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Why Is My Electrical Outlet Warm?

Electrical Outlet
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s important to look after the electrical components of our home, including the electrical outlets we use every day. An overheating outlet can be a sign that something isn’t working the way it should, and a repair is needed in order to safely use it. Getting to the root of the problem and getting it fixed, will help keep your home safe and hazard-free.

Our resident experts at Art Plumbing, AC & Electric have created this handy guide to understand and troubleshoot a warm electrical outlet or light switch.

What’s Causing Electrical Outlets and Switches to Heat Up?

The most likely problem causing an overheating electrical outlet is an overloaded circuit. If an outlet is struggling to power all the plugged-in appliances, it’ll become overworked and hot to the touch.

Loose or damaged wiring can also cause a buildup of heat in an electrical outlet. You might notice short bursts of sparks when you plug in appliances, which is a warning that the wiring may not be in the best condition.

Damaged appliance plugs or outlets can have trouble creating a reliable connection, increasing the risk of blowing a fuse or tripping your circuit breaker.

If it’s your light switch that’s overheating, chances are defective wiring is the cause. A light switch sees a lot of heavy use, and it’s easy for the circuits to become worn down over time. 

Dimmer switches, on the other hand, do tend to run hotter than normal outlets. The switch manufacturer should give guidelines on the acceptable temperatures, but if the heat is causing concern, it’s better to get the switch checked by a certified professional.

What Can You Do to Prevent the Overheating of Electrical Outlets and Switches?

Although fixing faulty electrical outlets is better left to a professional electrician, you can make small changes in your home to prevent unsafe situations.

Here are some of the top tips we recommend to help reduce the risk of overheating: 

  • Don’t Use Too Many Power Strips

    If a single outlet is powering several power strips, there’s a high chance the energy load may be too large for the outlet to handle. If possible, have appliances plugged in elsewhere in your home, this way a single socket won’t be providing too much power at once.

  • Have Your Wiring Checked

    Loose or damaged wiring can lead to outlets overheating and possibly become a fire hazard. With all the wear and tear your outlets receive, it’s important to have an electrical inspection done – at Art Plumbing, AC & Electric we use thermal electrical inspections and imaging for early detection of faults in your system.

  • Check Your Electrical Appliances

    We use many electrical devices in our home so it’s important to check that our chargers aren’t causing the problem. Some device chargers use transformers to alter the voltage to suit the device that’s being plugged in. If your plug is overheating, this can damage the electrical outlet— so it’s best to ensure your appliance wiring is in good working order. If a plug is overheating no matter which outlet it’s plugged into, this is a sign that the charger or wiring needs to be fixed or replaced.

  • Find The Source Of The Problem

    If you are having problems with your outlets, you can do some troubleshooting to see where the problem lies. This will help you decide whether you need a new outlet, or only new appliance wiring.

If you’re experiencing any of these problems, contact us today for electrical repairs. Art Plumbing, AC & Electric has years of experience throughout Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Duval Counties. 

Discover why tens of thousands of Floridians have trusted and counted on our knowledgeable experts for prompt, reliable service since 1983.

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