Outlets connect us to the electricity in our homes, but let’s be honest, we don’t notice them much until they’re not working right. When the plug keeps slipping from the wall, the outlet feels hot, or the breaker keeps tripping, that's when we are most aware of our electrical outlets. Here we cover some of the most common issues and their solutions.
Electrical Outlet Problems
As you observe your home for potential hazards, keep an eye out for these common outlet issues.
- Frequent electrical surges. While you may experience surges during a storm, they can also come as the result of poor electrical wiring, damaged power lines, or faulty appliances. The surge itself is short-lived, but if they recur often, they can cause damage to your electrical system.
Solution: If your electrical system experiences frequent surges, you will want the help of an electrician.
- Hot light switch. This could be a sign of damaged electrical wiring.
Solution: Have a trusted electrician inspect your electrical system to determine what repair is needed.
- Circuit breaker trips often. While having your breaker trip simply means your home is protected, if it trips frequently, it’s a sign of bigger issues. Either you are overloading the circuit by running appliances that draw too much power, or there is an issue with your wiring.
Solution: Upgrade your electrical system to manage the current your appliances need to operate.
- There aren’t enough outlets. Older homes often have few outlets available, since households used fewer devices. Extension cords can help; however, relying on them too heavily can become a fire hazard.
Solution: Upgrade your system with more outlets on a new breaker.
- You experience electric shocks. Feeling a sharp jolt when you turn an appliance on or off means the electrical outlet wiring is damaged or installed improperly. You will also experience this more in older homes where the circuit capacity is too low to handle the draw of modern devices.
Solution: Repair or upgrade your electrical system.
Improve Outlet Safety
Some problems pop up without warning, but how can you prepare to avoid them? Here are some questions that can lead you in a safer direction.
- Why is grounding important? Electricity needs to have a safe passage back to the ground so that it doesn’t accidentally pass through you. The third prong connects to the ground wire which offers less resistance than a person would and gives the current a safe path back to the ground.
- Do I need GFCI outlets? Yes, to avoid potential electrocution, a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is necessary for wet places – for instance, kitchens and bathrooms. By monitoring the flow of electricity, the GFCI can stop the current in a fraction of a second. This saves you the risk of deadly shock that even a breaker can’t trip fast enough to avoid.
- What can add safety to my outlets? Have your electrical system inspected and replace degrading outlets and wiring. When choosing your electrical outlet type, install modern safety outlets, such as GFCI outlets, wherever possible. In other places, we recommend ensuring there is a ground wire available and choosing three-pronged outlets over two-pronged outlets.
- Why is my electric outlet not working? A dead outlet without a tripped breaker could be the result of a tripped GFCI. The interrupter is designed to stop the electrical flow, which would affect the outlets that come after.
- Can I DIY electrical problems? We do not recommend this. Identifying electrical issues is not difficult and many ambitious individuals may consider tackling a project themselves; however, a simple misstep could severely harm you or cause damage to your home. That's why professional electricians train for years to get licensed and certified, ensuring safety in your home.
Find Expert Orlando Electricians
Electrical problems can be extremely dangerous. Ensuring your electrical system is up to code allows you to maximize the safety of your home. If you are experiencing issues with your outlets or any other electrical problems, our team of certified electricians at US Heating & Air Conditioning® is here to help. Simply call us at 407-337-3925 or request service online to get started.