Electrical safety is important to you, but you may worry more about things like tripping circuits and dimming lights than you do about the common outlet. You use outlets so routinely, it's easy to forget that they can develop problems too. However, your outlets should be kept in good repair to avoid an electrical shock and home fire. Here are some times you should consider calling an electrician to check your outlets.

When Plugs Won't Stay In

If your outlets are old, the holes in them may be worn and no longer hold onto plugs snugly. If you often see plugs hanging away from the socket or if the plug falls out when you bump the cord, you should stop using the socket until an electrician can make repairs. The socket will probably be replaced so the connection is tight again. The danger with plugs that work loose is that the electricity may arc between the two metal prongs. This is a fire hazard and it damages the prongs. When the metal is pitted by repeat occurrences, the plug won't conduct electricity as well and the plug might get hot.

When Plugs And Cords Are Hot When In Use

If you ever notice a plug is hot when you pull it from an outlet, or if the wall around the outlet is warm, then the situation should be investigated as soon as possible. This could be due to overloading the circuit. It might be due to a malfunction in the wiring of the outlet, the cord, or the appliance. However, it's a dangerous situation and you shouldn't use the outlet until an electrician can determine the problem and fix it.

When An Outlet Is Damaged

It isn't a good practice to use a damaged outlet. If the outlet has char marks on it or if it is cracked after being bumped by a couch or bed, then it should be replaced so it functions safely. Also, if an outlet no longer works or if you plug a light in and the bulb pops or dims, then you should not use the outlet until an electrician tests it and repairs the wiring that's causing the problem.

When The Outlets Are Outdated

For electrical safety, your home should have modern outlets. That means the outlets should have three holes with one of them used for grounding. Although you can buy adapters that let you plug a cord with three prongs into an outlet with two holes, those are not the safest option. You could be shocked and your electrical equipment could be ruined. You should also check your bathroom and kitchen for GFCI outlets. These automatically shut off electrical flow when stray electricity is detected. They have a reset button on them and they should be checked monthly. These are used in rooms with water since there is a higher risk of shock when you're wet or standing in water.

Contact a company like Bausum & Duckett Electric Company Inc for more information.