loose electrical oulets

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I moved to a new place a couple months ago (a rental). Whenever I try to plug something in the wall, the plug is loose and I have to bend the prongs to keep it in or it'll fall out.
Is there a better fix for this or just something I'll have to live with...bending the prongs on all my cords.
Thanks, bonnie
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Bonnie Jean wrote:

replace all the receptacles with new ones. Since you're renting, no sense doing better than the 39 cent jobs. Ask your landlord first but don't be surprised if he won't fix it for you.
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

No, he'll just evict her for unauthorized changes. Ask nice once, and if he blows you off, ask again and mention whoever the local inspection authority is, either for basic fire code or rental units. If he simply doesn't want to do the work, offer to split the cost of having a licensed electrician do it. Not to defend landlords, but I'd be reluctant to let a tenant do any wiring either, unless I personally knew what their skill set was.
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*The receptacles need to be replaced. With a loose connection like that and a significant continuous load such as a heater plugged in, the receptacle and the plug will get very hot. Under the right conditions a fire could start. I'd discuss it with the landlord. He/she may be the type who will fix it right away or he/she may think it is not worth spending the money.
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Absolutely right. Your loose plugs are a fire hazard no matter what is plugged into them. Loose connections spark and arc and that can make for lots of heat fast. The landlord should replace them. If not, a call to the fire department asking for an inspection because you're concerned should start things rolling.
The National Electrical Code calls for special "arc fault" circuit breakers to be installed on outlets in new construction to sense just the problems that you're likely to have -- or are already having.
TKM
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wrote:

keep in mind that it costs less than a buck to replace an outlet.
Even the cost of an electrician won't be too bad if a pile of outlets are replaced. Total cost would probably rise to about $10/outlet.
If you can tell the difference between black and white wires, can strip them, handler a screwdriver and find the right breaker so the job isn't done live then it isn't a terribly difficult doityourself job. Figure 50 cents/outlet, and 5 minutes/outlet.
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Five minutes? Hardly. Not for someone who's never done it before.
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Doug Miller wrote:

But after they do the first one, they've done it before.
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On Jan 23, 10:21am, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

In addition, loose/worn outlets may mean old wiring with brittle, cloth covered insulation. Not the best place for a beginner to get her feet wet.
The OP didn't say how old the apartment is, she simply said she moved to a "new" (to her?) place.
Besides - it's a *rental*. Not only isn't a rental the best place for a beginner to learn (or maybe it is!) the tenant should flat out *not* be doing the repairs.
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On Fri, 23 Jan 2009 07:48:41 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

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On Fri, 23 Jan 2009 08:27:40 -0600, AZ Nomad

Do NOT waste your time and money on $0.50 outlets. The good ones cost just over a buck.
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wrote:

While everyone is correct about loose outlets being a hazard, I have a question:
You said: "Whenever I try to plug something in the wall..."
Is it a specific "something" that is loose in multiple outlets or is everything loose in one or more outlets?
If everything is loose in one or more outlets, then the outlet(s) is probably at fault as many other have said.
However, if it's a specific something that is loose in all outlets, then it could be the plug itself.
I have a Dremel tool that is loose in any outlet or extension cord it is plugged into. It's been that way since it was new. It's a real pain.
Some older plugs have prongs that are folded over on themselves. For these you can stick a screwdriver into the seam and spread them apart. I'm probably dating myself with that suggestion!
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Probably just worn outlets. Or loose wiring on back of worn/cheap outlets.
Landlord responsibility: Also probably covered by local ordinances 'That premises shall be safe and wiring in accordance with local codes'. Not work the tenant should do or have done!
Since it's rented premises better not to do the work yourself and perhaps be held responsible for a future problem or even for a problem with an outlet you did not even touch!
However it is a significant hazard especially if anything 'heavy' such as an electric kettle or heater is plugged in. While it may just be a nuisance when something 'light' such as a shaver is used and it is intermittent.
BUT IT IS NOT SAFE.
Make sure you also have smoke alarm/s and unplug anything at night from any dubious outlet. If necessary 'move'!
However if in the interests of safety and otherwise you do replace anything yourself/yourselves; do it carefully and knowledgeably making sure you know, or the person helping knows what they are doing. Make sure all the connections are tight. A loose connection is as bad, or worse, because it is hidden, as a loose plug!
A good handy person ................... not someone who once replaced a Christmas tree bulb for his mother, doesn't even own a screwdriver and has to borrow a pair of pliers and 'thinks' they know what they are doing!
"Can't be that hard!" etc.???? And it isn't if you know what is what.
But you wouldn't hand an Formula One race car to someone learning to drive, would you? Or allow someone who once flew in a light plane, to pilot a 747!!!
If landlord won't fix them; you can do it yourself but do not ever acknowledge that you have done so. Throw all the wrappings for any new material away quickly and never admit to touching anything. "That's the way they were when I moved in!".
In back of each outlet there should be three or six wires. Typically two black, two white and two bare copper. One set of wires is bringing in the electricity and the other set taking it to the next outlet on that circuit. The last outlet on each run should have one of each wire. Black/white/ground.
The blacks are the live wires (so remove the fuse or turn off the circuit breaker first) these blacks connect to the side of the outlet that usually has brass or copper coloured screws (Narrow pin). One or two white wires connect to the bright shiny screws of the outlet, (Wide pin).
The ground wire or wires are usually bare and is either connected to the metal wall box, if it is leave it there, or connect to a green coloured screw on the outlet itself. Connect up exactly the same. The ground wire like the others is extended from box to box for safety.
Note: since the electric wires go from one outlet to another for all the outlets on that particular circuit, make sure, first, all outlets are working. No point chasing another wiring fault perhaps inside the walls, that is nothing to do with loose outlets.
Then after replacing each outlet, test, to make sure that any outlets further along are still working OK.
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re: "Or loose wiring on back of worn/cheap outlets."
How would loose wires on the back of worn/cheap outlets cause the plug to fall out?
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You said: "Whenever I try to plug something in the wall..."
Is it a specific "something" that is loose in multiple outlets or is everything loose in one or more outlets?
If everything is loose in one or more outlets, then the outlet(s) is probably at fault as many other have said.
Yes, it is everything in every outlet. The house was built in the 60's. I will mention it to the landlord but I don't hold out much hope of him replacing them. If he doesn't replace them I'll call the fire dept and see what they suggest.
Thanks to all for the responses.
bonnie
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On 1/23/2009 2:27 PM Bonnie Jean spake thus:

Forget calling the fire dep't; this is definitely *not* their field of expertise. (Nothing against firefighters, they just ain't electricians.)
If the landlord won't spring for replacing the outlets, you should go ahead and have it done. Get a good electrician or handyman. I wouldn't sweat using an unlicensed electrician, *provided* they know what the hell they're doing (replacing outlets isn't rocket surgery). Get some references, which any legitimate handyperson should be happy to give you.
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On Fri, 23 Jan 2009 17:27:22 -0500, "Bonnie Jean"

Just because I didn't see it
TURN OFF THE BREAKER BEFORE YOU PICK UP THE SCREWDRIVER
If in doubt, turn them all off.
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On 1/24/2009 10:16 AM snipped-for-privacy@aol.com spake thus:

You don't really think the OP is about to replace her own sockets, do you? I think we can safely read between the lines and conclude that she's not about to break out any tools, which is no insult to her. She'd get a (hopefully) qualified person to do it.
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On Sat, 24 Jan 2009 12:03:50 -0800, David Nebenzahl

Assuming she did decide she needs "a big strong man" the advice still stands.
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