They both wear out….
We are very lucky to enjoy very high standards in the electrical industry in this country. The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) ensure our equipment is sturdy and well made.
However, it does not mean that you can expect electrical devices to last forever.
Even an electrical receptacle plugged into repeatedly year after year is likely to wear out too.
Last weekend my neighbour was painting his daughter’s bedroom. He removed the coverplate from her wall receptacle to prepare for painting and the outlet fell out in his hand. The joints had become brittle over the years and it just fell to pieces. The coverplate became the critical component of holding the entire device together.
The danger is that all the loose pieces interrupt the ability of the electricity to flow smoothly, causing arcing and hot spots.
This little paint job brought to light this very needed electrical repair — allowing my neighbour to apply an “ounce of prevention” instead of “a pound of cure”.
The lifespan of a properly installed electrical outlet is about 20-25 years. Ones that are poorly installed with loose connections wear out much sooner.