Signs Your Outlets & Switches Need Replaced

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Outlets & Switches

We depend so much on electrical outlets and light switches and yet we don’t give them much consideration until there is an issue. Even then, these vital components still might not receive the attention they need. It’s important to keep a watchful eye on the condition of these items and pay attention when they give us warning signs that it’s time a for a replacement. Do any of the below issues sound familiar? If so, be sure to call a qualified electrician today to remedy the situation.


While you may see a damaged receptacle and want to get it replaced simply for aesthetics, it really is more than just a cosmetic issue. Overtime, damage like cracks allow dust and debris to gain access to your electrical systems. And while changing a faceplate may take care of the appearance, consider having a qualified electrician take a closer look for any internal damage.


While everything gets a little grimy from time to time, charring or visible soot on your outlet is a no go – do NOT attempt to use! Discoloration is an indication your outlet may be burned, damaged or even improperly installed. These must be inspected and addressed by a qualified electrician.

Smells or Sounds

Sometimes signs of an issue are noticeable by our other senses. If you turn on a light switch or plug in an appliance and smell something burning, this could be caused by a short circuit or water damage. If you hear sizzling or popping sounds, this is a fire waiting to happen. In either case, call a qualified electrician immediately.

Loose Connections

If your plugs are not fitting snugly into your outlets or your light switch has lost it’s firm snap (especially if accompanied by a delay in the light turning on/off), it’s a sign the components inside are worn out and will need to be replaced. Loose connections are not only annoying, they can have serious repercussions in the form of arcing, a fire hazard.

Hot to the Touch

While a warm outlet might be caused by too many devices being plugged in and a warm light switch + dimmer is normal, light switches and outlets should never feel hot. If your light switches or outlets are hot, this can be a sign of faulty wiring or failing components. If these items retain retain heat for long periods of time, they can break down causing short circuits, arc faults and electrical fires. Contact a qualified electrician for inspection.


If you see sparks coming from an outlet in your home, you must call an electrician immediately. A sparking outlet can quickly lead to a fire so do not delay!


Do any of your outlets have 2 holes instead of 3? If so, these types of outlets are considered ungrounded. Ungrounded outlets come with serious risks including shock, electrical fires and even property loss if you plug in your favorite devices one too many times. According to the National Electric Code (NEC), all homes built after 1965 are required to have grounded, 3-prong outlets. If your home was built before 1960 when other outdated electrical practices were in place, you may have even more serious issues lurking behind your walls. Please contact a qualified electrician to discuss your concerns.

Simply Not Working

If an appliance plugged into an outlet isn’t working, that could mean the outlet is dead and will need to be replaced. It could also mean you have a blown fuse or tripped circuit so be sure to double check your fuse box first.

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