Some Shocking Information About Loose Electrical Outlets

The electrical outlets in your home are all mounted in electrical boxes mounted to the studs that frame your walls. And like anything in a home, these boxes and the outlets can begin to work loose over time. It could be loose screws or a nail that is dislodged, or the box could be damaged. But the point is that these boxes are the anchor points for your outlets. And any time you notice a loose box or outlet, the issue needs to be corrected quickly to avoid a potential fire or shock hazard.

Not Always A Simple Fix

Many homeowners think that just a few twists of a screwdriver will solve the problem of a loose outlet or electrical box. But in many situations, that is not the case. The screw is loose because there is damage to the box, the stud holding the box, or the bracket used for mounting. And it is never wise to begin jamming a screwdriver or your fingers into a live outlet box to determine why it is loose.

Why Outlets And Outlet Boxes Become Dangerously Loose

When you think about inserting a plug into an outlet, you don’t measure the required force. But when you go to unplug the cord, you are more likely to notice the amount of effort you exert to remove the plug from the outlet. The resistance you are working against comes from the box and the bracket holding the outlet, not the tiny slivers of metal touching the electrical plug. So each time you give a slight tug to unplug a cord, you are applying stress to the electrical box and outlet bracket.

The Potential Hazards Of A Loose Outlet in Your Home

Like most small annoyances around your home, a minor issue will soon grow into a more severe problem. And a loose electrical outlet is no exception to this rule. A slightly loose outlet can result in several other potentially hazardous issues, including:

  • A Cracked Faceplate: While you might think that a cracked faceplate is nothing more than an aesthetic issue, that is far from the truth. The plastic faceplate is designed to protect users from an electric shock. When the faceplate is damaged, live electrical wires and current can contact your skin when you are inserting a plug into the outlet and cause an electrical shock.
  • Damage To The Wiring: An electrical outlet is not designed to move inside the electrical box. It is mounted so that the wires fit inside the box, but there is no extra wire left to accommodate the box’s movement. When you unplug a cord and pull the outlet away from the wall, you place stress on the electrical wires and their connection to the outlet. The result could be broken wires, an electrical short, or even an electrical fire.
  • Inconsistent Charging: Loose wiring or a loose outlet can result in erratic electricity to anything plugged into the outlet. This could explain why your lamp is dimming or why your phone is not charging correctly. And if left uncorrected, that fluctuating power flow can even cause damage to the batteries it is supposed to be recharging.

We all take electrical outlets for granted when they are functioning correctly. But when you notice an outlet moves when you unplug something, the situation is serious. Call (877) 577- 2759 for a repair appointment. A licensed electrician from Reliable Electrical Services will correct the issue and inspect all other outlets. Don’t let this minor issue go uncorrected and cause a more severe problem like a house fire or harmful electrical shock.