Why Does My Electrical Outlet Feel Hot?

Have you noticed that an outlet somewhere in your home has been feeling warm after unplugging? Does it remain warm even when there is nothing plugged into it?

When an electrical outlet is warm or hot to the touch, there is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. What could be the problem?

What’s plugged into the electrical outlet? 

Why Does My Electrical Outlet Feel Hot?In today’s home, we plug in more stuff than ever before. Electronics like phone chargers, laptops, desktops, printers, modems, game units, small appliances and more all use wall transformers to convert AC to DC power. This process of converting voltage input to different outputs can cause the outlet to warm. If you notice it, unplug the item and return to the outlet in an hour. Is it still warm? If it isn’t, it’s time to replace it.

Are there too many things plugged in?

Especially in older homes, we may not have enough outlets for all of the gadgets we use each day. Any device plugged into an outlet should not exceed the circuits demand. No single device should take more than 80 percent of the rated circuit. For example, two hair dryers plugged in and operated at the same time in the same outlet may trip the breaker. In older homes, extension cords may also be a factor, when multiple gadgets are operated via the extension cord. When you need more than an outlet can provide, it’s time to have an electrician wire your home for more options.

Is there an oversized breaker?

Older homes tend to have fewer outlets per room and circuits that weren’t designed to handle today’s heavy loads. The circuit breaker should be rated lower than the wiring, so if there is an issue, it would be the first to fail. If a breaker was replaced with a higher amp breaker, it could be a potential fire risk. A warm outlet is a warning sign that the wiring may be operating above its rating.

What’s the next step? 

Identify all outlets that appear to be warm to the touch. Turn off the circuit breaker and use an outlet tester on all fixtures and outlets to find potentially dead outlets.

Ensure all cords and powerstrips are compatible and rated appropriately for use. Never chain together extension cords or power strips. Be sure to spread plug load between outlets.

If you find any wiring issues, turn off wiring and call in an electrician immediately. Not only can they fix and replace existing outlets, bringing them up to code, but they can also help you plan out your rooms and add in more electrical outlets as necessary.

Don’t take chances. Problems with your electrical can cause fire. Call us today.

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