Common Problems With Electrical Outlets

Published: 06th October 2011
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Most homes are designed with lots of electrical outlets. Normally you can utilize the outlets and encounter no problems, but at times you will find that you have some sort of problem. In the event you encounter an issue with any of your outlets, then right away you should attempt to diagnose and fix the problem. If left unattended to, an annoyingly problematic electrical outlet could quickly develop into a critical safety hazard. To prevent injuries or fires, calling an electrical contractor at the first indication of outlet problems is usually the best strategy. Here are a few common electrical socket problems that you might be experiencing.

Outlets And Circuits That Are Overloaded

Overloading is often at fault behind many electrical outlet problems. As tempting or as necessary as it can be to plug a lot of electronic devices or appliances into just one single outlet, it is necessary you do not make a practice of this. You can be creating some pretty big problems through your own efforts if you use an extension box or perhaps a power strip to increase how many items may be plugged into an outlet. Through the use of power strips and extension boxes, it often becomes possible to plug six or more devices into a power outlet that was only intended for two. If your outlet is overloaded, your only consequence may be to trip the breaker switch or to blow a fuse. However, in other instances an electrical fire may be the end result.

Criss-Crossed Wiring

Just because your outlet generally works does not mean there are not issues with faulty wiring or a faulty electrical socket installation. Sometimes, even if the wiring was improperly installed, the outlet will still function acceptably much of the time. Should you be experiencing sporadic problems with equipment and appliances connected to a specific outlet, it might be an indicator of crisscrossed wiring. Every so often the electrician installing the outlet can easily make a mistake. When wiring becomes crisscrossed, it indicates the "neutral" and "hot" wires could have been reversed when connected to the terminal screws. Although appliances and equipment often still work if this situation exists, it might be quite dangerous. As a consequence of reversed polarity, crisscrossed wiring will likely cause your electrical equipment to become damaged. This wiring problem may also generally obstruct the grounding of your outlet, which can also cause harm. When this issue is discovered, the wiring should be fixed immediately to avoid potential problems.

Improper Outdoor Electrical Outlets

Improper outdoor electrical outlets are actually quite common, especially in older homes. Although building codes now require builders to use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt receptacles (GRCIs) when dealing with outdoor installations, the normal practice was previously to put in standard outlets outside. This can cause a very dangerous situation, since moisture is rather common in most outdoor environments. The GFCI could very well save your life if you happen to touch an outdoor outlet accidentally if it is wet. You should have all outdoor electrical outlets inspected periodically for a safety precaution, even when they're GFCI outlets, to ensure that water or moisture is not leaking into them.

Now that you have a better idea of the possible problems with your electrical outlets, you can hopefully figure out what's wrong so you can either do it yourself or get it fixed by an electrician.


If you're looking for a great team of Sacramento electricians, be sure to visit AAA Electrical Services website or give them a call at 916-972-7515. They'll give you great service and will make sure that all your Sacramento electrical services needs are done right and quickly.

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