Estes Technician checking hot outlets

Why Does My Electrical Outlet Feel Hot to the Touch?

a dog with its tongue out


Malfunctions within your home's electrical system can cause damage as well as a risk of a house fire, so Atlanta, GA homeowners need to watch for signs of trouble from components throughout the house. For example, when an electrical outlet feels hot to the touch, this is a warning sign that something's not right. Estes Services explains what can cause outlets to feel warm and shares which issues require immediate attention from an electrician to protect your home and family.

Reasons Why an Electrical Outlet Feels Hot to the Touch

People typically discover that an electrical outlet feels hot to the touch when they unplug a cord. Typically, electrical outlets should be at room temperature, so one that feels much warmer can easily cause alarm.

A few different issues can be why your electrical outlet feels hot, but not all pose an immediate danger to your home and family. However, if the outlet also produces a burning smell, has smoke coming out of it, or soot marks on the panel, immediate help is needed. First, turn off the breaker to cut power to the circuit manually and call your electrician for emergency service.

Below, we'll walk you through what could cause a warm outlet as well as how to fix the problem.

Plugged-In Devices Have Transformers

Today, homes are filled with many electronic devices and small appliances requiring electrical power to operate or charge batteries. Many of these products require a transformer to convert the home's AC power to the DC power it needs to run. When plugged in, the transformer generates heat as it changes voltage, and this can cause the outlet to warm up.

If your electrical outlet feels hot to the touch while devices with transformers are plugged in, try unplugging these items and giving the outlet time to cool. Check the outlet after an hour or two and see if it is back to normal room temperature. If the outlet is still hot when you touch it, call your electrician to check it out, and do not use the outlet until it's been professionally inspected and repaired if necessary.

Outlet Is Overloaded

Too many devices or items plugged into a single outlet can be why your electrical outlet is hot. Using outlet splitters or a power strip to run multiple devices from that location can demand more power than the circuit can power. As more electricity runs to the outlet, you'll notice that you have a hot outlet because of increased power.

This issue can typically be solved by unplugging items from the outlet. Then, give the outlet a few hours to cool. If the outlet is still warm, stop using it and call your electrician.

Extension cords, power strips, and outlet splitters really shouldn't be used regularly anyway, so if you rely on this equipment to power devices in this area, talk to your licensed electrician about installing additional outlets.

Damaged Outlet or Wiring

If the outlet, it's the casing, or connected wiring is damaged, this could be why your electrical outlet feels hot to the touch. This damage may not be visible without removing the outlet plate, but it's best not to touch the outlet at all in this situation, as there may be electrical current running through it due to the malfunction, and you could be shocked. Instead, call your electrician to have a new outlet or wiring installed as soon as possible. Turn off power to the circuit at the breaker until a new outlet is installed to prevent the possibility of the faulty outlet catching fire due to a bad connection.

Electrical Repairs in Atlanta, GA

When an electrical outlet is hot or warm, you're right to be concerned. If the troubleshooting advice mentioned above doesn't cause your outlet to cool, call Estes Services to request electrical repairs right away.