Do you have an outlet in your home that feels warm after you unplug any electronics? Does it feel warm even when nothing has been plugged in? If this is happening, you need to figure out what’s going on and get it fixed.
Questions to Ask Yourself when Electrical Troubleshooting & Problem Solving
1. Are there too many items plugged into the outlet? All circuits have a demand and any devices that are plugged into it can’t exceed that demand. One item shouldn’t use more than 80% of the rated circuit either. Owners of older homes will use extension cords, outlet multipliers and un-fused power strips. When there are lots of these in your home, there is a greater chance that an outlet will become overloaded.
2. What’s plugged into the outlet? Many products use transformers (wall warts) to convert AC to DC power. Items like printers, modems, MP3 players and phone chargers, for example. The outlet will become warm during the power change. If you unplug the item, wait an hour and find it is still warm then the outlet needs to be replaced. Outlets that appear worn, cracked, broken or chipped can all lead to situations that can compromise the way the outlet works and cause it to be warm.
3. Is there too much demand on the outlet? Home electrical circuits are wired in a way where the circuit wires loop through the electrical box, terminate on the outlet and then continue to the next outlet. This means that the electrical current that is used in one outlet can pass on to another one on the same circuit. If there is too much demand from a current, the outlet may feel warm even if nothing is plugged into it. It’s typical to have one outlet in a room to be on a different circuit, so the demand is split into multiple circuits.
4. Is a fuse or breaker too big? Older homes usually aren’t set up to handle all the latest devices we use. They have fewer outlets in each room and the circuits aren’t capable to support them all. If the circuit breaker in your home was installed correctly there won’t be any issues. If the breaker was replaced with a breaker that has a higher ampacity breaker, the circuit can become a fire risk because you’ll have higher levels of currents moving through it than it was made to do. A warm outlet may be a warning sign that this is happening.
1. Determine all receptacles connected to the outlet that feels warm. Turn the circuit off and use an outlet tester to find outlets that may be dead.
2. Make sure you use power strips, extension cords and multipliers that are compatible. Plug load needs to be spread out between outlets.
3. Identify any wiring issues that need to be fixed.
4. Outlet can be internally bad with connections that are loose. Turn the power off and check the wiring to all outlets that are warm.
5. Use a digital thermometer gun to scan the outlets to identify temperature problems.