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The bottom plastic of electrical outlet is broken. Does it need to be replaced? outlet b/c of fire hazard. In 8 of 10 outlets had a small piece of plastic at the bottom of the grounding plug opening. Why would so many be broken?

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    Need a picture. – Jim Stewart Sep 10 '17 at 22:24
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    Sounds like normal cheap .75 cent outlets to me. Not a fire hazard but these are usually back stabs and in my opinion this is more of a possible hazard than the broken plastic at the ground. – Ed Beal Sep 10 '17 at 22:33
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    @JimStewart don't need a picture, it's that little sliver of plastic between the bottom of the ground pin and the edge of the (conventional oval shape) socket. (bottom=ground pin down conductors up). – Harper Sep 10 '17 at 22:47
  • So would the fact that the OP has a number of these broken in the same way indicate that some previous owner of the house had some unusual way of inserting or removing plugs that would put stress on that plastic edge? – Jim Stewart Sep 10 '17 at 23:50
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    @Jim or the plastic is deteriorating about the same on each, and that's the weakest point. – Harper Sep 11 '17 at 2:42
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"Need" to be replaced? I'd say yes vs. leaving them indefinitely, just because overall when the outlet is fully intact it has its best chance at protecting you, and itself.

Hypothesis on "why so many are broken":

  • person(s) yanked cords from their cord vs. unplugging correctly (maybe they had a 3 prong vacuum).
  • Or, are these outlets in places that furniture was likely placed right up against it?

Use caution while using them as maybe more is broken than what you see and consider changing them or having a handyman change them. As @EdBeal mentions, they are under a $1.00 each. And if backstabs are used, its a chance to "correct" that issue too.

FYI: Backstabs are where electrical wiring is pushed into a spring clip on the backside of a electrical outlet or switch instead of screwed on the sides securely.

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    About backstabs: there are "backstabs" where the screw is used to provide the clamping pressure on the backstabbed wire, these are fine to use. – ratchet freak Sep 11 '17 at 9:47

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