How to Fix a Loose Outlet

Sometimes, outlets in the home get loose. Either the entire outlet box wobbles, or the sockets themselves get so loose that any appliance plugged into them just slips right back out again. Either problem can be very annoying.

Both of these problems have relatively easy fixes, however.

Loose Sockets

If you have loose sockets then the outlet simply needs to be replaced. We’ve already covered the method for doing this here on our blog.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable doing the work you need to get the help of a licensed electrical contractor. This kind of work isn’t terribly expensive, at least, if cost is a concern.

The Outlet Itself is Wobbly

Usually outlets wobble because an electrical box is recessed too deeply into the wall. This isn’t the outlet itself, but rather the box that holds the outlet.

However, this problem really can be dangerous. A wobbly outlet is in danger of loosening the wires in that outlet, which, of course, can eventually lead to a dangerous fire.

The answer is to go to your local hardware store. Locate a problem called an outlet shim. Then follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the power to that outlet at the breaker box.
  2. Use a wire tester to be absolutely certain the power is off at the outlet.
  3. Unscrew the outlet.
  4. Slip the shims over the outlet screws. You may have to add more than one shim to each screw. You may have to add more than one shim to each screw. Your goal is to add enough to compensate for the gap left by the recessed box.
  5. Replace the outlet, screw it in, and restore the power.

Again, if you feel uncomfortable at any point you should work with a licensed electrical contractor rather than attempting to complete this work yourself.

We are licensed, experienced electrical contractors in Hillsborough, Carrboro, Wake Forest and the rest of the Raleigh-Durham area. Contact us for a free estimate on solving wobbly outlet problems or dealing with any other electrical work that you might need or want to have done.

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