Repair Electrical Outlets: Fix Loose Outlets

Repair this annoying—and dangerous—problem in seconds

Electrical switches and outlets that move around because the box is too recessed can be a safety problem. Outlet shims offer a quick and inexpensive solution.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Unscrew the outlet

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.

CAUTION

Turn power off before doing this repair.

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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 Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Outlet shims