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F.H. Furr's Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical Insider Blog

Ask An Electrician: Could My Electrical Outlets Be Dangerous?

“My outlets seem really warm to the touch. Could that be dangerous? ”-Question Submitted by Ashley P. Fair Lakes, VA

Electrical issues are some of the most common reasons for household fires, so this question is an important one. When an electrical outlet feels warm to the touch, there is often an electrical issue happening behind the scenes. Although in most cases this isn't hazardous, all electrical problems, left unfixed, can become dangerous.

Discovering the Cause:

Although there could be several reasons why your outlet might be emitting heat, the most likely are that you've got an overly large electrical load operating on that outlet, undersized wiring or a loose electrical splice. It's not unusual for dimmer switches to be warm, but a noticeable rise in the temperature of an outlet should be monitored.

Solution: Call in an expert to look for a loose splice, melted connections, or burned insulation. They can also evaluate the wattage of your device; it may be too large relative to supply wiring. If you notice any other issues with your electrical outlets, such as inconsistent electrical currents or sparks, call on a professional electrician to perform an electrical safety inspection. Our inspections are thorough and should be performed annually. 

During an inspection we'll check for:

  • Light switch and wall outlet operation and condition
  • Light bulb wattage verification
  • Verify properly operating arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs)
  • Identify shock or electrocution hazards
  • Identify any exposed wiring
  • Check for operation of all safety and security lighting
  • Validate proper surge protection
  • Confirm grounding systems
  • Verifying all smoke detector placement
  • Testing of smoke detectors
  • Testing of carbon monoxide detectors
  • Outdoor electrical system examination
  • Electrical panel operation, amps and label inspection
  • Inspection of wiring to the meter
  • Inspecting main disconnect
  • And much more.

Additionally, once your electrician has cleared your home of any serious dangers, have them install a Ting Electrical Monitor. This device will monitor your home's electrical system and alert you on your device if it senses any issues. Click here to learn more about the Ting and stay protected!

Topics: Fire Hazard hvac service Electrical