At first noticing a slight shift in your outlet when you are trying to plug an appliance might seem weird. But when you try again, you confirm that the outlet is indeed loose. A loose electrical outlet can be uncomfortable to use not to mention dangerous. It should be handled immediately.
What could cause a loose outlet?
An outlet that has been used for a while can end up with some loose screws. If this is the cause, it is usually easy to fix without a service call.
There is such a thing as overusing an electrical outlet. Constant plugging and unplugging can wear out the outlet and reduce its efficiency. An overused outlet that becomes loose will most likely need to be replaced.
If the outlet was installed improperly or in a big hole, it would come loose quickly. Only an experienced electrician should install an electrical outlet.
How to fix a loose outlet
It is possible to get your loose outlet back in working order with a few simple steps. However, this depends on the cause of the loose outlet. A replacement is better carried out by an electrician.
Safety first! Start by turning off the power to the outlet. Use a voltage tester to confirm that there is no more power in the outlet.
Unscrew the faceplate of the outlet to see the interior parts. When this is done it is easy to identify if the loose culprit is the plug or the faceplate. Apply a little pressure to move the plug and if it seems secure, go on to screw the faceplate tightly.
If the plug is the loose one, check the screws. Screw them tight if they are not screwed all the way. It is also possible for the screws to be tightened but seem unable to support the plug. You can solve this with outlet shims. Outlet shims are available in your local store and easy to use.
Dangerous underlying issues with a loose outlet
Fixing a loose outlet is relatively easy and safe when you follow the right steps above. At the same time, there could be some underlying issues that you should not attempt to fix on your own.
Broken switch plates or outlet covers
A situation like this exposes the wires and everything else inside the outlet. This is dangerous and needs to be replaced immediately.
Frayed wires mean that the metal wire is exposed. They can occur as a result of age or heat. This should be handled by an electrician.
Scorch marks are a clear sign of danger and problems with the electrical wiring. Do not ignore visible scorch marks.
An experienced electrician can properly install an electrical outlet. To avoid problems due to poor installation, call a trusted professional at Elcon Electric. We provide outlet installation, repair, and replacement services. If you feel uncomfortable handling any outlet issues yourself, don’t hesitate to call us for prompt service.