Why is My Electrical Outlet Hot?

Warm OutletsHave you ever gone to unplug something out of an electrical outlet only to notice it feels warm to the touch? Why is that?

What a Warm Outlet Means for Your Home

A warm outlet tells you there’s probably a problem that needs to be addressed. It doesn’t necessarily mean a fire will start or your electrical system will fail right away, but it does indicate “something’s” wrong.

If you plug in laptop chargers, modems, computer printers and/or other small appliances, many of them use a transformer to convert AC to DC. This process can cause the plug to feel warm– so, after unplugging your item, if the plug gets cool again soon, then this is “normal.” If however, the outlet still feels warm after unplugging your charger, you should call an electrician to come take a look.

Outlets can become warm when too many devices are plugged into one outlet. An overloaded power strip could be causing your outlet to overheat because you’re putting too much demand on that one outlet. Warmth is coming from the increase of electricity right there. It’s best to remove a couple items from that outlet to help it cool down.

Sometimes outlets break. They can crack or chip, wearing down over time, and feeling warm to the touch; they may need to be replaced with new ones. Furthermore, electricity could be escaping via frayed wires or loose electrical terminations, causing the outlet to feel warm. An electrician can inspect your wiring and repair damaged ones.

Finally, you might have warm outlets because your overloading the circuit. Electricity travels on “highways” called circuits. It gets distributed in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the whole system. Nevertheless, some people tend to plug in energy-sucking devices into one particular circuit that cannot handle “all that.” That’s when outlets warm up. Oftentimes, an electrician will end up installing new outlets and/or adjusting the circuits to make it possible to get the kind of power you want to a particular room such that you’re no longer overwhelming a particular circuit.

Always on Electric can check your outlets in Colorado. Please call 970-309-2616 or email alwaysonelectric@hotmail.com with your concerns.

How to Prevent Electrical Fires

Electrical Fires House fires are always frightening, but electrical fires are particularly scary due to the possibility of the fire starting while people are sleeping. Kitchen fires are also quite common, but most kitchen fires start while someone is cooking. Electrical fires, on the other hand, may start at any time, including while everyone in the house is asleep. These tips will help you prevent electrical fires in your home.

Inspection

It is a good idea to schedule a professional inspection by a licensed electrician if you live in an older home or are experiencing electrical problems. Older homes may still contain wiring that is dangerously outdated. An older home may be due to have the wiring updated since electrical components do not last forever and older wiring may not support modern appliances.

Damage

Defective or damaged wiring and appliances are a frequent cause of home electrical fires. Always replace or repair any electrical cord or appliance that shows signs of damage.

Overloading

It can be tempting to plug multiple appliances or devices into a single outlet, particularly in older buildings that do not have enough electrical outlets, but this can be dangerous. Overloading an outlet or an extension cord can lead to overheating and an electrical fire.

Flammable Materials

Electric cords and appliances often generate heat. Always exercise extreme caution with placing flammable materials anywhere near electrical cords and devices. As these devices or cords heat up during usage, they may cause bedding, paper products, clothing, or any other flammable material to catch fire.

Shorts and Wiring Problems

Lights flickering or dimming, sparking when you plug a device into an outlet, a buzzing sound coming from electrical outlets, or breakers that frequently trip are all signs that the electrical system in the home needs to be inspected by a licensed electrician. None of these things should occur with a properly designed and maintained electrical system. Your first call should be to a qualified electrician if any of these things are happening in your home.

Always On Electric proudly serves home and businesses in the western Colorado region. Whether you need a routine inspection or are experiencing trouble with your electrical system, we are ready to help. Contact us today at 970-309-2616 to learn more or to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced electricians.

Leading Causes of Electrical Fires

Although they may only account for a fraction of residential fires, electrical fires can be devastating and even fatal. To prevent your having any issues at your home, be sure to check the following areas of your house that are the most common places where electrical fires start.

Failed Electrical OutletOutlets

If you go to plug in an appliance and nothing happens, it could be a sign that the wiring leading to the outlet might be loose. In this compromised state, the wiring could be exposed behind the call, potentially leading to contact with wall insulation or causing sparking behind the outlet. To fix this situation, have an electrician come out and look for the cause of the outlet failure and make any necessary repairs to the connection or the outlet itself.

Appliances

Speaking of appliances, whenever a power cord becomes frayed or starts to fall apart, you should have the connection repaired or replace the cable, if possible. Exposed wires can be dangerous for anyone using the appliance and can allow heat transfer from the connection to combustible surfaces that the cord may be set on. In fact, Fire Recruit lists faulty appliance connections and outlets as the leading cause of home fire. Also, if you feel a mild shock or tingle when touching an appliance, it often is a sign of a ground fault or incorrect wiring. Don’t simply ignore it – call an appliance repair professional or electrician to come take a look.

Circuit Breakers

Although circuit breakers are meant to prevent a circuit from overloading, sometimes they can do their job a little too much and that’s a problem. Modern equipment and technology often requires more power than devices even a few years ago, which can put extra strain on an outdated circuit breaker. If your breaker continues to trip, it is time to contact an electrician. An older breaker box can have wear that prevents the circuit from being thrown properly or allow an overload to start a fire. Be safe, not sorry, and call an electrician to investigate and replace your breaker box, if needed.

Light Fixtures

Make sure that all of your light fixtures have bulbs that meet the proper wattage capability of the fixture. If the bulb’s wattage is too high, it could lead to an electrical fire. If you aren’t sure about the proper wattage, a simple way to test is to check the area around the fixture once you put a new light bulb in. If you feel heat, switch to a lower wattage bulb as the current one’s wattage is too high for that fixture.

If you think your home might have faulty wiring or the wiring is in need of repair, let Always on Electric help. We offer residential and commercial electrical services to keep your home or business protected from electrical fires. For more information, call us today at 970-309-2616!