Since we use electrical outlets nonstop every day, it’s easy to forget how dangerous they can be. All that separates us from the dangerous, high-voltage electrical currents flowing through our wires is a hard plastic shell. If your outlets ever look loose, it’s very important to fix it right away. Loose outlets could expose you to direct voltage, sparks, or other electrical hazards.
Outlets can loosen in two different ways. Either the whole outlet face wobbles or the receptacles are so loose that plugs fall out of them. These problems occur for different reasons, lead to different dangers, and require different fixes. Luckily, we can teach you how to fix both of them. Here’s how your outlet got loose, why it’s a problem, and how to fix it.
Why is my outlet loose?
Outlets usually loosen because they’re attached to an electrical box that’s installed too far back into the wall. Electrical boxes that are too far back aren’t secure enough, which affects the stability of the entire fixture. That instability could bump or jostle wires loose, creating even more major problems. Loose, damaged, or disconnected wires could shock you or spark, leading to fires and other electrical hazards.
How do I fix a wobbly outlet?
Fixing a loose outlet requires an outlet shims, a wire tester, and a screwdriver. Once you’ve collected these tools, take each of the following steps:
- First, go to your breaker and turn off the power to that room. If you want to be especially safe, turn off the main breaker for your entire home. If you decide to turn off the main breaker, make sure you have a flashlight on hand.
- Use your wire tester on the outlet to make sure the power is off. Don’t proceed until you’re SURE it is.
- Unscrew the outlet and take it off the wall.
- Take your outlet shims and place them onto the outlet screws. These shims work to compensate for any gap between screws and the recessed box. You may need more than one shim per screw based on how recessed your box is.
- Replace the outlet, screw it back in, and check to see if it still seems loose. If it does, repeat the process and add more shims. If it doesn’t, your work is done. You can restore the power and go about your day.
Why are plugs falling out and how do I fix it?
If plugs constantly fall out of your outlet, the problem is the outlet’s receptacle. An outlet’s receptacle is the two little slots you plug your plugs into. The contact points are usually the problem that affects your receptacle. Contact points and other parts of your outlet wear out over time. Old, worn out outlets and receptacles could arc, spark, or start fires.
If your outlet receptacle is worn out, the best way to fix it is to simply replace it. Replacing an outlet requires rewiring a part of your home’s interior electrical wiring, however, so it isn’t a simple job. If your electrical plugs keep falling out, we recommend calling a professional to replace it. An electrician can replace an outlet quickly and easily.
These are fairly simple electrical fixes, but even the simplest electrical fixes pose some risk. If you have even the slightest doubt in your ability to make an electrical fix safely, don’t do it.
Instead, call an accredited, professional electrician like the ones employed at Mike Diamond. Our technicians will be able to fix your loose outlets or any other electrical problems you face quickly, safely, and correctly.