Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Sometimes things are much worse than they look

It is very common in homes find receptacles with signs of overheating.

overheated receptacle


Most common are receptacles in bathrooms and rooms where space heaters or hair dryers have been used.

Sometimes the signs of overheating at the exterior (like in the preceding picture) is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how much damage is lurking behind the cover.

In this case, after taking off the cover plate, extensive damage to the receptacle and the plastic box itself was evident.

badly damaged receptacle

This is one of the ways fires happen in homes and this home was probably lucky to not have had one.

If you have receptacles that look anything like the one in the picture---some signs of overheating---please have them replaced by a licensed electrical contractor before using it again. It may be in worse condition and more dangerous than it looks from the outside.

Notice that this one---even though incredibly damaged, was still energized and "functional."


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Seattle Home Inspector


The Human Rights Campaign   QR code for Charles Buell Inspections Inc


WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board

Comment balloon 8 commentsCharles Buell • January 22 2016 03:59PM


Wow, that is scary!!!  If I see any damage I would replace them, I have a fear of there being a fire.

Posted by Cynthia Grimes, "With You Every Step Home!" (eXp Realty, LLC) over 3 years ago

AGain, great pix to drive the points of the post are an expert!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) over 3 years ago

Well you didn't need the thermal camera to find that baby!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 3 years ago

 Electricity always gets my full respect and should be repaired by a licensed electrician Charles Buell 

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Northwest.) over 3 years ago

Charles electrical is one thing I pay attention to. My question is - is it only necesssry to replace the outlet or could there be a bigger issues lurking in the wiring as well?

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) over 3 years ago

That's the easy way to test it!  The lick test is fail safe.  But not always fun...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

I'm always amazed at some of the small things that sellers don't fix prior to listing their house or even before inspection. 

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 3 years ago

Uh oh. Probably not a good sign.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago