Asked on Feb 2, 2013

electrical outlet

Jessica AWoodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.comKMS Woodworks


Q: What would cause an outlet to get warm to the touch? We had one. Removed it and capped it temporarily with the notion that it was just a bad outlet and will replace it. No other outlets on that circuit are having a problem. Is this a concern or just a bad outlet?
4 answers
  • LandlightS
    on Feb 2, 2013

    I would say that the heat was caused by a lose connection,,,most likely on the neutral side of the device. Were the wires "back stabbed" (push into the back of the device)? Always secure the wire to the device using the screw terminals and make sure that they are very tight (with the loop of the wire in the clockwise position on the screw)

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Feb 3, 2013

    I sniffed out a problem a bit like this a few years ago where some kitchen can lights were acting up...the dimmers were warm ( which is natural to some degree as the aluminum face plate acts as a heat sink) When tested with a volt meter the light were getting about 80 to 90 volts instead of the regular full power of 120 volts. After tracing back through a couple of un- unused 4-way switches the source power was being pulled from a set of outlets in the living room...these were cheap o back stab versions. I replaced them with some better units and used the side screws. The current was then stable at 120 v. if possible it is always better to run independent circuits for lights and receps. I like to run full 12 gauge for all receps with 20 amp rated plugs, Most lights can then be run with 14 gauge which is a touch cheaper and a bit easier to manipulate,

  • The last thing can be aluminum wiring. Some older homes were wired with this material and quite often because of the types of outlets used even if the wires are under screws as LandlightS suggested they can come loose and corrode. So when checking and repairing the outlet(s) be sure to know what kind of wires it is that you have. If aluminum have a professional check out the rest of your wires in the house.

  • Jessica A
    on Feb 18, 2013

    thank you everyone, you have helped.

Your comment...