If you are like most homeowners, you likely don’t think about your electrical outlets unless they stop working. However, if your home was built even a few decades ago, you may have outdated electrical outlets that are quietly putting your home at risk. Additionally, increased demands of modern technology mean that even new homes can have outdated outlets. If you want to know how you can spot an outdated electrical outlet and what you can do to replace them, read on.
When Electrical Outlets Are a Problem
There are a few specific cases in which old outlets become problematic for your home:
- Outlets and the wires behind them can age in as quickly as five years. Over time, wires can settle, which may cause sparking, arcing, and fires. This risk is small, but you don’t want to take the chance.
- If your outlets cannot provide the electricity you need, or if they have two holes instead of three, your home is at risk.
- If you notice flickering lights or inconsistent power, it may be because your outlets cannot keep up with the current demand.
Signs You Need to Update Your Old Electrical Outlets
There are several warning signs that indicate you should replace your electrical outlets as soon as possible. These signs include:
- Sparking or hot outlets
- Cracked outlet covers: these cracks may let in dust and debris, which may cause damage. Have your outlets inspected first before replacing them.
- Flickering lights
- Two-pronged outlets aren’t grounded and aren’t safe.
If you notice any of these features on your outlets, call TriStar Electric for a professional inspection and replacement.
Upgrade Outlets for New Appliances
You may need to upgrade outlets if you are adding a significant new appliance. This may be a factor if you are installing the following:
- Portable air conditioners: these window units use up quite a bit of power. Before installing one, make sure you have the correct power supply so that your air conditioner doesn’t trip your breakers.
- Washers and dryers: these appliances use a lot of energy and may require a four-wire circuit.
- Hot tubs: these home accessories require dedicated outlets that can support them.
How to Replace Outdated Electrical Outlets
If you find you need to replace an electrical outlet in your home, the first step is to hire a skilled electrician. The electrician may then take the following actions:
- Swap ungrounded outlets for grounded ones
- Upgrade the home’s electrical panel
- Install GFCIs, or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
By installing these updated outlets, you can rest easy knowing that your home is not at risk for electrical outlet fires or circuit breaker shortages that will disrupt your daily life.
For ALL of Your Residential or Commercial Electrical Needs, Call TriStar Electric!
No matter the job, big or small, the professionals at TriStar Electric will be happy to discuss your project and answer any questions or concerns you may have. We offer free in-home consultations, plus an after-hours and emergency phone line for advice or service!
If you have any questions about our electrical repairs or upgrades, please contact TriStar Electric, Maryland’s premier residential and commercial electrician, by calling 410-799-5791 or 301-384-8880. Or, you can fill out the contact form on our website.
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