Here's what to look for when examining outlets.

Tips for examining your power outlets

January 30th, 2017 by

Here's what to look for when examining outlets.

You use your wall power outlets every day, but it's important not to take these crucial components for granted. Outlets are generally reliable, but that doesn't mean they don't need a little extra care from time to time. It can make a difference to the appearance of your home, as well as your safety.

Not sure what to look for when examining your outlets? Don't worry, you don't necessarily have to call an electrician. Here are some tips:

  • Look for cracked outlet plates. If the plate covering your outlet is old, or if it was screwed in too tight, it may have a crack. This isn't just an aesthetic issue. If the gap is large enough, dust could enter, potentially increasing the risk for a fire hazard. In addition, once gaps grow larger than about 4.5 millimeters, the chance of a sudden short circuit increases.
  • Feel for unexplained heat. When outlets or wiring become worn out over time, there is a small chance that they will heat up and start smoldering. This could lead to a dangerous electrical fire. If you smell hints of burning insulation, or feel that your outlets or plugs are warmer than they should be, it's time to get a replacement.
  • Check for infestations. The next time you peek under your outlet covers, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. It is not uncommon for insect infestations, such as bed bugs, to take up residence in these crannies. If you have a bug problem of any sort, be sure to check here.

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