June 3, 2024
What To Do If Your Electrical Outlet is Burnt

Electrical outlets are an essential part of your home and the convenience of modern technology. However, if one of the electrical outlets in your home burns out, this can be a serious issue. This piece will explain how to recognize signs of a burnt electrical outlet, what you should do, and possible causes.

Signs of Burnt Electrical Outlets

You need to be able to easily recognize the signs of a burnt electrical outlet. to take immediate action, and your outlet will continue to be a safety hazard to your home, its occupants, and your belongings.

Some of the common signs include the following.

Visible Signs

When an outlet burns out, you might spot visible damage to the outlet. Look for any kind of dark discoloration around the outlet or the faceplate covering it. This discoloration will usually originate from the plug holes. However, an outlet can burn out without leaving visible signs, so you must be vigilant when checking for other signs too.

Burnt Odor

A burning odor from the outlet is a clear sign that something is wrong with your outlet. The burnt smell can vary slightly depending on the materials that burned because of it. Plastic outlets and rubber insulation around the wires can have a strong and distinct smell when they burn. However, any kind of burning smell coming from an outlet is a sign of damage.

Electrical Sparks

If you plug in or unplug a device and you see sparks, you have a clear problem. Even if you don’t notice any other signs of burning yet, whatever is causing the sparks will eventually cause a burnt outlet. You should address it the same way.

Circuit Breaker Tripped

While many things can cause a circuit breaker to trip, one cause can be a burnt outlet. If you notice that your circuit break trips repeatedly but you aren’t sure why, examine the outlets in your home for signs that they are burnt. Don’t forget to check uncommonly used outlets like ones in your garage or on the outside of your home.

Warm Outlet

Your outlet shouldn’t feel warm if it is functioning correctly. If your outlet is hot or warm to the touch, it can indicate that the electrical outlet is burnt or will be soon. Even if you don’t notice other signs of burning yet, treat it as if it has.

How To Handle Burnt Outlets

Now that you can more easily recognize the common signs of a burnt electrical outlet, you need to know how to handle it. Follow these steps exactly. Ignoring or skipping steps can result in further damage to your home and devices. It can also lead to serious safety issues.

1. Shut The Power Off

Once you’ve noticed that an electrical outlet in your home is burnt, you need to shut off the power. Locate your home’s circuit breaker or fuse box. Turn off the power to the room or area affecting that specific outlet. While some outlets can be controlled by a switch in a room, you need to turn a burnt outlet off at the breaker or fuse box.

2. Stop Using The Outlet

Don’t turn the power back on for this electrical outlet. Wait until the problem has been fixed by a professional. Turning the power back on can cause further damage.

3. Contact a Professional Electrician

After following the first two steps, contact a qualified electrician. They will inspect the outlet and figure out the source of the problem. Once the underlying cause is determined they can fix any damage so that you can use that outlet again.

Possible Causes

Various things can lead to an electrical outlet getting burnt. An electrician will look for these possible causes to figure out the problem. However, the underlying reason for the problem can be much larger than the outlet itself. Some common causes of a burnt electrical outlet are:

Old or Worn Outlet

Over time, electrical outlets can wear out or the outlet gets damaged in some way. When an outlet wears out due to age it can be more prone to overheating which can cause burning. If you have a much older home, it is good to update old outlets to avoid this issue.

Faulty Wiring

Home wiring that is poorly installed or wires that are damaged can lead to an electrical outlet burning out. An electrician can check the wiring of the outlet and other parts of your home to see if this is the issue. Just like outlets themselves, wiring in much older homes can wear out and cause issues.

Short Circuit

Sometimes, a short circuit can lead to an electrical surge. This surge of electricity can burn your outlet out. If this is the cause of your electrical outlet, an electrician must figure out what caused the short circuit and remedy it to prevent future issues.

Loose Connections

Loose wiring inside the outlet can lead to issues. When the wiring is loose, it can cause resistance that generates heat. This heat can burn your electrical outlet out.


Overloading is when you plug too many devices into your outlet. It can also happen if you plug in a larger appliance that requires a different, dedicated outlet. Not only can overloading an outlet cause the circuit to trip, but it can also lead to a burnt electrical outlet. Make sure to limit the number of devices you plug into each outlet and only plug a large appliance into an outlet that meets its requirements.

Importance of Professional Help

While homeowners might be tempted to attempt to repair an outlet without the help of an electrician, this is a mistake. Electricians have more experience, skills, and knowledge. Avoid DIY disasters and contact a qualified electrician for these reasons:


Working with electrical circuits in your home can be dangerous. Electricians can safely fix the issue in a way that prevents bodily harm or further damage to your home. Attempting to fix an electrical outlet yourself can lead to pain and injury.

Prevent Future Issues

When fixing an electrical outlet yourself, you might think you solved the problem but are unaware of a much larger issue. Since electricians can inspect your electrical system and find the underlying cause, will help prevent future issues. Replacing a burnt electrical outlet without fixing the underlying cause will lead to another electrical outlet again shortly.

Warranties and Insurance

If you attempt to repair an outlet or do other electrical work in your home by yourself, you can potentially void any of your insurance coverage or warranties. The terms and conditions of your insurance likely state that electrical work must be handled by a qualified electrician. It’s not worth having an insurance claim denied because you tried to save a few dollars fixing an outlet yourself.

Do you live in Fox Valley, WI, or the surrounding area and need help with your electrical outlets? Black-Haak is happy to help. We have extensive electrical services including new home wiring, repair work, lighting installation, and more. In addition to our electrical services, we also offer various heating, cooling, and plumbing services. If you want more information about any of the services we offer, contact Black-Haak today!

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