Sockets come in two forms. These are surface-mounted and flush-mounted. Surface-mounted electrical sockets are convenient to use. They can be installed without opening the wall. In addition, surface-mounted electrical fittings are comparatively easier to install.
Electrical outlets are essential to any household. From low-demand electrical things to the ones with a higher requirement, the range is vast. We use sockets to plug-in chargers, washing machines, refrigerators, heaters, etc. But electrical outlets require care and repair like other parts of your house. Whether you do it yourself or call a professional, keeping the sockets in check is important.
How to take care of surface-mounted electrical sockets?
Surface-mounted electrical sockets can be maintained if you carefully use them and other electrical equipment. Following are some ways to take care of these electrical sockets:
- Follow the instructions for the usage of appliances
Whenever you get a new appliance, make sure to read its instructions. Even if you know how to use the appliance, it can have important instructions regarding sockets, do’s and don’ts, etc. For example, some appliances require sockets that can handle a high voltage, while others do not. Being careful about these minute details can help keep the sockets good for use for a long time.
- Do not overload the electrical outlets
Overloading an electrical outlet can exert pressure on the outlet and lead to hazardous consequences. Check all the outlets for any heating. Their surface should be cool. If any outlet is hot or gets hotter with time, get it checked by an electrician. When using a heating product, do not use any other electrical appliance on that outlet to prevent overloading. Do not plug devices into extension cords or multi-outlet converters. Keep in mind that power strips provide additional outlets only. They do not change the outlet’s capacity to receive power. Don’t use heavy appliances on the same main outlet.
- Repair damaged electrical cords or replaced them
If there are any damaged electrical chords, they pose the risk of electrocution or fire or both. If you see any cracking or fraying on the cords, get them repaired or replaced.
- Clean the sockets and plugs
Clean the plugs and sockets but do it carefully. When doing it, switch the mains’ differential off to ensure no current is passing. You can dust the plug holes with a swab. Next, wipe the plug’s surface with propanol (alcohol type available in hardware shops). After wiping it clean, please wait for it to dry completely. It should not be wet when used. After waiting for some time, you can switch on the main power.
The sockets may be used as a T.V. outlet, a switch for an indoor motion sensor light, etc. Taking good care will lengthen the socket’s life.
Steps to repair a socket
When talking about electrical fittings, the most important aspect is safety. If you are handling an electrical socket, whether installing or repairing, keep these safety tips in mind:
- In the fuse box in your house, switch the main power off.
- If the circuit fuse can be removed, you can isolate the circuit you have to work on. For this, switch the power off at the consumer unit. After this, you can remove the fuse of this circuit.
- Another option is to switch the breaker off.
It is a must to ensure the socket is isolated from its power supply before you do any repair or installation. To ensure this, use a tester to see if electricity passes through.
You may notice that the indoor motion sensor light isn’t working, and the fault may be the socket. If the socket has stopped working, you can do the following after turning the circuit fuse off:
- First, confirm if the outlet is GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter). Then, press the reset button if this is the case. Use the tip of a flat-head screwdriver to press the reset button, which can be difficult to press.
- If the above step doesn’t work, check if the circuit breaker of the outlet in the electrical service panel has been turned off. If so, flip it and then do it again to return it to its correct position.
- If the previous step doesn’t work, check the line outlets on the circuit between the service panel and the affected outlet. If any of the outlets in between are GFCI, they affect the load outlets irrespective of being GFCI or not. If this is the case, reset the GFCI or replace it.
- Move to this step if the previous ones didn’t help. Remove the socket’s faceplate. Check if all the wires are properly connected to the outlet. If there are any pigtailed wires, check if they are connected properly. Green plastic-coated or bare copper wires, ground wires, will usually not make an outlet stop working.
- If, after this, you find that the GFCI outlet is the problem, replace it.
Now you know how to repair a socket. You can try to fix the surface-mounted electrical sockets yourself or ask a professional. In any case, keep safety in mind.