Outlets can become loose in many different ways, which can be frustrating to deal with. Loose outlets can cause fires and electrical shocks.
However, there are many different ways to resolve this problem. If you are unfamiliar with these fixes, or if the outlet is located in a difficult-to-reach location, you may wish to call an electrician.
If you would like to fix it yourself, you can refer to this guide. In this article, I will examine the most common causes of loose outlets and offer solutions on how to solve them without seeking the assistance of an electrician.
You can find a loose outlet in your home in two different ways:
- Receptacles in the outlet are too loose to hold the plug.
- The whole outlet box goes pitapat.
Why does the outlet become loose?
First of all, you need to know that every electrical outlet is mounted within the wall attached to an electrical box. In some cases, the wall space for the box is more profound, so the box must be mounted appropriately.
The stability of the entire set may be poor. That’s why your outlet becomes loose, so whenever you plug something into the outlet and take it out, you see that the whole outlet box is wobbling.
This can cause serious safety hazards, including leakage into the wire, damaging the entire setup, or getting connected to the main electric line. Wires can spark or shock you when touching the board. It also can be an issue of fire and other safety hazards.
It would help if you have these tools in your bag. Otherwise, you can’t fix a loose outlet.
- A four-in-one screwdriver.
- Outlet tester
- Outlet shims
- Box extender ring (Optional)
- Wire tester (Optional)
Steps before you start fixing the outlet
- First things first. Plug an outlet tester into the outlet and use the circuit breaker finder to find the correct circuit breaker to cut off power.
- Use a wire tester or the outlet tester to ensure that the outlet is out of electric power.
- Use your screwdriver to unscrew the outlet from the box and take that out.
- Disconnect all the wires from the outlet and keep them separate.
To Fix a Wobbled Outlet:
You can use a box extender that will work and fill in some of the slack. What the box extender will do is, it will just fill the empty place between the box and the outlet. This will ensure that the outlet doesn’t go inside when you plug something into it.
If the box extender is insufficient to fill the space, tighten up the outlet with the container, and you still have the outlet wobbling, you need to use outlet shims. Get the outlet shims and place them in between the screw hole of the outlet and the box mounted within the wall.
Then screw up the outlet and the box together and see if it’s still wobbling or not. If you are not satisfied with the result, add more shims and get your desired outcome.
This is how you can fix an outlet that wobbles.
To Fix a Plug That Falls Out
If the receptacle is loose, the plugs will constantly come out from the outlet, or the outlet will not hold the plugs. There are two narrow slots in the receptacles that keep the pins from falling out.
When you use an outlet for years, then the slots of the receptacles become wider. This means that the pins can’t hold the pins tightly enough so that the plug falls out of the outlet. Also, worn-out outlets and receptacles can produce sparks or shock, resulting in fires.
If the receptacles are loose, then you can replace them. There are a lot of inexpensive outlets on the market with child protection cases inside.
How to Replace an Outlet?
Replacing an outlet is a straightforward thing to do. All you need to do is, unscrew the plate first and then unscrew the outlets from the box.
After that, disconnect all the wires from the old outlet using your screwdriver. Make sure that the outlet does not have any power supply before proceeding.
Then take the newly purchased one and connect the wires the same way they were attached to the older one. Before joining the new one, you can cut off a small portion of the cables. Then screw up the new outlet within the box, and lastly, attach the outside plate to the outlet.
Having a loose outlet in your home can cause some serious electrical hazards. It is unsafe for your children, and you are also not safe to use them. It’s best to fix your loose outlets or call an electrical expert before you experience a spark, shock, fire, or other issues.
I’m Bobby Taylor, a tech lover, writer, and editor for Smart Home Protector. I am also a customer relationship officer of a well established electronics manufacturer company in the United States.