Your home's electrical outlets power everything within your home from the television to the washing machine. As such, damage to your outlets can have far-reaching implications and can cause a great deal of disruption to your everyday life if they suddenly give out on you. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can look out for to determine when you should contact an electrical professional to repair or replace your electrical outlets before they stop working.
Discoloration around your outlets, especially dark burn marks and charring, can indicate a serious problem with the wiring within the outlet. Sometimes, the discoloration can only be inside the actual outlet; this indicates an electrical fire internally. This is a serious issue and shouldn't be ignored: charring can indicate that an electrical fire is extremely likely, usually due to exposed wiring. Even if the discoloration is old, you should contact an electrical professional immediately to take a look at the wiring.
If an outlet seems to be emitting a great deal of heat, or if the outlet cover is hot to the touch, your outlet is likely damaged in some way. Stripped-away insulation or faulty wiring can contribute to excessive heat generation by outlets, as can a number of other structural problems behind the outlet itself. You should avoid plugging anything into this outlet and unplug any appliances or plugs that may be attached to it currently. In addition, if possible, it may be a good idea to go to the central breaker box in your home and turn the power off to that outlet or region to mitigate against the risk of fire.
If your outlet sparks when you plug an appliance into it, immediately remove the plug. While this can indicate that there is a serious issue with the outlet itself, it can also point to a problem with the appliance instead. In order to troubleshoot this, you can plug a low-voltage, simple appliance into the outlet, like a small lamp or a phone charger. If the outlet still sparks, the issue is with the wiring and outlet, but if it does not, the issue may be with the appliance instead. If the outlet continues to spark, contact an electrician right away to take a look at the outlet, as sparking usually points to a short within the outlet and can be a cause of electrical fires.
Talk to a company such as Safe-Way Electric & Solar Co. to set up an appointment.