Faulty outlets are a common cause of electrical fires and electrocutions in the home. Outlets can present a danger for a number of reasons, including:
- Old, Ungrounded Outlets. In older homes it's not uncommon to still find ungrounded outlets, or outlets that have old wiring with connections. Old outlets should be replaced with new, grounded outlets to reduce the risk of fire and electrocution.
- Worn Out Outlets. Over time outlets can become worn out from use, especially if cords are not unplugged properly (always unplug from the grip at the end of the plug, never yank on the cord). When inserting a plug into an outlet it should feel snug, not overly tight or loose.
- Improperly Installed or Damaged Outlets. Improperly wired receptacles can be dangerous and are a common cause of home electrical fires. Wiring should always be performed by a licensed electrician. If an outlet cover is cracked or feels warm to the touch, have the receptacle inspected by an electrician.
- Outlets That Are Not Childproof. If there are young children in the home, don't rely on plastic outlet covers, they can easily be removed by a curious toddler. Have tamper resistant receptacles (TRR) installed. They will deactivate the outlet when a foreign object is inserted.
- Outlets in wet locations that do not have GFCIs. Outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and outdoors should be equipped with a ground fault interrupter (GFI) to prevent electrical shock if exposed to water. Test the GFI by pressing the "test" button located on the outlet, it should deactivate the outlet immediately.
By inspecting your outlets for any of the conditions above you can protect your home and family from the risk of accidental electrocution or fire. If you need help, Maitz Home Services is here to answer all your electrical questions.