Thu. Jul 9th, 2020

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Do I have to replace my Outlet?

4 min read

If you think about it, it’s probably a yes.

Here are a few telling tales that your outlet has served its time.

Sockets are often used continuously for years without maintenance, they are usually very robust, but are all susceptible to damage that can be overlooked. If damage or other signs are not addressed, the outlet is not at its best; it can lead to a power failure and possibly be dangerous.

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Cracks in Front of the Socket

An obvious but often overlooked. Cracks may appear, although years of wear or damage from an external source. Excessive heat caused by a malfunction at the back of a power outlet can also cause the front of the outlet to burst. Cracks not only expose live wires, but can also pose a serious fire risk due to the dust that accumulates therein. If you notice a crack, stop using that outlet until it is replaced.

 

Heat Scorching Marks

The accumulation of dust, overload and poor wiring can all cause electrical outlets to generate excessive heat that causes heat burns.

These types of markings are usually dark brown in color and are located on the outlet or plug, so both must be checked regularly. If you notice scorching spots or the plugs feel warm, disconnect the plug from the socket before disconnecting devices. The socket may only be used again after it has been correctly inspected. I have seen cases where so much heat has been generated that the shape of the socket and the plug are distorted and even fused.

Electricity Switches off Temporarily

If a device connected to your electrical outlet is switched off and then on again, you must first check that the device itself is not defective by connecting it to another electrical outlet. If the device works properly, this is a sign that there is a problem with your outlet. This can be caused by a number of problems, including loose connections at the back of the socket. Always ask a competent person to check the connection.

Blow fuses

Fuses that constantly blow can be very frustrating and can have various causes. If you have a fuse that continues to blow, try plugging the device into a different outlet. If the fuse does not blow into the new connection, there is probably a problem with the other one and this should be checked as soon as possible.

Green ‘goo’

If you have very old wiring from the 60s and early 70s, you can have green goo appear around the socket. This sticky goo is broken down “di-isotyl” a chemical reaction between copper and insulation in old cables and can still be found in some properties. If you notice this goo, you should contact a qualified electrician as soon as possible. Depending on the extent of the problem, this may mean that a new thread is needed.

Arcing Sounds

A crackling, buzzing or popping sound coming from your outlet indicates that something is wrong. This is called sparking. This is a small spark that jumps over the back of your outlet and is usually caused by damaged or loose wires. If you hear these noises, have the plug checked as soon as possible. Failure to repair the device may cause a small explosion or electrical fire in the back of an electrical outlet.

How do I prevent damage to my sockets?

It is advisable to visually check a power outlet every time you use it. Those who are always in use, such as the TV or the plug and the socket of the kettle, must be checked regularly.

Top tips to prevent damage to your sockets:

  • Avoid overloading sockets with extension cables. Never connect one extension cable to the other, as this can cause overheating. Try the socket overload calculator.
  • Do not purchase generic or inexpensive devices and only use recommended accessories for electrical equipment. For example, it is known that inexpensive replacement telephone chargers damage electrical outlets and cause electrical fires.
  • Only use plugs with the British standard safety mark.
  • Always carefully remove the plugs, do not pull on the cable.
  • Make sure there is enough space around the socket to allow airflow.

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Do not leave furniture behind a plug that can bump into the socket or be pressed against it, which will put pressure on the socket.