Electrical outlets get a lot of use and they are sometimes overloaded. This can lead to wear and tear over time. You want to repair problem sockets as soon as possible so you don't get shocked and so your electronics won't be harmed. Here are some tips for checking your outlets and when you should call an electrician to make repairs:
Watch For Damage
It's a good idea to check your outlets occasionally for signs of damage. This is easy to do when you go about regular house cleaning and when you insert plugs into the receptacles. Make sure there are no cracks in the plates or across the slots, and that there is no discoloration. Discoloration could be from burning or singe marks. If you see brown or black smudges around the holes in an outlet, don't use it until it's been checked out by an electrician. Don't forget to check the outlets outdoors to make sure they haven't been damaged by storms, animals, or flying rocks from a lawnmower.
Test The Outlets
You may want to buy a receptacle tester and have it on hand to check for problems when an outlet doesn't seem to be working right. A tester is inexpensive and it is handy to have around the house. It is a small meter with lights on one end and a plug on the other. You plug it into an outlet to test for problems. A light will come on that indicates everything is okay or different lights will come on when there is a problem. When you have a tester, you can use it to test each outlet in your home occasionally just to make sure they are okay. When you test an outlet, check both the top and bottom openings. If you discover a problem, call an electrician to investigate further.
Check For Tight Connections
If you have problems with plugs sliding out of the outlets, then you should have the outlets changed. When an outlet dangles partially, electricity can spark or arc across the two metal prongs and create an unsafe situation. If the outlet is old, it may not be designed to hold heavy, modern plugs. Some older plates were even designed in such a way that newer plugs can't sit in them securely. You want the connections to be tight when you insert a plug into the outlet, and if it isn't, then consider having the outlets upgraded.
Other signs of outlet problems are a lamp that flickers when plugged into a certain outlet and an outlet that works only sometimes. You might also suspect outlet problems if you have trouble with the power in your refrigerator or stove. Electricity is dangerous to work around if you don't have experience, so when you have problems with your outlets, call an electrician to determine the cause and make repairs as needed.
Contact a company like Bausum & Duckett Electric Company Inc for more information and assistance.