Why should I upgrade my outlets? This is an important consideration if any of the following apply:
- Your outlets are malfunctioning
- They are damaged in any way
- Warping is present in the outlets
- The house and its electrical components are old
Outlets become less effective over time due to wear, and sometimes create a safety risk. When you update your home’s outlets, you’re making everything safer and helping everything work more efficiently.
Electrical outlets are something many of us take for granted, considering their importance. Because most of us don’t think about how outlets work very much, it’s easy to miss something when outlets malfunction. Knowing more about how outlets function and how they wear out is essential.
What Do I Need to Know Before I Upgrade my Outlets?
Electrical outlets use a branch circuit to connect to your electrical supply. One thing that you might notice with most home circuits is that they have two or three circuits. The higher sockets are considered “hot” and “neutral”, with the lower socket serving as a “ground” socket.
The “hot” wire brings voltage to the outlet from the panel. The “neutral” wire transmits leftover electricity back to the panel. The grounding wire, connected to the “ground” socket, helps keep everything from short-circuiting. However, outlets will wear out or become subject to damage.
How Do Outlets Wear Out?
Everyday use will cause outlets to wear out over time. The pushing and shoving motions involved with plugging and unplugging cords wear down the parts over time. As these parts wear down, the voltage won’t travel between the outlet and cord as easily. One of the results is having to make upgrade my outlet’s decisions sooner than you thought might be necessary.
Could I Have to Upgrade my Outlets Because of Heat Issues?
Outlets generate heat resistance and the more resistance that builds up, the more heat will be present inside the outlet. With increased heat inside the outlet, you’ll have to think about damaged internal components, warped plastic, and nearby objects catching fire.
The more electrical resistance in an outlet, the less effective the outlet will be because of disrupted voltage flow. Sometimes, the outlet can no longer handle the appropriate amount of voltage. Additional consequences include:
- Constantly tripping breakers
- Cracking electrical components
- Causing further electrical component damage
- Causing sparks
What Are Some Good Reasons to Upgrade Outlets?
If any of your outlets are damaged, this is a good reason for immediate replacement, especially if you’ve seen something scary like sparks going on. Newer fixtures are more durable and energy-efficient. Replacing the offending outlet will put your problems to rest.
Older outlets should be replaced, if possible before problems occur. Newer appliances’ needs may easily exceed the amount of voltage that older outlets can handle. The more voltage you demand from your outlets, the faster they will wear out.
Ideally, every outlet in your home should be grounded, evidenced by having three sockets. Newer homes will have grounded sockets, by default, thanks to the National Electric Code. Replacing any non-compliant outlets in your home is a good idea, at least for your own peace of mind.
Your kitchen and bathroom outlets should all be Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter or GFCI outlets. These outlets can break the connection with the “hot” wire in the event of irregularities. If one of your appliances should come into contact with water during use, you don’t have to worry about getting a shock.
In addition to being three-pronged, GFCI outlets have “test” and “reset” buttons. When you hit the “test” button, you cut off the power. Using the “reset” button restores the power. Installing these outlets will help keep your kitchens and bathrooms safer.
If you’ve decided it’s time to make an upgrade to your outlet, you’ll want to contact us at Teague Electric.