Why is the Plug Falling Out of Outlet?

outlet being plugged in

Have you noticed that a plug falls out of your outlet every time something is plugged into it, even if it’s a harmless item like an electric toothbrush or lamp? We understand this can be an extremely inconvenient and potentially dangerous issue, so we want to help you get to the bottom of it. Understanding more about why this is happening will ensure that your home stays safe while also ensuring everything works as intended. We will discuss the possible causes of why your plug keeps falling out of the outlet, so you can figure out the best solution for your home.

Why Does the Plug Fall Out of the Outlet

If you’ve ever experienced the outlet plug slipping out of its outlet with little warning, you may be wondering why this happens. In short, outlet plugs fall out because of an issue with the electrical prongs not making proper contact with the outlet itself. Outlets are designed to grip power plugs securely, but at times they may not do so. This may happen if there is damage to the outlet, such as dirt preventing a proper connection or causing corrosion. When the outlet is not installed properly, or there is dust or other debris in it, the tension that holds the plug can be weakened, eventually leading to it falling out of the outlet. 

The outlet plug itself can get looser over time. The outlet prongs become damaged over time due to friction when they are exposed repeatedly. If this happens they lack the firmness needed to stay in the outlet after being plugged; therefore, resulting in the plug falling out. 

You can test and see if the plug or the outlet is the issue by trying to plug different devices in.  If only one plug falls out of the outlet, then the issue is most likely with the plug. However, if every plug is loose, then the issue is likely the outlet.

If a plug repeatedly falls out of an outlet, it is strongly recommended to have an electrician ensure that outlet has been safely installed and is free of any debris to prevent risk of electrical fire.

How to Fix a Loose Outlet

A loose outlet is a relatively easy fix if the wiring is not damaged. The first thing you should do is turn off the circuit for that outlet. To ensure that the power is truly turned off to the outlet, test the outlet with a multimeter.  Once you are positive the power to the outlet is off, then you can take off the outlet cover and unscrew and remove the receptacle out of the housing box.  From here, you can loosen the terminal screws and detach the wires.  However, if you see any signs of damage to the wiring, stop here and call a professional.  If you do not see any damage, you can proceed.  Take a look at the wire stripper gauge to figure out how much wire to expose.  Typically you just need enough to wrap the wire around the screw.  Make sure that the wires are all connected correctly, and then you can put the receptacle back in its box and replace the outlet cover.

Is a Loose Outlet Dangerous?

A loose outlet can be a serious danger as it not only presents an electrocution risk, but also could cause a fire. This fire risk comes from the disruption in the flow of electricity in the circuit.  Since a loose outlet is most often caused by the wiring in the outlet itself, any damage in the wiring also poses a potential fire risk.

If at any time an outlet seems loose, the power should be cut off before attempting any repairs.

Preventing Loose Outlets

Proper outlet maintenance is key for the safety and security of your electrical system. To prevent outlets from becoming loose, check them regularly for any signs of wear or damage, such as a burned outlet face or melted plastic around the outlet. If an outlet appears loose or damaged, have it professionally inspected and replaced if necessary.  It is always best to have a professional handle the issue so that you know it gets repaired correctly.  Wear and tear from consistent use cannot exactly be prevented, so it’s important to keep up with the maintenance of the outlet to make sure it lasts for as long as possible.

Contact Coastal Home Services

Don’t overlook a loose outlet! It is a common household problem that can be easily fixed, but it can also be a fire hazard if not taken care of. If you have a loose outlet in your home, it’s important to take steps to fix it right away. The best way to do this is to contact a professional. If you are located near Morehead City, North Carolina, contact Coastal Home Services today.  Our expert team is here to help diagnose the issue and get your outlets working properly in no time.

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Electrician installing electrical wires and fuse switch box.

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