Outlets are critical components in any building's electrical system as they connect the devices and appliances to the power supply. Since the discovery of electrical energy, electrical receptacles, also known as outlets, have undergone numerous design and technological changes in a bid to increase safety and efficiency. However, most people whose homes or business facilities have the old types of outlets have never thought to upgrade them to modern ones. If you are one such, the following signs may be an indication that you need to ditch the outlets for new, modern ones.
You have 2-Prong receptacles
2-Prong or 2-Slot outlets are made up of only two slots, that is, the live or hot slot and the neutral slot. The live slot has the live wire which transmits electrical energy to the outlet. The neutral slot hosts the neutral wire whose role is to complete the circuit. 2-Prong sockets do not have the grounding slot which grounds the electrical current. The earth or ground wire is a safety wire which directs current into the ground in the event of an electrical fault. In its absence, one can easily get electrocuted if they touched a faulty outlet.
If your home or business has 2-Prong outlets, it may be time to replace them with 3-Slot ones. 3-Prong circuits have the live, neutral, and earth wires. If your building doesn't have these, it may also be an indication that your electrical system is not up to code. Installing sockets with earth wires will help maximise the safety of those who come into contact with the receptacles.
Your electrical system is old
Homes and business facilities that were built during or before the 90s are most likely to have outdated electrical systems. If you have an outdated electrical system, it may be a ticking time bomb as far as safety is concerned. For instance, most old systems run on less than 100 amperes. The electrical appliances used today are bound to draw a lot of power beyond what these old systems can handle. This will cause an overload, and the result will be overheating outlets and tripping circuits. To avoid electrical fires, install electrical systems that run on 100 amp service or more.
You have suffered a few electric shocks
Have you ever touched a switch or plugged an appliance in an outlet and felt a buzz? If so, this means that an electrical current traveled through your body to the earth? This shows that your building is not equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIS) to stop the electrical flow when there is a fault. Most of the electric shocks people experience at home may seem harmless, but they are a reflection of the state of your home's electrical safety system. You need to install a GFCI that will detect fluctuations in current and cut power before anyone suffers an electric shock.
Contact an electrical service to assess the electrical outlets together with the overall system so that they can carry out necessary upgrades to maximise electrical safety in the building.