Loose outlets are dangerous hazards that you can only see if you are looking for them. So, getting them sorted asap is of utmost importance. But how to fix a loose outlet?
You may need to repair or replace the outlet depending on the damage done. However, doing that isn’t difficult, and you don’t need an electrician.
Luckily, the ultimate guide is here for you is in this article, and with some quick fixes, you can fix the loose outlet in just a matter of hours.
Why does an Outlet Get Loose?
What causes electrical outlets to be loose? It can become loose due to multiple reasons. One reason could be that the main contact points of the outlets wore out over time, so it does not have enough grip to hold the plug.
Another reason could be an improper installation of the outlet to the wall, so the sockets can shift in and can become wobbly. Lastly, another reason could mean that the wires attached to the socket ports are not properly attached.
When an outlet falls within any conditions specified above, then you know that it is a loose electrical outlet.
So, when you see a loose outlet in a household or within a workspace, you should address it immediately. Especially in households, as there are kids and small pets who might be exposed to these risks.
Dangers of a Loose Outlet
Homes are usually built with wiring that isn’t well-suited for an increased electrical load. When you plug in an appliance or electronic device, it can draw more power than a typical outlet can handle.
This can cause the outlet to slip out of the socket. This can be known as “arcing.” This can result in sparks, smoke, or an electrical fire.
Secondly, if the contact pins of the outlet wear out and become loose, then the plug is lightly gripped inside. And if your skin gets into contact with the exposed prongs, there is a high chance you might get electrocuted and can harm yourself.
In the event that the outlet is hanging off of the divider of the wall and the wires behind it are completely uncovered, the chances of getting your hands on a live electrical current significantly go up and increase the risks of electrical fires.
So, when the question emerges, can a loose outlet cause a fire, or are they dangerous? You know now that it does account for the majority of the fire damages to both properties and to living things as well.
Fixing the Loose Outlets
Before fixing the outlets, some preparations are needed. You should clear any objects around the outlet area, wear protective equipment such as gloves and ground yourself to prevent getting electrocuted.
The tools you need are a small to medium-sized flat head screwdriver to remove and re-attach the outlet and a multimeter or a mains tester screwdriver to test if there is any electricity passing through the socket.
You know the tools and preparations needed; now you will know how to fix a loose outlet.
There are a couple of ways how you can fix it. You can either repair or replace a loose outlet.
The first method is to repair a loose outlet.
Repairing a Loose Outlet:
- Cut the power off to the electrical outlet. Use a tester screwdriver to check for electricity.
- Unscrew the outlet cover from the wall.
- Try to tighten the outlets if they are loose. If they are already tight, then try to tighten the electrical box inside the wall. You can also install a box extender or a wall plate spacer to fix a loose electrical box.
- Put electrical plastic spacers on the screws to firmly anchor the outlet in its position.
- Now, screw back the electrical cover outlet and turn the power on to use it again.
Another method is to replace a loose outlet.
Replacing a Loose Outlet:
- Cut the power off to the electrical outlet from the main power terminal. Use a mains tester screwdriver to check for electricity.
- Unscrew the outlet cover.
- Remove the old outlet from the electrical box.
- Unlink the wires from the old outlet.
- Join the wires with screws on the new outlet.
- Screw the new outlet and the cover plate back and turn the power on to use it again.
You can also take some preventive measures which might help against electrical and fire hazards that can occur in the future.
Some preventive steps could be:
- You should install smoke detectors in every room of the house.
- Use recommended wattage light bulbs.
- Hire a qualified electrician for check-ups of electrical outlets and to install advanced safety devices which can detect dangers.
- Try not to overload the outlets.
- If there is any buzzing or burning smell, try to switch off the outlet and repair it.
Trust us for No more Sparks!
You are now updated with the idea of what loose sockets are, the dangers associated, and how to take preventive steps. Now you can fix the loose outlets by yourself in a few hours, and it does not require any special skill set other than being able to turn a screwdriver.
Hopefully, our article is the only thing you need, and with our guidelines, there will be no more sparks in your loose electrical outlets!