As a homeowner, you can tell if you need to upgrade your outlets by looking at the wire connectors at the panel box. The wires will look old and possibly corroded. In these pictures, you can see that the ground wire was just wrapped around the connector but never installed on the ground bar. A good electrician can take your electrical panel apart and then replace or upgrade your outlets. This will improve your homes overall safety.
The pictures to the right are examples of first generation MN wire (romex wire). This wire was introduced before there were grounded outlets. This means that some homes built in the 1950s and 1960s could have the ability to upgrade their outlets to grounded outlets. We still use this type of wire today, only the older jacket shown here is made out of a fiber mesh which is outdated.
- warm/hot to touch;
- cover plates are broken, cracked, or missing;
- dark area over the switch cover plate;
- outlet is in the shape of a tear drop.
A hard wired plug is an outlet or socket mounted into a box for permanent use. This is a picture of an alarm or door bell transformer where instead of adding an outlet they just tied the wires directly to the socket.
The below video shows bad junction that needs to be updated before a fire starts:
If you have your outlets upgraded, you should also have your homes main ground checked as well. Here is a picture of a ground connection that was installed at the same time as the ungrounded wire. It is easy to see that this ground clamp has corroded. Corroded metal does not conduct electricity correctly or safely!
Ungrounded outlets are also unsafe for children. Do you know the difference between a grounded and ungrounded outlet?