10 Oct

Electrical Pilates: Tone those flabby outlets

Loose Electrical Outlets? Tone Them Up!

With older homes, a common issue after years of plugging in and unplugging cords – sometimes with the “yank it” at an angle method – are that the outlets get flabby and loose. Plugs can fall out, or hang just enough to be an electrical hazard.

This is a prime target for a shock to your pets, possibly your children or even you groping around in the dark wondering why the light switch isn’t responding. You may even have such an older home that you still have the two-prong outlets, rather than the ones with the third prong for grounding.  This may also be a great opportunity to convert your outlets to GFCI types.

Two-prong or Three-prong?

Older, two-prong outlets are missing an important safety feature: grounding wire. Grounding wire protects you and your electronics in case of a fault. Two-prong outlets and plugs are commonly found in older homes and older appliances such as vintage toasters and antique lamps. Three-prong outlets were created to ground the current, creating a safety loop within the plug system. Otherwise, YOU became the grounding entity, raising your risk of shock and burns. Replacing two-prong outlets is an important safety upgrade, particularly if you find they are loose.

What Should I Do If They Are Loose?

Fortunately, this is a relatively easy fix. Loose electrical outlets are a safety hazard, so you will want to fix them as soon as notice the blades on your plugs don’t fit nice and snug. Receptacle replacement can be overwhelming and dangerous if you are inexperienced. We strongly recommend you give us a call and schedule a time for one of our qualified electricians to inspect them and make recommendations for replacements. When you call, let us know the following:

  1. How many loose electrical outlets do you have? Also, let us know which ones are in areas that may get wet. This will help us decide how many outlets may need GFCI’s.
  2. How many receptacles are working? Consider purchasing a receptacle tester. This small, inexpensive device will give you information about the outlet, such as correct wiring, if it is grounded, and whether or not it is working.
  3. Inspect the receptacle: In addition to looking out for a loose plug connection, look for a broken face or cracks in the receptacle. A snug fitting plug doesn’t always assure a safe outlet.
  4. How many receptacles are two-prong?  Two-prong outlets should be replaced to meet current codes.

Services We Provide

At Metro’s Best Electric, replacing your out-of-code and loose electrical outlets is one of our specialties. Let’s get your old, flabby, wimpy outlets back into tip-top shape! Westside: Beaverton, Tigard, Lake Oswego and surrounding communities. Eastside: Gresham, West Linn, Troutdale and surrounding communities. Call us today!