Receptacles not having acceptable blade retention

From NFPA 73:

“Receptacles not having acceptable blade retention when tested with a listed retention tester shall be replaced.”

Do you check a few receptacles for blade retention, and if they are
worn out recommend replacement?

Also, do you use an Amprobe sometimes? I thought the discussion on this could be helpful.

I will pay $1.00 if you find any service neutral [with a typical evening load] with zero ampacity! :mrgreen:

Does painted over ten times receptacles count for having acceptable blade retention??:smiley: See it all the time in old homes…

Testing a representative number of receptacles just isn’t enough these days.

Checking every open receptacle is our goal now but talk about painted over or cheap quality receptacles where the whole receptacle moves back and forth pushing in the tester and flex outward when pulling out the tester is common in new construction. Cheap cheap cheap… broken plastic around the ground connection port

I don’t normally focus on that particular blade retention issue Joe but if one is so loose it’s going in the report. :wink:

How much are we talking price wise for a testing device??

I like your challenge …no thanks…:smiley: Smallest resistance point in a circuit has highest current flow…

Boy, you’re benevolent!


I know there is a spec of “holding power” but this is not a problem for small current loads and you know it.

The holding power has to be on EACH connection including the ground individually to be worth a carp and I do not think an affordable tester is out there - I have checked - that will test this

CAN THE PLUG carry the current?? – Load test it for a while and see if a Voltage drop starts

Ohms law does not change and for us to start testing for blade retention with some crap standard is our to our SOP – I do not think that 90% of electrical contractors can do same – The main problem I see is the plugs are so tight that I can not get my tester in to the socket



The attached PDF file gives some information related to my question.

I believe there are many receptacles that are long past their useful life and present a possible fire hazard.

I have seen many that are so worn out that they cannot even hold the cord cap into the receptacle. Not a major problem, I agree, but I would suggest removing the cord from some of the continuous loads, such as an AC unit or other appliance that are used often.

Some show signs of burned blades most of which are on the neutral.

I have a smaller version of a retention tester that may be affordable.

OK, Jae, I will raise the prize to $2.00 :o

How much load management am I allowed to do before you test?
I think I could put a dimmer on a space heater and fine tune it right down.

And Joe if I have one bad prong out of three it will pass

The ground contact has the largest pull “resistance” and can show everything ok — Trust me a load test is the only thing that counts

Think about it

Do you think all electrical contractors and Home Inspectors should be testing for this? Trust me this is way out of the practical ball park. The cost of testing is greater than the cost of replacing every outlet in a home


My advice:

Recommend replacement of all old worn out and damaged or broken, defective receptacles, and switches – they can be the cause of a serious fire.

See NFPA 73 Section 2.9 General-Use Switches and Receptacles.

Enclosures shall be securely fastened in place.
Faceplates shall not be damaged or missing.
Connection of conductors to termination points shall ensure good connections without showing evidence of arcing or overheating.
Switches and receptacles shall be properly secured and shall not show evidence of overheating or physical damage.
The function of switches and receptacles shall not be impaired by physical damage.
Switches and receptacles shall not be painted or have other coatings applied unless so listed for such use.
Receptacles shall have proper wiring when tested with a listed receptacle tester. The tester shall provide indications when branch circuit conductors are not connected to the intended terminals on the receptacle. All grounding-type receptacles shall be grounded or shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection where installed on a circuit that does not have an equipment grounding conductor. Where receptacles and branch-circuit conductors are identified for polarization, receptacles shall be properly polarized.
Receptacles not having acceptable blade retention when tested with a listed retention tester shall be replaced.
Switches shall be rated for the connected load.
2.10 Flexible Cord Removal.
Where flexible cords or cables are used as a substitute for fixed wiring to supply outlets in rooms or areas, such rooms or areas shall be considered to have inadequate outlets. (See Section 2.5.) Such flexible cords shall be removed and, where required, shall be replaced with permanently installed receptacles using an approved wiring method.


The approved testers will give a false result

If I am wrong I will do 20 laps around the block and post a retraction – Each conductor must be tested by it self. If you have one tight and one loose it could pass with the neutral (or any other) being a very bad contact. Once again the only test is a current test with a voltage drop

Show me that I am wrong and I will be ever in your debt

Once again do you thing electrical contractors or HI should even get into this area?

The cost of testing is greater than the cost of replacement

What is your point on the whole post??


My Point:

Fires can be caused by defective receptacles. Yes, I think that defective receptacles should be identified by HI’s and Contractors.

Is Frostproof near Fort Myers?

While I do agree that old and damaged receptacles and switches should be replaced and noted as such…even old and worn out 2 prong and 3 prong receptacles that have seen better days should be elevated to a "additonal review "

If the HI gets into the practice of using a tester correctly as in the Suretest they can learn to FEEL the retention strength as it becomes a habit.

I am not sure every home inspector should start doing retention tests…as it would simply be exhaustive…But if they get into a habit of tested every available outlet…with a tester they will learn to FEEL the retention and can comment on it as they do so…and yes a damaged receptacle that does NOT have proper retention can produce arcs and so on at the cord cap…raising the heating issue and so on…

I think it ( in my opinion ) should be a issue that EVERY receptacle be tested…if available and then while it would be an added BONUS to check the retention…if you get used to feeling what a GOOD plug is like you will know it when one has a POOR connection retention level…

Just from my experience guys…doing 100’s of remodels and replacements of old recepts…get used to the feel if you are not going to do a specific retention test…

In regards to switches…personally again I can feel when a switch is going bad or has lost its " usable " timeframe…but it is feel only…been doing it for years…hard to explain.

I happen to agree however…while in the course of testing the receptacles and such…if you feel the retention is bad or weak to the point the plug in device is not held FIRMLY…note it…remember MORE is better…Less is potentially liable in a good lawyers hands…:slight_smile:

Someone mentioned they had a blade retention tester that was less expensive…

Could I get a link to that… the cheapest one I have seen is about $160…

Bob Sisson