Dealing with warm outlets

Everyone’s used to their modern amenities these days and no matter what home you go to – outlets are rammed full of plugs, devices and the like. But because we’re so used to what we have at our disposal, we often take for granted any safety issues that might pop up – and things like safety get routinely cast aside.

And one of the most important things you can do is checking your electrical outlets – especially to see if they’re warm. Because if they are, you might be facing some serious issues in the not-so-distant future!

Why your outlet might be warm

Now we’ll be up front here – JUST BECAUSE YOUR OUTLET IS WARM DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MEAN YOU HOUSE WILL EXPLODE AND OR CATCH FIRE. I mean it COULD mean that, but most of the time, it’s just your outlet’s way of saying ‘hey, we’ve got some issues, here.’

SO – if your outlet is warm, here’s some things you can do to test the severity of the problem.

Check what’s plugged in. Ever feel a MacBook’s power charger? It gets warm! And hey – it might be heating up your outlet if it’s too close. Simply unplug the device and check the outlet wall a few hours later. If it hasn’t cooled down, you might want to take a closer look at the outlet.

Asking too much of the outlet. Chances are you could just have too many things plugged into that particular outlet – even if you’re using a power strip. You may just need to unplug a few devices and place them elsewhere.

Lousy wiring. Especially in older houses, wires can become frayed or loose and that creates heat just by virture of the wires being loose. If that’s the case, you need to call an electrician immediately. It’s not a major fix, but a small problem that can turn into a huge problem fast.

Too much use on a particular circuit. There’s such a thing as too much demand on a particular outlet, but there’s also the circuit the outlet is attached to. That means you could be taxing your breaker, which is heating that particular outlet. So you might have to disconnect something in another room. Also, you might want to consider rewiring your circuits just to be safe. It stinks and it’s expensive – but just from a practicality standpoint and ease of use – it’s probably the best decision in the long run.

Your house is old. Even when you’re dealing with houses from the 20’s-50’s – their electrical systems are not built to take the pounding of modern amenities. They’re just not strong enough. Especially if you’re feeling warm outlets throughout your house and in multiple locations, it’s probably advisable to upgrade your electrical wiring across the board. Expensive? Relatively speaking, yes. But worth it? Absolutely.

Now what?

The procedures above can help you avoid the cost of bringing in an electrician if they work, but when they don’t, it’s really a good idea just to have an electrician come through and check anyway. It wont’ cost that much and in the long run – the cost of keeping yourself safe vs. a new home and the expense monetarily and emotionally that comes with that – is minimal. And if you’re going to call anyone, we’d love it if you called us! We’ll blog again soon!