Why do plugs fall out of outlets? Does this scenario sound familiar? It’s Monday morning. Your eyes creep open, crane your neck to the nightstand, and see no numbers illuminated on your alarm clock. You follow the cord behind the nightstand, and lo and behold—the plug has fallen out of the outlet. Now you’re late for an important meeting, and there’s no time left to shower.
It’s common for outlets to lose their grip on plugs over time—and it’s also common for plugs to fault and lose their grip in outlets. Isolating the issue can be simple, but measures for safety can be crucial.
Here’s what to know about why plugs fall out of outlets.
Why do plugs slip out of outlets?
If you’ve experienced a scenario similar to the one mentioned above, you’re all too familiar with the inconvenience a loose outlet can pose. Whether you’re charging your phone or using a kitchen appliance for Sunday supper with family, there’s never a good time for an outlet to fail.
The most common cause of the unfettered plug slip comes down to faulty contact points in your receptacle. These metal contact points begin to wear over time and slacken their grip on electrical plugs. But it doesn’t end with inconvenience.
Hazards caused by loose plugs
A loose plug produces heat that can damage the wiring within your walls, trip a circuit breaker, or blow a fuse. Even worse, a loose plug can cause what is known as electrical arcing—an occurrence of electrical current flowing through an air gap between conductors. An electric arc is a major cause of house fires, so that loose outlet by your nightstand or in the kitchen isn’t something to put off for long.
It’s estimated that arcing faults are responsible for more than 28,000 house fires every year—so be proactive if you suspect a faulty outlet.
Isolating the Issue
If you experience a loose plug with a particular appliance or device, it’s entirely possible that your receptacle is perfectly intact—and to test that, first try plugging in other cords from other devices to see if the plug remains loose. A plug should fit snug in the outlet, and if there’s any “wiggle room,” you may need an immediate replacement for your receptacle.
If you suspect an outlet in your home is loose or unsafe, your best bet is to call a qualified electrician to inspect the issue and replace the receptacle. Eric Krise Electric is a first-rate electrical contractor with an expert team of topnotch electricians available around-the-clock. Call 856.769.3932 to set up a consult or click here to get in touch today.
More on outlets! While you’re looking for answers on your loose plug, check out our post on the efficiency and safety of two-prong outlets in your home.