Outlets, like most parts of a home or building, are designed to last for years. However, they eventually wear out, become outdated, damaged, or for some reason need to be replaced. Perhaps in an older house there just aren’t enough outlets to accommodate the number of modern devices typical in today’s homes. Never fear, there are solutions to each of these problems.
The Difference between New and Old
In older homes, electric outlets often only have openings for two prongs without a ground attached. There are adaptors available to allow you to use the outlets with a grounded three prong device, but those are really meant for temporary rather than permanent usage. The ground was contained in the unit to be plugged in when those outlets were installed whereas today’s devices are designed for a much safer system which relies on the house itself being grounded.
Why Replace Old Outlets
Older outlets become unsafe because they were engineered for a different overall system. You may want to remember, the wiring is going to be at least as old as the outlets are, so whatever you see at the outlet plug is going to be happening behind the wall also. You can replace outlets yourself with just a small bit of mechanical aptitude, but it may be wiser to hire a professional to not only replace the outlet but also look for common problems with the wiring and possibly add a ground to make your home safer.
When to Replace
Sometimes outlets have to be replaced to meet local code requirements, in other cases they simply don’t work or don’t seem to be providing adequate current like they once did. During remodeling or renovation projects the outlets are typically replaced. Otherwise, if you notice excessive heat buildup and especially if you see sparks when plugging or unplugging a device it’s time to replace an outlet. Remember the other outlets are probably just as old, if you see the problem with one you should consider replacing all the outlets in your home.
More Access to More Outlets
Once upon a time a living room only needed power for one or two lamps and a television. With charging stations for a laptop computer, tablet and smartphone, multiplied by the number of people in your family, the need for electric outlets is larger in today’s world. More outlets can be installed to suit your needs.