How to Address Loose Outlets

There are some circumstances in which plugs might not fit properly into electrical outlets, perhaps even jiggling around or falling out of the plug. Obviously, this is going to be a major inconvenience to any homeowner, but it could also potentially be a safety hazard. For this reason, it’s important to address the issue as soon as you’re able so you can mitigate the safety risks and get back to enjoying reliable electrical connections. If needed, be sure to call in an emergency electrician in Alexandria, VA who can get the job done quickly and safely.

There are several different issues that can result in a plug not staying in an outlet. The issue could be with the outlet itself, or it could be with the prongs on the device you’re trying to plug in. Your first step, then, should be to test out multiple devices. If they’re all loose in the outlet, then the issue is with the receptacle, not the prongs.

The contact points inside the receptacle do wear out over time, but there’s a chance that sparks could result from bad wiring or worn-out contact points. So, if the outlet itself is loose, it’s important that you replace that outlet as soon as you can. When you’ve got the outlet out, make sure you inspect for signs of other safety concerns, such as burnt or frayed wires.

Repairing a loose outlet

Repairs for loose outlets are a little more substantial than repairs for damaged plugs. With the plugs, it often involves simply straightening out bent prongs, but you can also find cheap replacements for charging cords or cheap kits that allow you to rewire plugs.

With an outlet, it’s a bit more of an involved job. The good news is that the job is simple enough that, as long as you take the proper precautions, you should be able to handle it yourself. However, always contact an electrician if you feel at all uncomfortable with handling electrical issues.

Here’s a quick overview of the steps you’ll need to follow:

Shut off the circuit breaker that controls power to the outlet in question. If you don’t have your circuit breaker marked, you may need to do some trial-and-error testing. Even once you’ve got the correct breaker flipped, always make sure you test the outlet with a multimeter to ensure power to the outlet is off.

Remove the screws from the receptacle and pull it out of its receptacle box. There are additional screws that you can then loosen, which hold the wires in place. Detach the wires from the receptacle.

At this point, if you see any signs of damaged wiring or burning, you should stop what you’re doing and call an electrician.

Expose additional wire if needed—just enough to be able to loop around your terminal screw. You don’t want to expose more wire than you absolutely have to, as this could become a safety issue.

When rewiring, the black wire should go to the brass screw, the white wire to the silver screw and the copper wire to the green screw. You can then reattach the receptacle to the box and put the cover back on.

For more information, contact the residential electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA at Walsh Electric.