Switches are used to turn the power on and off. Outlets, or receptacles, are usually mounted on a wall or floor to supply electricity through a cord and plug to appliances, lamps, TV, etc. These are the key points in our electrical systems that give us our first line of control to our electrical use, and they are critical connection points. With time and use, these connections can become loose, creating potential hazards.
- Check to make sure outlet and switch plates are not unusually hot to the touch. If they are, immediately unplug cords from these outlets and do not use the switches. Have a qualified, licensed electrician check the wiring as soon as possible.
- Look for discoloration as another sign of potentially dangerous heat buildup at these connections. Stand across the room and look for a tear-drop shaped darkening around and above outlet and switch cover plates.
- With outlet and switch cover plates, warm to the touch may be okay, but hot is not.
- Check that all outlet and switch cover plates are in good condition so that no wiring is exposed. Replace any missing, cracked or broken cover plate. Exposed wiring is a shock hazard.
- Be sure to use safety caps with unused outlets.
Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International @http://http://www.electrical-safety.org/