How to Fix a Loose Electrical Outlet | Ravinia Plumbing
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How to Fix a Loose Electrical Outlet

How to Fix a Loose Electrical Outlet

A loose electrical outlet can be a real nuisance, causing plugs to fall out of the socket, which leaves your devices uncharged. For some homeowners in Chicago’s North Shore or Chicago’s Northwest suburbs, their first instinct would be to call an electrician for repairs. However, some DIY-savvy residents are up for the task themselves.

Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric details the steps our licensed electricians take to fix a loose electrical outlet so you can safely go about making this repair on your own if you desire. If you’re not comfortable making electrical repairs, though, we highly recommend contacting a licensed electrician.

What Causes a Loose Outlet?

If you find a loose electrical outlet in your home, there could be a few possibilities that explain this issue.

  • Worn contact points
  • Damaged wiring
  • Electrical box sits too far back in the wall

Before you go about making repairs to loose electrical outlets yourself, it’s important to identify which one of these causes have created the issue. If worn contact points are to blame, this can be repaired by removing the socket and installing a new one. If the electrical box is loose because of its position in the wall, it can be repositioned.

However, if you find signs of damaged wiring or disconnected wires within the outlet box, put your tools down and call our electricians. Wiring damage can indicate a more serious issue as well as cause sparking behind the wall – a serious fire hazard.

Steps to Replace a Loose Electrical Outlet

Collect the tools you’ll need for the job, which include:

  • A new electrical outlet (15 amp, 20 amp, or GFCI)
  • Safety gloves
  • Wire strippers
  • Insulated screwdrivers
  • Voltage tester

Follow these steps to remove the loose electrical outlet and replace it with a new one. 

  1. Turn off the power to the outlet at your home’s main electrical panel by flipping the breaker to the outlet’s circuit.
  2. Verify there is no electricity flowing to the outlet using your voltage tester before starting.
  3. Remove the outlet faceplate.
  4. Unscrew the outlet from the outlet box.
  5. Loosen the outlet’s terminal screws so that you can detach the connected wires. ** If you find signs of scorching, burnt wiring insulation, or other damage to the wiring, stop the repair process and contact your electrician immediately.
  6. Use the gauge on your wire stripper and expose just enough bare wire so that you can twist it around the terminal screw.
  7. Connect the wires to the new outlet, matching the WHITE wire to the SILVER screw, the BLACK wire to the BRASS screw, and the GROUND wire to the GREEN screw.
  8. Carefully position the new outlet into place within the outlet box and attach screws.
  9. Install the new outlet faceplate.
  10. Turn the power back on to the outlet’s circuit at your home’s electrical panel.

Steps to Adjust the Position of an Outlet Box

Collect the tools you’ll need for the job, including:

  • Outlet shims
  • Voltage tester
  • Screwdriver

Follow these instructions to adjust the position of an outlet box within the wall.

  1. Shut off power to the outlet’s circuit at your home’s main electrical panel.
  2. Verify that power is off, and no electricity is flowing to the outlet using the voltage tester.
  3. Remove the screws holding the outlet faceplate in place and pull off the faceplate.
  4. Unscrew the outlet and remove it from the wall.
  5. Place the outlet shims onto the outlet screws, which will cover the space between the screws and the recessed outlet box. Use more than one shim per screw if needed.
  6. Replace the outlet into the outlet box and tighten screws.
  7. Test the outlet to see if it remains loose – if so, remove the outlet, add more shims, and repeat.
  8. Once the outlet sits in the proper position, replace the outlet faceplate, and attach it with screws.
  9. Turn the power back on to the outlet’s circuit at your home’s electrical panel.

Contact Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric for Electrical Repairs

These two repairs are relatively straightforward and can be performed by homeowners to save the cost and time associated with an electrical repair service call! If you ever feel unsafe or uneasy about performing DIY electrical repairs to fix a loose electrical outlet or otherwise, be safe and do not attempt the project. The licensed electricians of Ravinia Plumbing are always available to perform the repairs you need safely and professionally. Contact us to schedule service today in Chicago’s North Shore or Chicago’s Northwest suburbs!

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Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric
575 Bond St,
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
P: (847) 579-5565
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