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Electrical Outlet Issue

I've been replacing electrical outlets throughout our 40 year old house because anything you plug into them wants to fall out. I've never had this problem in any home I've ever lived in, but this is baffling me. Can anyone tell me what causes these outlets to fail? I'm guessing who ever built the house put in the cheapest components possible but want to make sure there isn't something else going on. When we built our addition, we hired a license electrician and he sure couldn't answer this mystery.

A. Spruce
Re: Electrical Outlet Issue

Excessively used and/or abused outlets tend to lose their grip over time. I've never experienced a whole house full of them, but I have had one or two that wouldn't hold a plug.

Another problem could have been plugs being ripped out of them at odd angles, which would bend the internal spring tangs in the outlet and make them sloppy. We've all done it, pulled the vacuum cord just a little further and harder than we should have. :o:D

Re: Electrical Outlet Issue

While we have a small 1959 ranch I have replaced about 80% of the outlets in the last 18 months because the plugs just will not stay in. I attribute this to age and metal fatigue.

Seems normal to me for the age.

Re: Electrical Outlet Issue

Fortunately a cheap fix(provided you do it yourself) and an oppotunity to make all of the receptacles and plates match themselves and your decor. Also a chance to check for bad wires and reversed polarity.

Re: Electrical Outlet Issue

Cheap receptacles were sold through chain hardware stores. I have had to replace many that were only in for a short time.


Re: Electrical Outlet Issue

You need to buy premium grade receptacles at an electrical supply house not the 33 cent ones at a bargain counter.

New Code requires they be the Tamper Resistant type with shutters that close when a plug is removed. This prevents shock or burn if a child tries to insert a paperclip. A home inspector will reward this electrical upgrade, if you need to refinance or sell the house.

Also, if you're replacing the receptacles yourself buy the type that have side pressure plates. Just strip 3/8" insert and tighten the screw...no wrapping!

Re: Electrical Outlet Issue

That's why I only install spec grade (commercial grade) receptacles and switches anymore. I had to replace some in my previous house which was only five years old and I was the first owner!

And to answer the next question, I bought the house from a subdivision builder, built from their pre-drawn plan. There wasn't much for customization options or the ability to specify premium electrical parts.

Re: Electrical Outlet Issue

Thank you for your feedback. At least we aren't alone with this issue. I think I'll be going to the electrical supply house to buy my outlets and switches in the future. I just purchased one of those outlets that has the tamper resistant tabs and love it. I think I'll be using them from now on.

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