How to Prevent Electrical Outlets from Overheating?

One of the most common problems is electrical outlet overheating. Electrical outlets are used to distribute electrical energy. Thus, the reliability of the electrical installations depends on the electrical outlets functioning without overheating.

How to Prevent Electrical Outlets from Overheating?

The most common problem in electrical outlets is overheating at the connection points. Thus, overheating may cause a potential hazard. In this article, we will discuss the reasons for overheating & how to avoid the overheating problem.

Reasons of Electrical outlet Overheating

The followings are the reason for the overheating of electrical outlets.

Damage of contact area

The damage caused a reduction in the contact area. The reduction of the area increases the resistance. Further, the increased resistance leads to more (I2R ) heat losses. This heating further increases the heating problem. And, finally electrical outlets damage.

Loose Connections

The contact between the two wires must be as tight as possible. The minimum is the contact resistance, the minimum is the heating. The contact resistance increases when there is looseness in the connection. We must check the connections periodically to enhance the reliability of the electrical connections.


Overloading means flowing the electrical current through the electrical outlets more than the rated capacity of the outlets. The contacts of the outlets have their designed current-carrying capacity. If it handles more current than its rated FLC, the excess current causes heating in proportional to the square of the current. Thus, the heating increases in the electrical outlets drastically and, it may damage the electrical outlets.


Moisture in the enclosure/body of the electrical outlets causes overheating. It may cause the failure of the outlet as well. Let us understand how the moisture cause overheating. The moisture creates a low resistance path. The current flows in two paths. One is through the outlets and the other is through the body of outlets. The current flowing through the insulating part of the outlets causes heating in the area. Thus, heating has two effects.

  • Cause reduction in the insulation level may cause sparkover.
  • The heating in the outlets body cause damage to body and further the electrical outlets failure.


The deposition of other undesired materials over the connection points causes an increase in the contact area resistance. Primarily, the oxidization on the contact area is the main reason of increased resistance. Thus, the increased resistance leads to an increase in heating.

Quality of Installation

The workmanship of the electrical outlets installation has a long-lasting effect on the quality of the installation. The following improper installations may cause damage to electrical outlets.

  • Wrong selection of the wire size
  • Loose connections
  • Improper enclosure

How to avoid electrical outlet Overheating?

We can avoid or minimize the electrical outlets overheating by taking the following measures.

  • Limit the number of power distribution strips: If we connect more power strips to the outlets output, the heating caused by all the outputs adds. Finally, this heating increase the overheating of the electrical outlets.
  • Periodic Checking of the wiring: The electrical connections of outlets may loose over a period of time. The preventive maintenance is only the solution for detecting the loose connections. A qualified electrician services is a must for ensuring the healthiness of the electrical installation.
  • Periodic Inspection of Appliances. The plug inserted into the electrical outlets may be defective. And in this case the heat may transfer from plug to socket. Therefore, the plugs connected to the electrical outlets needs periodical checking. The other reason is types of the load connected to the electrical outlets. When the load is non linear, it will cause overheating.
  • Use of ELCB: Earth leakage circuit breaker trips the circuit if there is earth fault. Thus, we can avoid the high current flowing through the electrical socket.

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