Wall outlets are the primary point of interaction most homeowners have with their electrical systems. Those of us who aren't electricians or contractors may never open our circuit boxes or run a wire through the wall, but we plug and unplug things from our outlets every day. Those outlets don't last forever, however, and they need to be upgraded and replaced at some point to help protect the safety and security of your home and family. Read on to learn when it's time to make the switch.
Don't Take Your Outlets for Granted
Given their steady, reliable performance delivering electricity to our appliances and devices, it's tempting to take our outlets for granted, but they do actually have a lifespan and can become obsolete over time. Especially if you live in an older house, your outlets, and the wires they are attached to, may be deteriorating. What's more, older electrical outlets might not be up to the current standards of your local building code.
So why should you care? Because old outlets can turn into a major safety hazard, most notably as the source of a house fire. Sometimes, the wires connected to the outlets become loose or frayed, creating an immediate fire danger – but this can be prevented by installing new, modern models. When you upgrade to the latest, up-to-code outlets, you can also add safety features like a ground fault circuit interrupter, which decreases the possibility of electrocution. You can also have an electrician install convenient features like combo outlets that charge your USB devices, or kid-safe outlets in areas accessible to young children.
When to Bring in an Electrician
The easiest way to know when you need to update your outlets is to have an electrician inspect your home. There are also other warning signs that can clue you in when it's time to make a change:
- You live in a home that is more than a few decades old
- There are visible sparks when you plug in your devices
- The circuits in your home get tripped frequently for no apparent reason
- Sockets in the outlet become wobbly or loose
Obviously, if you detect smoke or a burning odor coming from your outlet, you should call an electrician immediately – or better yet, the fire department. Fires can spread quickly within your walls before you even realize you have a problem.
If you need a hand upgrading your outlets or other parts of your electrical system, get in touch with an expert electrician today.