Since we use electrical outlets nonstop every day, it’s easy to forget how dangerous they can be. All that separates you from the high-voltage electrical currents flowing through your wires is a hard plastic shell. If your outlets ever seem loose, it’s important to perform outlet repair right away. Loose outlets could expose you to direct voltage, sparks, or other electrical hazards.
Outlets can loosen in two different ways:
- The whole outlet face wobbles.
- The receptacles are so loose that plug falls out of the outlet.
These problems occur for different reasons and require different fixes. Luckily, we can teach you how to fix an electrical outlet in either scenario. Here’s how your outlet got loose, why it’s a problem, and how to fix it.
Why is my outlet loose?
Electrical outlets are mounted inside of an electrical box within your wall. Electrical boxes that are too far back aren’t secure enough, which affects the stability of the entire fixture. Outlets attached to these boxes will eventually loosen.
This 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 an electrical outlet that wobbles?
Fixing a loose outlet requires outlet shims, a wire tester, and a screwdriver. Once you’ve collected these tools, take each of the following steps:
Time needed: 10 minutes
- Turn off power to the outlet.
Use the circuit breaker in your electric panel specific to that room.
- Test outlet.
Insert your wire tester and be certain the power is off before you proceed.
- Remove outlet.
Unscrew the outlet cover and outlet screws. Remove the outlet from the box so that it hangs freely.
- Add outlet shims.
Place outlet shims onto the outlet screws. These shims will compensate for any gap between the screws and the recessed box. You may need more than one shim per screw depending how far back your box is.
- Replace and test.
Replace the outlet back in the housing box and tighten the screws. If it still seems loose, add more shims. Reinstall the outlet cover, restore power and use your newly secure outlet!
How to fix a plug that falls out.
If plugs constantly fall out of your outlet, the problem is the outlet’s receptacle. An outlet’s receptacle is the two narrow slots your plugs go into. 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. New outlets are inexpensive and well-worth the peace of mind.
Replacing an outlet requires rewiring it into the electrical box. It’s crucial that you attach each wire to its appropriate connection to avoid shorts. If your electrical plugs keep falling out and you’re not comfortable with electrical outlet repair, we recommend calling a professional to replace it. An electrician can replace an outlet quickly and easily to ensure your home is safely powered.
Electrical Outlet Repair for Los Angeles
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.