Dangers of a Loose Electrical Outlet Box
Electrical outlets are fixed to outlet boxes, which are fastened to the wall stud or the drywall. With time, the outlet box can loosen from where it was once anchored to. Most people think that fixing loose outlet boxes is a simple task. That’s where they go wrong.
Handling loose electrical outlet boxes doesn’t merely involve tightening a couple of screws. You may need to make replacements or even resize the holes in your drywall. While you might spot some causes at a glance, there are more hidden and insidious dangers that can lurk within your home.
Causes of a Loose Electrical Outlet Box
Faulty outlets are one of the leading causes of electrocution and electrical fires. These outlets can pose a danger to your family for several reasons.
- Old, Ungrounded Outlets: In older homes, it’s common to either find ungrounded outlets or outlet boxes that have outdated wiring with the connection. It would be best if you considered replacing old and ungrounded outlets with new ones to minimize the risk of electrocution and fire. Of course, this should be done by a profession to prevent further damages.
- Worn Outlets: Over time, your outlets can wear out from use. This happens especially if the cords aren’t unplugged correctly. Do you always yank on the cord? Pulling on the cord weakens the outlet box making it loose and inefficient. That’s why it’s in your best interest to unplug your extension or chargers from the grip of the plug. When inserting your plug into the outlet box, it should feel snug, not be loose, or overly tight.
- Improperly Installed Outlets: Improperly wired outlets can be dangerous and one of the leading causes of home electrical fires. With that in mind, it’s wise always to seek help from a licensed electrician anytime you need electrical services. If your outlet feels warm when you touch it, have it inspected as soon as possible by an expert.
- Outlet Boxes That Aren’t Childproof: If you have young children in the house, it will help not relying on the plastic outlet covers. A curious toddler can easily interfere with them, making them loose in the process. Here, you’ll need the help of a licensed electrician to install tamper-resistant receptacles (TRR). These devices will deactivate the outlet anytime a foreign object is inserted.
Beware of Electrical Shock
Electric shock is one of the most hazardous effects of loose outlets. If this happens to you when plugging or unplugging a cord, it will help to get it fixed immediately for you and your family’s safety. Depending on the level of the situation, you can experience a significant shock. It can also cause inconveniences and disruptions in your other power fixtures. A professional electrician can help deal with loose electrical outlet boxes, thus preventing electrocution. Inadequate expertise, lack of protective measures, and the absence of the necessary tools can put you and your property in danger.
The dangers of an electrical shock vary depending on so many factors. How high the voltage is, the type of current, the current flow through the body, the person’s health is just but a few of the factors.
An electrical shock can cause burns, or it might not leave any visible marks on your skin. Either way, the current passing through your body can lead to internal damages, cardiac arrest, or other fatal injuries. That’s why you should never hesitate to call in a profession to help you out.
Look for Cracked Faceplates
Electrical outlets provide such a convenient and constant use that you might easily forget that they shield electrical current only by a thin layer of plastic. Over time, these plastic receptacles can dry out, thus leading to cracks. Still, using a cracked faceplate? It’s time you reconsider your options.
Faceplates act as mounting plates that cover your electrical switch. In the case of a loose electrical outlet box, pulling it many times can cause the faceplate to come off. This can pose a significant danger since it exposes bare electrical wires beneath.
Quite commonly, when the faceplate cracks, some pieces can even chip away. This can eventually metal contact points located inside the outlet. All these dangers present a potential fire hazard and a shock risk. If your outlet is in such a condition, it’s in your best interest not to use it until you replace it.
Check for Cord Damage
Do you always use a lot of force to push the power cords into the wall? If so, the chances are that you’ll also need force to plug them off the wall socket. This can cause loose wiring connections, thus rendering the cord ineffective.
In these circumstances, the cord might also get stuck into the loose electrical outlet box. This can lead to an electrical hazard. If you try to apply force to remove them without special tools, you’re putting yourself in great danger.
Besides, your cord can burn inside the loose electrical outlet box leading to a fire hazard. That’s why it’s wise to leave this task to the professionals.
Found yourself in such a situation? A certified electrician can help. He/she will promptly switch off the main power line and has the expertise to handle the situation without causing damages. This eliminates the chances of unnecessary inconveniences.
Beware of Inconsistent Device Charging
If you have a loose electrical outlet box, it can interfere with the power cords by causing inconsistent connections. A change in the links will, in turn, lead to unreliable charging of electronic devices. That’s not all. As time goes by, the fluctuations in how the power flows to the appliances can end up damaging the device’s battery.
Avoid Fire Outbreaks
When an electric outlet box becomes loose, it significantly affects the wiring behind the panel. What ends up occurring next is that there’ll be a high-energy discharge within the outlet itself between two loose blades. Such a scenario is commonly termed as an arc fault, which leads to the release of heat massively within a short time.
Over time, it picks up the momentum resulting in fire outbreaks. Even worse, this starts inside the walls where there exist countless flammable materials. Here, the fire will substantially spread, and before you notice, it will be too late. Can you try picturing that? Not a pleasant sight.
Call the Professionals
If you have a loose electrical outlet box, it’s best not to waste any time fixing it. It takes a professional electrician to set the outlet box and handle all your electrical problems. That’s where we come in. At Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning, we provide top-notch heating, cooling, and electrical services to homeowners in Western Washington.
We offer free energy and air quality consultations to our customers that they can rely on to keep their indoor air safe to breathe. Our fully licensed and NATE-certified technicians are dedicated to performing high-quality work, and we stand behind our services with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.
Contact Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn more about how we can help and schedule a residential electrical service.