Most homeowners will eventually need to decide whether to repair or replace outlets. Outlets are deceptively simple systems, but getting this issue right is critical. Here are some factors to consider when choosing between repairing and replacing an outlet.

Visible Damage

Any outlet with visible darkening or staining, such as browning or blackening, should be completely replaced. These stains or discolorations indicate that the outlet has degraded significantly and could pose a major fire risk to your home. A qualified electrician should disable the electricity to that part of the house, test the system, and identify any potential problems. After addressing any underlying issues, they will likely recommend that you replace the outlet.

Not all visible damage is created equally. A typical outlet has a small protective plastic panel. If it has suffered nicks, you don’t need to replace the whole outlet. A professional can instead complete a small repair by replacing the cover. Similarly, visible yellowing may just be the product of the cover using an older plastic. Many old plastics, especially white and beige ones, yellow with time due to UV exposure. Once more, the simple solution is to have an electrician remove the offending portion and install a new cover.


People use outlets to provide electrical capacity in their homes. As people accumulate more electronic devices with each passing decade, their need for capacity grows.

Notably, the capacity issue is very situational. For example, your living room might already have enough outlets to handle your needs. In that scenario, repair work is likely to be the best choice as long as there isn’t another problem. If you’ve been adding lots of power strips and extension cords throughout your home, replacing your power outlets might be a more urgent situation. Power strips can work as stop-gaps with low-power devices, but they can pose risks when they’re used for more powerful devices and appliances.

Underlying Condition

The underlying condition of the outlet will also determine if you should repair or replace an outlet. If a technician doesn’t identify any issues with an outlet, such as wiring problems, then there is nothing wrong with just repairing it.


If an outlet is too old for its purpose, it’s time to replace it. Bringing outlets up to code is one of the more common reasons for replacing them. Depending on the regulations where you live, you may have to modernize certain outlets.

For example, standard outlets that are located close to water sources in the home, such as a sink or shower, will need to be updated to remain in compliance with building codes. These codes typically require that homeowners use ground fault current interrupter, or GFCI, outlets that are located within specific distances of household water supplies.

GFCIs serve as small circuit breakers that shut down the supply of power to only that outlet when a short is detected. That way, if a bit of water splashes from the sink onto the outlet and you then plug in your hair dryer, the GFCI will prevent electricity from flowing into the socket, thereby protecting you from shock or electrocution.

An increasingly popular modernization is adding outlets with USB capability to charge devices like phones and tablets. If you find yourself often tripping over and untangling cords and adapters, you might want to add an outlet that supports both USB Type A and C.


Finally, many outlets become loose from wear and tear. Even if you’ve only ever had one thing plugged into an outlet, gravity may slowly loosen the socket. Likewise, the receptacle can also become loose. Loose sockets need to be replaced. However, a loose receptacle with tight sockets can often be a simple repair.

If you’re wondering whether to repair or replace an outlet in South Central Texas, contact GVEC Electrician Services today and have one of our professional, licensed electrician inspect the problem and help you to determine what the best course of action may be. We’re happy to do all jobs—big and small and any electrical upgrades! Fill out a contact form, or call us today for electrical services!

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