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What Does It Mean When an Electrical Outlet Feels Warm to the Touch?

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Most people today are accustomed to the comfort and convenience that comes with using electrical devices and appliances. With reliable electricity and numerous outlets and power strips installed all over the house, no one takes the time to perform electrical safety checks. One of the necessary inspections that you should carry out is touching the outlets to feel if they are warm. An outlet that's hot to the touch could indicate problems with your electrical system. It is essential to address these issues before they cause damage to your gadgets. Here are some of the top reasons your outlets are warm and how you should address the problem.

Overloaded outlets

If you don't enjoy the leisure of having numerous outlets in your home, you probably have several power strips that allow you to connect all your electrical gadgets at once. While power strips are convenient, they can easily overload an outlet if the devices draw more energy than required. If the warm outlet has a power strip with several components connected to it, disconnect them and leave the outlet for a few hours. If it cools down, you must have overloaded the circuit, and the excess energy caused it to heat up.

Note the appliances and gadgets that draw more energy than others such as an electric kettle, dryer, blender, juicer, and refrigerator among others, and avoid plugging two of these on the same outlet. However, you can have multiple phone chargers or laptops on one power strip without overloading the outlet.

Incorrectly sized circuit breaker

Circuit breakers interrupt electricity flow in a circuit to protect it from excess current as a result of a short circuit or an overload. When a breaker is not working correctly, it can allow excess current through, and this will cause outlets and switches on that circuit to heat up. This usually occurs in homes with old electrical wiring. The breakers or fuses are not designed to handle the current drawn by modern appliances. If the outlets in your older home feel warm, the electrical wiring and safety devices may be in need of an upgrade.

Faulty wiring

Electrical wiring problems can arise in the home due to water damage, rodent damage, or even the exertion of excess physical pressure on the outlet. This can cause breakage and loosening of wires and other components of the outlet. If this happens, the outlet will get warm as electricity flows. The faulty wiring should be replaced immediately to avoid damage to electrical devices.

Contact a professional electrician for routine safety checks, repair, and upgrades of your outlets and other electrical devices.