minimize any buildup.
- Receptacle: The receptacle itself may be faulty and require replacement.
- Wires: The wires can become worn or degrade over time and may need swapping out for new options.
Why Turn to a Professional for Your Home’s Electrical Upgrades?
When your home’s electrical system acts up, turning to a professional for houeshol electrical repairs and installation services
can have many advantages. Here are some of the key benefits of having an expert tend to your receptacles:
- Speed: A professional can perform services more efficiently than DIY methods so you can get back to enjoying your home as soon as possible.
- Safety: An electrician will understand how to properly perform services with safety in mind, and they can help ensure your outlets are ready for use.
- Tools: Experts have the tools and knowledge to update your receptacles and perform diagnostic inspections of your electrical system.
Contact Del-Air for Home Electrical Services in Central Florida
If you are interested in upgrading your home’s receptacles or having an expert inspect your outlets from top to bottom, turn to Del-Air Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical. We are here to help Central Florida homeowners enjoy safe and comfortable conditions in their residences.
Since 1983, we have been dedicated to providing outstanding customer service. Our team of experienced technicians can ensure your electrical system meets all standards
set forth by the National Electric Code.
Are you ready to learn more about our electrical installation services? Contact Del-Air
HVAC License #CAC051477 Plumbing License #CFC057524 Electrical License #EC13010622