You may be experiencing inconsistent performance, incompatibility, or simply complete failure associated with one or more of the electrical outlets in your home. Troublesome outlets can be more than inconvenient, posing dangers to both your health and home, so outlet issues should be addressed before additional problems arise.
Inconsistent performance from electrical outlets
You may have an outlet in your home that only works on occasion, or produces sparks and popping sounds when a plug is inserted. This may indicate a defect in the outlet or loose wiring connections. No matter the reason, the outlet must be replaced because of the danger of electrocution posed by improper grounding.
It doesn't take much imagination to determine the link between sparking and potential for fire, which could begin unnoticed inside of your walls and engulf your home as you sleep.
Incompatibility of plugs and outlet receptacles
Older homes are often supplied with two slot receptacles that lack a round grounding port necessary for grounded plugs such as those on power strips and higher powered appliances. While you may choose to use a plug adapter that bypasses this safety feature, the grounding port is there for your family's safety. So replacing older outlets with grounded models is a much better choice.
You may also have an appliance with a 20 amp plug, which is supplied with perpendicular instead of parallel plug blades, along with the round grounding pin. Most homes are not usually equipped with 20 amp outlets, which are configured to receive this type of plug and require a dedicated 20 amp circuit line to accommodate their power needs.
A 20 amp outlet should not be installed on a shared circuit to replace a more common 15 amp outlet, which has the familiar parallel slots and ground pin port. The circuit will likely be overloaded and cause the circuit breaker to shut off on a continuous basis.
A completely inoperable outlet may have internal damage, disconnected wiring, or various other issues that require replacement. Assuming that only one outlet on the circuit has met this fate, it's pretty simple to replace an outlet.
All you need to do is turn off the circuit breaker that feeds the outlet (extremely important step: a matter of life and death). You can then remove the cover plate and the two screws that secure the outlet inside the gang box on the wall.
Disconnect all wires from the sides of the outlet by loosening the terminal screws. You will see either one or two sets of three colored wires. When connecting the new outlet, the black wires connect to the brass colored terminals, the white neutral wires to the silver terminals, and the two green wires to the single green terminal for grounding.
When this is done, push the outlet back inside the wall box and connect the two securing screws, then replace the cover plate. Turn on the circuit breaker and your outlet blues are solved (at least for that outlet). Contact a company like Bausum & Duckett Electric Company Inc for more information and assistance.