I looked at my outlets today the top is fine but the bottom ones all have a prong broken off stuck inside. I always wondered is this why my electric bill is so high! Please can someone tell me if broken prongs in outlets drain my electricity!!??

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    They all have a prong broken off stuck inside? That's very curious! Perhaps you are mistaken in your observations. You should get someone with experience to look at them. Mar 18, 2020 at 12:07
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    Could you add a picture?
    – LShaver
    Mar 18, 2020 at 14:57
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    Is it actually a broken prong, or does the outlet have some kind of spring to help keep a plug from falling out? Mar 18, 2020 at 16:16
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    VTC (on the pretense that there's no picture) where actually the OP is on a wild goose chase to find power consumption, and people are suggesting doing something likely beyond your skill set or what might not even be necessary.
    – Mazura
    Mar 18, 2020 at 16:19
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    It's not how much your bill is: it's how many kilowatt-hours you are using. Are you using much more than, say, a year ago? Have you added new appliances? An EV car charger? A teenager who runs a space heater 24/7? and so on. Mar 18, 2020 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


A prong by itself cannot make a complete circuit. Even if it did, it would immediately trip your circuit breaker and likely damage the receptacle (as in it would visibly spark/arc). It doesn't sound they they're on the surface either, or they would be a shock hazard.

If I were you, and you feel confident enough to turn the power off, you could replace it easily with a new receptacle. It's just a matter of unscrewing and screwing with wires. Take a picture of the wires before you disconnect them.

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    @Ray take a photo of the wire positions before you start... or draw a quick sketch.
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 18, 2020 at 5:55
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    Presumably the presence of these prongs means that grounded plugs can't be inserted. In the UK, the earth pin is often used to open the shutters of the other two holes: do US receptacles have shuttered openings like UK sockets do? Mar 18, 2020 at 10:40
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    @AndrewLeach tamper resistant sockets do. Mar 18, 2020 at 10:53
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    If someone is asking if a prong can complete a circuit, presumably they are not in a position to attempt any electrical work. It may be worth not encourage DIY in this particular instance.
    – GManNickG
    Mar 18, 2020 at 20:28
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    @Machavity Not that hard if you know what you're doing. Replacing an electrical outlet can get you killed if you don't know what you're doing, like doing a live-neutral short across your hands. You'll be long dead before it trips even the weakest 3A fuse. THe concept of having a "prong stuck in an outlet" is just outright strange. We don't know what the OP is observing.
    – Nelson
    Mar 19, 2020 at 2:27

I'm assuming US plugs here. No, broken prongs will not cause an increase in your electrical bill. In order for electricity to be used and appear on your bill electricity must move from one side of the top row to the other side of the top row in a circuit, through an electrical device of some kind. If you jumped directly from one side to the other with a wire it could cause an overload and blow a circuit breaker, so that clearly isn't happening, and it would happen so fast it wouldn't add to your electric bill.

The bottom prong is for grounding, which is an electrical safety mechanism, if there's a short in the appliance the energy will go there into the ground instead of through you, so it's very important you get this fixed. You could pull them out, I'd personally be concerned that the outlets have been damaged, which could be dangerous, and I would replace them. If you aren't confident about that type of work do not attempt it yourself.

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    Both these answers make presumptions, but at least this one says do not attempt, because we don't know what the OP is looking at and, the only safe assumption to make : neither do they.
    – Mazura
    Mar 18, 2020 at 16:24

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