A toaster oven is supposed to heat your food, not the plug. If you find that your toaster oven plug is getting unreasonably hot – too hot to touch – it means there’s a problem, and you need to act quickly.
Your toaster oven plug gets hot because the plug or the outlet is loose, the toaster has an electrical fault, the plug pins are corroded, or the outlet is overloaded. If the plug gets too hot, immediately turn off the circuit breaker for the outlet where the plug is connected.
In this article, I’ll give you an in-depth look at why your toaster oven plug is getting so hot. Additionally, I will touch on the dangers of a hot toaster oven plug and provide a short guide on what to do if you notice the plug has become too hot.
What Causes Toaster Oven Plugs To Get Hot?
Toaster oven plugs get hot because of electrical faults or when high resistance prevents proper current flow. Common electrical faults include issues with the power outlet or the toaster oven internals. High resistance can occur from a loose connection with the socket or corroded plug prongs.
Although it’s abnormal for a toaster oven plug to get hot, it’s perfectly acceptable and normal for plugs of any electronic appliance to get slightly warm when the device is working. When electricity passes from the power outlet and into the appliance’s plug, it generates heat.
But why is that?
The metal prongs, as well as the electric wires in the plug, offer some electrical resistance. As the current works to pass through this resistance, it generates something known as waste heat.
Now, since the metal prongs and wires in the plug are made from conductive materials, the electrical resistance is low, thereby generating less heat.
However, if the metal prongs were corroded, it’d make it more resistive, thereby making the plug really hot when the current passes through it.
Likewise, if the plug loosely fits inside the power outlet, it’ll create a small gap filled with air. As such, for the electricity to flow, the current would need to cross this gap. Now, since air contains high electrical resistance, you get high amounts of heat generation when the current passes through it.
Besides electrical resistance, electrical faults can also cause the toaster oven plug to heat up.
For instance, if there’s an issue with the toaster’s internals, like improper grounding, it might cause it to draw more current. As more current passes through the plug, it’ll generate more heat, and the plug will get hotter.
On the other hand, the power outlet may be getting hot, and since the plug is connected to it, it’s also making the plug hot. The most common reason for a hot outlet is if it’s connected in the same series with other outlets, all of which are connected to high voltage appliances.
Dangers of a Hot Toaster Oven Plug
Between 2019 and 2020, oven-related accidents – including toaster ovens – accounted for 8001 house fires. As such, if you find that your toaster oven plug is getting hot – so hot that it’s uncomfortable to touch – it’s definitely a cause for concern.
For instance, if you have any flammable material near the toaster oven plug point, it poses a huge fire risk. Items like curtains, wooden furniture, or even small pieces of cloth can start a fire if they touch the plug long enough.
Even if there’s nothing near the plug point, the plug itself can burst into flames from the high temperature.
Other than that, if the high heat spreads to the cord, it can slowly damage the insulation and eventually expose the inner metal conductors – thus creating a shock hazard.
What To Do if the Toaster Oven Plug Gets Too Hot
If you find that the toaster oven plug is getting abnormally hot, you need to take quick action.
First of all, don’t try to unplug it by hand as you can get shocked or burnt.
A safer option is to turn off the circuit breaker for the outlet to which the plug is connected. If you can’t find the circuit breaker, you can also remove the outlet fuse.
But what if you can’t find either the circuit breaker or the fuse?
In that case, don’t waste time searching. Instead, take a long stick made of wood or hard plastic (or any insulating material). Use this to turn off the outlet switch from a distance or knock the toaster oven plug out of the socket.
No matter what method you choose, the idea is to cut off the power to the outlet. This will allow the plug to cool down slowly, so you can unplug it.
You can now examine the plug as well as the outlet for faults to diagnose what’s causing the overheating problem.
Call a Professional for Help
Toaster ovens are generally high voltage appliances. As such, if you aren’t experienced enough in handling electronics, I’d strongly advise against going for a DIY repair job. This goes for issues with the toaster oven plug or the power outlet.
To play safe and avoid any potential accidents, I advise you to call a professional for help.
If you find the toaster oven plug faulty, take it to your local repair shop. Alternatively, if the problem was with the socket, call your electrician and have things sorted out.
Apart from avoiding potential mishaps, calling in an expert will also help you learn what caused the issue in the first place. This way, you can take measures to prevent future instances.
Your toaster oven plug gets hot mainly because of high electrical resistance or electrical faults.
Unnaturally high electrical resistance can result from corroded plug prongs or if the plug has a loose connection with the power outlet.
On the other hand, electrical issues with the toaster oven cause it to draw more current and also overheat the plug.
It’s also possible that the plug is connected to an overloaded power outlet that is getting hot, thereby making the plug hot.