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|Home 'Switch and Outlet Wiring Made Easy'|
Worn / Damaged
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It is very important that worn or damaged electrical items are taken out of service and repaired / replaced.
There are two issues here.
First the faceplate has been cracked at the screw. Because the outlet was not flush, the screw was forced in thereby cracking the cover, the cover will be prone to break off thereby losing the protective cover. Electrical boxes should be installed so they stick out from the stud enough that it will come up to the edge of the finished drywall surface, this one did not make it there causing the outlet to be more recessed.
If the box was positioned properly on the wall stud you should never need these, but these are specially made spacers that are sold that will allow the outlet to be secured and to stick slightly out from the box in order to meet the cover plate perfectly.
This is obviously not a modern day outlet as that no equipment grounding on it, but that part I will cover in the article 'Old Homes / Wiring' .
Three concerns here, first there is no cover, second the outlet is discoloured and showing it has aged and should be replaced, third the wire cable is looped around the outside of the outlet.
Broken outlet, contacts exposed - replace.
If you observe any arcing / flashes in switches, outlets that do not grip the plug properly, replace immediately. Regularly examine power cords for ware, repair / replace any defective cords. Discoloured / blackened / anything that has any kind of burnt smell to it, discontinue using and repair / replace. Any cords that feel warm or hot to the touch means it is overloaded, perhaps an undersized extension is in use.
Filtering lights / fluctuations in voltages could mean a lose wire on the circuit, needs to urgently investigated, will be covered in the article (on our sister website 'Wiring Done Right') 'Trouble Shooting Problems', it is far better to stop using an item, to shut down a circuit that has an issue until it is investigated and properly addressed / fixed then to continue using something that could cause a fire or cause injuries, and sometimes fatal. Some things in life can be safely put off, dangerous electrical faults is one item that can be tragic if not promptly addressed and corrected.
By: Donald Kerr
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