It's easy to ignore your electrical wall outlets. They're part of the wall, and you probably don't pay them much attention. These connections are the workhorse of your home and are constantly having plugs inserted and removed as they deliver safe electricity. But these outlets can easily become unsafe, posing the risk of electric shock or even an electric fire. So what do you need to know about keeping these outlets safe and in the best condition?
Be Wary of Loose Outlets
With time, electrical wall outlets can become loose and detach from the wall, only being held in place with the wire that feeds back into the wall. Do not continue to use these outlets. The constant insertion and removal of an electrical plug can strain the wires, posing a risk of fire. You could even see a small spark when you connect an electrical device to the outlet. You might have the knowledge to replace a loose outlet yourself, but this should only be attempted if you really know what you're doing. It's usually best to call an electrician.
That Third Prong Is There for a Reason
If your home has two-pronged electrical wall outlets, you need to be careful with three-pronged electrical plugs. It's certainly possible to remove the third prong, but this should never be attempted. The third prong acts as a grounding pin, and removing it greatly increases the risk of electric shock when touching the plug, or even when using the device it's being used to power. Get a three-pronged adaptor that inserts into a two-pronged outlet, allowing you to use the device safely.
Sparks and Smoke
If an electrical wall outlet seems to be securely in place, and yet still sparks when a device is plugged in, you need to exercise extreme caution. There might be frayed wires just inside the wall. These wires can easily begin to smoulder, which can then cause an electrical fire inside the wall. Discontinue use of the outlet immediately, and call an emergency electrician. The outlet and some internal wires will need to be replaced. Do not delay, and if you should smell smoke, call the fire department as there might be an electrical fire inside your walls.
Don't ignore the electrical outlets in your home. These modern conveniences can become dangerous if they're allowed to degrade. If you should notice any problems, please don't delay in getting them professionally repaired.