When to Replace YourElectrical Outlets

Electrical outlets can last 20 years or longer when they’ve been installed and used correctly. But some can fail in as little as five years.

How do you know it’s time to replace an outlet?

The following signs can tell that it’s time for a replacement:

• The outlet has stopped working.

• A buzzing sound or a smell coming from the outlet.

• There are scorch marks around the outlet.

• A lamp flickers when plugged into the outlet (but doesn’t when plugged into another outlet).

• The outlet is loose.

• Plugs easily fall out of the outlet.

• The outlet is hot to the touch.

• Sparks or smoke coming from the outlet.

• You have an old home or electrical system.


If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s a good idea to give your local electrician a call for a free estimate. Sometimes the issue may be in the wiring and not the outlet itself, which typically requires a qualified electrician to repair.

It’s easy to forget how much up-to-date, working outlets can contribute to a comfortable home. With our reliance on electronics, it can be frustrating to have an outlet that doesn’t work. Plus, you may need to search for the right charger base for your phone, tablet, or other devices.

Outlet Replacement Options

Consider replacing your traditional outlets with other types of outlets that are safer or can make your home more comfortable.

These options include:

1. GFCI outlets, which help prevent electrocution in moist areas, such as bathrooms and garages.

2. AFCI outlets, which are standard in homes built after 1999 but may not be present in older homes.

3. 20A outlets, which support higher power loads and are usually found in laundry rooms and kitchens.

4. Switched outlets, which allow you to turn the power to the outlet on and off.

5. USB outlets, which have additional USB ports to give you more options when charging your devices.

6. Smart outlets, which you can control via your phone from anywhere in the world.

Having up-to-date outlets that fit your needs and lifestyle can help you get the most out of your home.


Seeing a quick blue spark when you plug in a device is normal. But if the spark lasts longer than usual, is larger than usual, is yellow or white, or smells like burning plastic, you should shut off the power to that outlet. These sparks can be caused by many things, including:

•  Moisture

•  Short circuits

•  Age

•  Overload

•  Bad repairs


Don’t hesitate to give our electricians a call so we can assess the issue and keep your family safe.

The first thing to do when an outlet seems to not be working is to plug a different appliance into the outlet. This will let you know if it’s the outlet or the appliance itself that isn’t working. If the second appliance does not work, use these troubleshooting tips to help identify the source of the problem and determine if you need to call an electrician:

  • Check to see if the outlet is a GFCI outlet. These outlets are designed to switch off the electricity to that outlet if it detects an overload. Make sure you are not plugging in too many appliances to that outlet, and check for signs of moisture. If the outlet seems to be fine, simply press the reset button.
  • Check other outlets in the room. If other outlets in the room (or that side of the room) are not working, you’ve probably tripped a breaker in the electrical panel. If this is the case, see if switching it back on solves the problem.

A tripped breaker can be caused by plugging in too many appliances, so you may need to unplug something. If this happens frequently, turn off the circuit and call an electrician to check for a short circuit or other issues.

The wires for the outlet may be loose or faulty. Some signs of possible faulty wires include:

  • A buzzing sound or a smell coming from the outlet
  • Scorch marks around the outlet
  • Flickering lights
  • The outlet is hot to the touch
  • An old electrical system

This problem may be solved by re-securing the wires to the outlet. Sometimes, the entire outlet will need to be replaced.

Schedule a Free Estimate.

GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. When a GFCI outlet senses a power surge, it automatically shuts off the flow of electricity to that outlet by tripping the circuit. These outlets help to prevent electrical shock and are required in some areas of the home, including:

•  Garages

•  Basements

•  Crawl spaces

•  Workshops

•  Bathrooms

•  Laundry rooms

•  Wet or moist areas

•  Any areas with water access or exposure

If you’re looking to install GFCI outlets in your home, don’t hesitate to give our experienced electricians a call.

Get Help From Our Experts!

Need Our Expert Electricians to Handle It For You? If you are in West Central Florida, contact us now for any residential or commercial service needs.

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And schedule your free estimate​

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