Have you noticed that your outlets are starting to look a little discolored and ran-down lately?  This may be a sign that you are needing to upgrade the electrical outlets in your home. We have compiled a checklist to help you determine if you need to talk to an electrician about replacing your outlets.

How to Identify When It Is Time to Replace Your Outlets

There are different cues to look for, that can help you determine if it is time to make the change for an upgrade to the electrical outlets in your home.

Do your outlets only have 2 prongs?

If you noticed your outlets only have 2 prongs, that is a good visual cue that it is time to think about upgrading your electrical outlets.  Two prong outlets are ungrounded, and presents a variety of problems for you, as you increase the chances of getting shocked, or your expensive electronics being permanently damaged. At this point, even surge protectors are not useful in helping protect your electronics, because surge protectors are useless when paired with ungrounded outlets. You are going to have to hire an electrician to rewire your electrical panel, so the two prong outlets are safe.

When you insert a plug, does it fall out of the outlet?

One way to tell if the contacts inside of the outlet are worn is by trying to plug in different appliances. If the plug falls out of the outlet, no matter what you plug in, that is a good indication that your outlets need replaced. It is suggested that you upgrade these outlets because they put your home at risk for house fires because loose and worn out outlets create electrical arching which is a leading cause for fires. So, if you see that these outlets are getting loose it is a good time to start thinking about upgrades to your electrical system.

Do your outlets feel hot when you touch them?

If your outlet feels warm to the touch, that may mean that are more underlying issues with the wiring that is hidden behind your wall. This could mean you have loose, damaged, or worn wires that could result in a fire hazard later if they go unattended for too long.

Are your outlets brown and discolored from heat?

If you start noticing discoloration on the wall and around the outlet, this is a red flag that your outlet could have been either improperly installed or become burned and damaged. Melted plastic and scorch marks are common when you are experiencing a short in your outlet which could lead to a fire. If you start noticing these things go to your electrical panel and cut power to the outlet immediately. Call a professional right away to set up an inspection time, because you may be experiencing more issues than you realize.

 Do your GFCI not trip when you are testing them?

A good way to tell if your GFCI needs replaced is if you test it, and the outlets do not trip when you know they have power and your breaker has not even tripped. At this point, this is a good indicator they are no longer protecting your home and you should have them replaced right away. Another way to determine you have a bad outlet is to hit the “Test” button on the outlet,  and the “ Reset” button doesn’t want to respond to restore power to the outlet. You will want to replace the GFCI’s because they only have a shelf life of about 10 years, if you are in an area that experiences a high volume of storms, with the power surges from storms you are looking at a shelf life of about 5 years. These outlets should be replaced as soon as possible, these outlets that support GFCI’s are designed to protect you and your home in areas that are exposed to water. Once these outlets have been replaced, you should test them monthly or even quarterly to make sure they are performing correctly.

For all your Electrical needs, let the professionals at Downtown Electric and Lighting help you update your homes wiring. Call us TODAY at (719)-428-8245 to schedule your appointment for your estimate.

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