Signs That You Need an Electrical Outlet Upgrade

We may not think much about it, but there comes time when many of us need an electrical outlet upgrade. Having old electrical outlets can make things inconvenient or even dangerous for homeowners. There are several reasons why one might need an electrical outlet upgrade. Read on to find out some of those reasons.

Wall Plates as Part of Your Electrical Outlet Upgrade:

When inspecting your electrical outlets, it will be hard not to notice your wall plates. These plates, which surround your electrical outlets, could become a fire hazard. This can occur when your plates begin to trap dust, lint and hair. This accumulation can clog up the wiring behind your electrical outlet making it very easy for a fire to occur.

Some wall plates may be undersized so that cracks and gaps start to appear. This will not only increase the chances of dirt and dust accumulation, but expose wiring that can lead to hazard as well. If you find that wall plates are showing cracks and gaps, or if they are getting old and you suspect they may be accumulating dirt, it may be a good idea to replace them.

Fixing Home Improvement Issues

Another reason why an electrical outlet upgrade may be necessary, is because of an issue with home improvement. Although we would always like to believe that every electrical installation and home improvement performed in our house was done safely, that is not always the case. Contractors can make mistakes which may lead to a need to have electrical outlets replaced.

A common problem that occurs when a painting contractor’s work is done in the home is that outlets end up getting painted over. This is dangerous for a few reasons. First of all, it clogs the receptacle with paint. Once this paint hardens, it makes it difficult to insert the plug into the receptacle. Trying to force the plug into the receptacle could break the plug. Although you could try to scrape the paint out of the outlet with a sharp object, this can be dangerous and should only be attempted if the power to the outlet is shut off.

However, there is also another problem a painted over outlet can cause that is even more dangerous. This occurs when paint gets on the metal spring blades inside the receptacle. These blades work by making contact with the prongs to activate the electricity. If there is paint on the blades, it may prevent electricity flow, or create only partial contact which creates a point of resistance through the flow This resistance creates heat that can lead to a fire.

Charred Outlets:

An electrical outlet upgrade may also be necessary if your outlet appears brown or charred in appearance. This could be a sign that you have a hot wire that isn’t grounded behind the outlet. To solve this problem, the outlet may need to be rewired or replaced entirely. If you need to replace your electrical outlet, you may consider getting a new one that has a built in tester and surge protection that can reduce the chance of electrical hazards in the future.

Hot Outlets:

A hot outlet is another sign that an electrical outlet upgrade may be needed. When checking your outlets, put your hand on them to feel their temperature. If the plate feels warm and the screws are hot to the touch, the outlet is probably overheating. This may be due to having too much power running through the outlet.

Check what appliances and devices you have running through the outlet. It may be a good idea to switch some of these to an outlet that can handle a larger load. Note: certain devices like hair dryers and curling irons may cause outlets to become slightly warm and may not necessarily be a sign of overheating.

A General Electricity Upgrade?

As stated before, many of us rarely think about our electrical systems until there is an issue that arises. However, if you are living in a house that is over 25 years old and the electricity has not been upgraded, it may be about that time. Not only is this a great way to make sure that your outlets are safe, but it is also a good way to get a technology upgrade. For instance, there are now outlets and wall plates that include USB chargers that plug right into the wall making the need for a USB charger obsolete. Other updated features include phone jacks, fiber, multi-port connectors and dimmers controls that adjust lighting in different areas of the room.

And when thinking about electrical outlet upgrades, the possibilities are endless. In wall plates, there are also a variety of styles and colors available. Although they are relatively small home accessories, they can really serve to give your house an updated look.

Selling Your Home

Although we have already established that an updated electrical system is not the first thing on most people’s minds, it will become important if you are selling your home. Home buyers will ask about your electrical system and want to know how recently it’s been updated. A full electrical upgrade may be pricey, but an electrical outlet upgrade is more affordable and may be a good step in ensuring the house will be safe for your new buyer.

Bug Infestations

Well, if you don’t want to think too much about your electrical system, you probably really don’t want to think about the possibility of bug infestations in your home. However, they are common occurrences and many bugs hide in walls behind electrical outlets, specifically bedbugs. Although you may think they are better off hidden, finding these bugs and treating your house for them is a good way to get rid of them before they start to invade your living space. Looking behind outlets will help you to find bugs and reduce the possibility of whole house infestation.

General Tips about Electrical Outlet Upgrade

If you are thinking about doing an electrical outlet upgrade, you may want to consider getting some GFCI outlets to replace the old, existing ones. These shut off electric power circuits when they detect that current is flowing across an unintended path such as water or a human conductor. They are great for increased safety.

Also, hotter appliances are more likely to cause a fire. These include gaming equipment and other equipment that is rarely switched off. Keep these items on their own shelves that will provide each adequate cooling to avoid overheating. Also, keep an eye on electrical outlets that are providing power for these devices and they are most likely to lead to hazards.

An electrical outlet upgrade may not be a top shelf priority, but it should be something homeowners think of often enough, as to prevent fire and other hazardous situations. If you haven’t gotten the electricity in your home updated, or if you see signs that your outlets need to be upgraded, do not hesitate in having these replaced. Follow these precautions to keep your home safe.