Fixing Loose Plugs That Fall Out of Outlets

Posted On: August 15, 2017

There’s never a good time for a plug to fall out of an electrical outlet. Whether it’s a cell phone charging overnight or an appliance you’re using to make dinner, you want a plug to stay snug in place. You’ll want to replace the loose outlet, but thankfully this is just a moderate DIY project or a quick house call from the electrician.

Why Do Plugs Fall Out of Outlets?

When plugs won’t stay put in an outlet, the problem could be the prongs or the receptacle. Try multiple devices to make sure you have a loose outlet.

Damaged contact points are the main cause of loose outlets, which typically happens over time. However, heat and sparks from bad wiring can also cause damage. The bottom line is that you need to fully replace a loose outlet and look for signs of other electrical safety problems, such as burnt wires.

If the outlet tightly holds other devices and you have one loose plug, you can try to straighten out bent prongs and then try again. If it’s a lamp, you can get a cheap rewiring kit at the hardware store or ask an electrician to rewire it. Small items like a cell phone charger should probably just be replaced.

Fixing a Loose Electrical Outlet

For old, worn-out wall outlets, a straightforward outlet replacement will do. The steps of replacing an outlet are simple enough that many homeowners are comfortable with it as a DIY project. The whole thing should take less than an hour.

Get your safety gloves, insulated screwdriver, wire strippers, and a replacement outlet, and you’re ready to go.

  • Switch off the circuit to the broken outlet.
  • Test with a multimeter to ensure power is off at the outlet.
  • Unscrew and remove the receptacle from its housing box.
  • Loosen the terminal screws and detach the wires.
  • Stop and call an electrician if you see damaged wiring or signs of melting, burning, or scorching.
  • Check the outlet’s wire stripper gage to see how much wire to expose (just enough to loop around the terminal screw; you don’t want to strip too much wire).
  • Check the wiring as it should go black wire to brass screw, white wire to silver screw, and copper wire to green screw.
  • Reattach the receptacle to the box and replace the cover.

As you can see, the toughest part is tightly wiring the correct wires to the correct screws. It’s a doable DIY task, but it’s also a fast and affordable job to hand over to a licensed electrician.

Contact us if you’re looking for outlet replacement services

Electrical Outlet Repair in VA, MD, and DC

Call (301) 253-3778 or contact us online for electrical service in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.

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