Repair Electrical Outlets: Fix Loose OutletsUpdated: Feb. 28, 2019
Repair this annoying—and dangerous—problem in seconds
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Unscrew the outlet
Outlet shims solve the problem created when electrical boxes are recessed too deeply; use them as needed for new installations and for repairs to old, wobbly outlets.
Photo 1: Remove the screws
Turn off the power and check with a voltage tester to make sure there’s no power to the outlet. Unscrew the outlet and add enough shims to bring the outlet flush to the wall.
The constant movement of loose electrical outlets can loosen the wires connected to the outlet and create dangerous arcing. Luckily, the fix is simple. If the outlet is recessed less than 1/4 in. in noncombustible material, you can fur it out with outlet shims as shown. If it’s recessed more than 1/4 in., use a plastic extension ring. You’ll find both in the electrical department at home centers.
Plus: Find out how to stop drafts from coming though outlets.
Turn power off before doing this repair.
Required Tools for this Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
- 4-in-1 screwdriver
- Voltage tester
Required Materials for this Outlet Shims Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
- Outlet shims