Wiggly outlet receptacles

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Old 10-08-20, 11:56 AM
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Wiggly outlet receptacles

Iím not at all handy and a couple of my outlet receptacles have some wiggle to them. Is this something I should get a professional for right away or is it ok to wait a bit and just not use this outlet until I have some more tasks an electrician could do all at once.
 
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Old 10-08-20, 12:03 PM
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When you plug something in, are the plug and receptacle tight togehter and wiggle together, or do the receptacle and wall cover plate both stay still and just the plug wiggles?
 
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Old 10-08-20, 12:14 PM
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They both wiggle together. The plug itself seems tight
 
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Old 10-08-20, 03:24 PM
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That is a very simple fix. Just remove the screw in the center of the cover plate and remove the cover. Then you will see two screws attaching the outlet, one top and one bottom. Tighten them and re-install the cover. If you are worried about getting shocked turn off the breaker to that circuit before working.
 
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Old 10-08-20, 04:02 PM
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Thank you!! I assume there’s no real risk to a wiggly receptacle aside from just becoming annoying?
 
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Old 10-08-20, 04:05 PM
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@ Pilot Dane this may be an easy and quick fix unless this is a plastic box and the holes are stripped. I am going through the same issue here I went to unplug something and out comes the whole receptacle still attached to the house wiring and the cord stayed in the outlet. (the fact I only use industrial grade devices probably did not help). I now have to replace that box unless there is another way as that box has two cables in it (one is power in and the other is power out to the next receptacle in the line) so this would be a royal pain in the you know what.
 
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Old 10-08-20, 05:36 PM
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I assume there’s no real risk to a wiggly receptacle aside from just becoming annoying?
That's correct. As you described, the connection between plug and receptacle is tight, so the outlet wiggling around a little is more annoyance than risk.
 
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Old 10-09-20, 09:01 AM
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unless there is another way
You could fill the stripped holes in a plastic box with epoxy and re-drill holes for the screws.

If the box pulls out of the wall you could use these box supports to hold it in place.
 
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Old 10-10-20, 01:37 PM
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From what I can tell the boxes are firmly (except one with a SPST switch that box is mounted to a stud on the left side but nothing on the back or other side) in the wall. Do you mean fill the holes with epoxy (what kind?) and when it dries drill new holes in the epoxy? or something else?
 
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Old 10-10-20, 03:48 PM
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On second thought, a wiggling switch or receptacle could result in failure and then overheating of the connections in back. Especially but not exclusively with back stab "push the wire into the hole and it sticks by itself" connections.

Inserting a thin sliver of wood such as a not too fat toothpick into the screw hole and then retrying the screw may result in a tighter fit for a stripped hole. It may take some tirial and error maybe using two toothpicks., But don't force it if it seems too tight to try to screw in place again because you might split the plastic box edge and now have to replace the box.


 
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Old 10-13-20, 01:43 PM
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Inserting a thin sliver of wood such as a not too fat toothpick into the screw hole
A piece of paper or aluminum foil might be a better way to get a screw to grip in a plastic hole. I suggested epoxy and drilling because it is sure-fire. Rather than epoxy any type of glue that will harden should work. Maybe even put the screw in when the glue is wet and avoid drilling.
 
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Old 10-13-20, 02:29 PM
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OK one more question or concern what if the receptacle in question goes bad or has to be removed or replaced for any reason how would it then be removed if I put some super glue and then screw the screw in?
 
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Old 10-13-20, 03:01 PM
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how would it then be removed
Metal screw vs. plastic hole against a twisting force? The glue would probably not hold and the screw would unscrew leaving glue threads in the hole for reuse. Or the glue/plastic bond would let go and you could pull the screw out. Worst case the plastic would break, but I doubt it due to the small screw size.
 
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