Why Is My Electrical Outlet Warm?

Have you ever noticed when you plug in an electronic device the electrical outlet feels warm? The electrical outlet is the source that provides electricity to all those electrical devices you depend on whether it is an electric mixer in the kitchen, your laptop, or your phone charger.

Since you’ve got so many electrical devices throughout the home, as long as they all keep functioning, there’s no cause to think anything is wrong. However, if you notice an electrical outlet feels warm or worse, hot to the touch, there could be trouble lying beneath the walls. While not all cases are dire, warm electrical outlets should be checked out soon to avoid things getting worse. One call to DFW is all it takes to make things right.

So why is your electrical outlet warm?  

Reason # 1: You’re Using a “Wall Wart”

Wall wart is the term used by techies and electronic nuts for a charger, modem, or basic electronic device plug. What distinguishes them from other plugs, is they are a large square as opposed to a simple two or three-pronged plug. They might more aptly be named wall hogs, as they tend to block adjacent plugs either in a power bar or in the wall outlet from being used due to their size.

If they are doing their job, it’s not uncommon for them to produce heat. If your wall wart feels warm, unplug it for a few hours and see if the outlet cools down. If not, there is either something wrong with the charger or something below that needs attention.

Reason #2: Plug Over Kill

Many families just don’t have enough electrical outlets to keep up with the demand of all the electrical devices they use. As a result, it could be your outlet is warm because you’ve plugged too many devices into the outlet. This can happen even if you use a power strip or an outlet multiplier. Although these tools can help adapt to your electrical demands, they tend to draw more energy which can lead to overheating. In this case, it could be you need to unplug a few things. But again, if you do downsize and use the outlet for just two things as intended and it’s still warm, it’s safest to have it checked.

Reason #3: Damaged Wiring

If there is something damaged such as the terminal is loose or the wiring itself is damaged, you will feel heat. This is because the flow of electricity is causing the outlet, or sometimes even a light switch to heat up. In this case, it is important to have an electrician look at it immediately as it can be quite dangerous.

Reason #4: The Infrastructure is Broken

If you can actually see that a part of the outlet or plug is broken, this means the electrical infrastructure is damaged. This is a common reason the outlets can heat up over time. This calls for immediate replacement and also warrants investigation of the entire electrical system to look for further issues.

Reason #5: Demand on the Circuit

As mentioned in Reason #2, today’s families put way more demand on their electrical systems than builders had in mind. So, in many cases, the actual design of your electrical wiring might just not be up to the task of managing all that current flowing to the switches and outlets in your home. The older the home the more likely it is all the outlets and switches in the room are connected to the same circuit. This calls for rewiring by an electrician.

Reason #6: Insufficient Fuse or Breaker

Another issue associated with older homes and electrical systems; electrical codes were not designed with so many electrical devices in mind. As a result, it’s not uncommon for older homes to be in dire need of a fuse or breaker update.

While there are some harmless reasons you might notice a warm outlet or switch, you want to investigate the issues in order to minimize any risk of an electrical fire. If you try these recommendations and still find your outlets are warm, such as limiting the number of plugs in the outlet, then it’s time to call an electrician. In the case where damage is more obvious, don’t try to fix it yourself. Call in the team from DFW and let a licensed electrician correct the damage.

Find Long-Term Solutions

This is where we come in. As your DFW electricians, we can identify underlying issues causing warm electrical outlets — from safety inspections to replacing whole panels. Give us a call at DFW today to learn more!

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TopTech Electric & Plumbing employs some of the best licensed electricians in Dallas and Fort Worth. We base this on their years of experience, the level of training they have undertaken, and the broad range of services they can provide. When you work with one of our electricians, rest assured that you’re working with a Dallas electrical contractor that has been thoroughly vetted for your safety and protection. All of our technicians undergo extensive background checks before they put on the TopTech uniform. We’re confident when we say that we hire the best. From ceiling fan installation to installing electric vehicle chargers, TopTech does it all!