When Do I Need My Electrical Outlets Replaced?

Does your outlet no longer hold a plug? Is it not powering anything you’re plugging in? Does it look discolored or dingy? As a trusted team of electricians near Ambler, PA, and the surrounding Montgomery County community, Wes Carver Electric understands that when outlets give you trouble, issues hidden behind your wall can be a bit perplexing. Check out this infographic on how to tell when it’s time for a professional to replace your old, malfunctioning outlets, then continue reading to learn more about how Wes Carver Electric can help.

How to Know When to Replace Outlets

From things that don’t look or feel right to a strange smell, a malfunctioning outlet sure can “shock” the senses! Here are signs it’s time for a replacement:

Your Outlets Only Have Two Prongs

Outlets that do not have three prongs should be replaced by a professional as soon as possible. Outlets that have only two prongs leave you and your family unprotected from stray currents that could result in a power surge through sensitive electronics. Outlets with two prongs are typically found in older homes, yet there are a variety of modern solutions that can eliminate any safety hazards:

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) will prevent a deadly shock, even though it is not grounded. A trained electrician could retrofit a 3-prong receptacle without rewiring, although the box itself would need to be grounded. The best way to ensure grounding is for a technician to update the wiring.

Plugs Fall Out

If your outlet’s slots are loose, and any plug you try falls out, the contacts within the outlet are worn. While it may not seem like a big deal, a loose plug can damage wiring within your walls, trip your circuit breaker, or blow a fuse. Furthermore, missed or loose connections from worn outlets can result in electrical arcing, putting you at risk of a house fire. According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, arcing faults are responsible for over 28,000 home fires every year.

Outlet Is Hot To The Touch

An outlet that’s hot to the touch is a telltale sign of electrical trouble, indicating loose, worn, or damaged wires that pose a significant fire hazard.


If your outlet or the surrounding wall area is discolored, this is a warning sign that your outlet could be burned, damaged, or poorly installed. Short circuits can leave scorch marks and melt plastics surrounding the receptacle and can result in a safety hazard. Never attempt to use an outlet in this condition; instead, cut power to the outlet at the panel and contact our team of trusted electrical professionals to inspect it.

Your GFCI Outlets Don’t Trip

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has outlined a test you can perform on your GFCI outlets. Plug a lamp in the outlet and turn it on. Hit the TEST button. If the light doesn’t go out, the GFCI isn’t working or has been incorrectly installed. If it did go off, hit RESET. Did it come back on? If not, you need to contact a qualified electrician for inspection or replacement. GFCI outlets can last up to 15-25 years, although some fail after only five years. The CPSC recommends you test all of your GFCI outlets at least once a month.

If any of the above warning signs apply to your outlets, it’s time to call in a professional. If you need an electrician in Furlong, PA, or the greater Bucks County area, call Wes Carver Electric today!