Electrical Wall Outlets Get Hot []


I plug a electric space heater into the wall at several locations. Some electric outlets get hot and some do not. What can be the issue of the hot outlets? What can I do to use this space heater so the outlets stay cooler?


Electric wires and outlets are sized and rated by wattage and load delivered to the plugged in appliance. I suspect several things that may affect your hot electric outlets.

First, use a space heater sized small enough to operate safeley where it is plugged in to the wall. Most outlets in family rooms and bedrooms are rated for 15 amp loads which can deliver 1800 watts of heat. Be aware that other appliances use part of that wattage capacity so the space heater is just part of the load on that circuit.

Second could be a loose wire in the plug outlet in the wall so have your outlets and wiring checked by an electrician for safe operation.

Third could be a possibility of aluminum wiring in your home. Aluminum wiring has been the cause of some house fires due to hot outlets like you describe. This outlet problem can be solved by an electrician checking or replacing your outlets with devices approved for aluminum wiring. Your electrician holds the answer.

  • Jill Bensen

    I had an outlet that was getting hot with nothing plugged into it! But it turned out that when I opened the breaker to inspect and replace the outlet that the same circuit also was feeding another outlet into which was plugged a space heater. So when that heater was running, the current had to pass through all the outlets wired between the breaker box and the outlet with the heater. Other outlets on the circuit were all cool. Just this one heated up. Heat is generated by current across a load (resistance) and the outlet is not supposed to be a load. Inspected outlet. Nothing looked bad. Replaced outlet. New one is cool with space heater running as before. I did not know of such a failure mode for outlets prior to this. But apparently they can fail and can generate a lot of heat. I guess space heaters can serve an additional purpose as a test load for helping to locate problems.

  • Jack Burton

    Had this happen. Likely from too much pull at times. I started to use a laser printer and those things draw a lot of peak power when they print. Other outlets on the same line were fine, but one of them started to die and overheat constantly even when nothing was plugged in. Shut off the power and replace it ASAP.