Smart plugs are one of the best smart devices out there, but they’re also prone to overheating (in a small number of cases). What should you do if your Kasa smart plug starts overheating?
The first thing you should do is disconnect your smart plug and allow it to cool down. You should inspect the smart plug – and the device it was connected to – for any frayed wires, signs of corrosion, or burn marks. You can also try disconnecting and reconnecting the device from the Kasa app if the overheating warning starts appearing by mistake.
Got an overheating Kasa smart plug? Let’s cover the basics of keeping things cool.
Kasa Smart Plug Overview
It’s hard to overstate how much of a game changer Kasa smart plugs were for the world of DIY smart technology.
Smart plugs allow us to overcome a gap in the smart technology ecosystem. We have all of these devices made from before when smart technology was the standard. Smart plugs give us a way to give even the most retro tech some basic smart features.
Now you can take that vintage lamp, old school toaster, or even an old TV and give it some basic smart functions. TP-Link’s Kasa smart plugs add on off functionality to just about any device that plugs into an electrical socket (apart from those with ‘electric’ switches, that is).
However, they can overheat just like any piece of tech. Let’s take a look at the reasons why Kasa smart plugs overheat and how we can keep them cool.
Kasa Smart Plug Safety Features
Your Kasa smart plug actually comes with a few features designed to keep it safe from overheating.
The first safety feature that your Kasa smart plug comes with is that it automatically shuts off if it detects that the smart plug is overheating.
Your Kasa app will then walk you through some basic steps that you can take to prevent your smart plug from overheating again.
This gives you some core coverage when it comes to protecting your smart plug from overheating. This Kasa automatic shutdown cannot be disabled because it is an essential safety feature that helps reduce the risk of an electrical short or a fire.
Signs Your Kasa Smart Plug is Overheating
Let’s take a look at a few of the most common signs that your Kasa smart plug is overheating. While some of these signs might be common sense, a few of them just might surprise you.
Hot to the Touch
We’re starting off with the most basic sign of technology overheating: if your Kasa smart plug is hot to the touch, it’s probably at or above its safe operating limits.
Smart technology gets hot when it runs. However, it shouldn’t be anything more than just a little warm to the touch. If it’s too hot to touch for anything more than a few seconds, then you know that it started to overheat.
If your smart plug ever gets too hot to touch in general, that’s a sure sign that it’s reached dangerous levels of overheating. You should unplug the smart plug (which will make it show as “Unreachable” in the app, but that’s okay) and give it time to thoroughly cool down before doing any more troubleshooting.
Your Devices Are Turning On and Off
Another sure sign that your smart plug is overheating is that your devices turn on and off on their own.
This is actually a safety feature built into the Kasa app and the smart plug itself. If either the app or the smart plug detect that the temperature is exceeding safe levels, they will automatically shut off the smart plug.
This will turn off whatever device you have connected to it. Kasa only lets the device turn on once it’s reached a safe temperature.
If you have an overheating smart plug connected to a vintage lamp, you might notice that lamp turning on and off on its own if the smart plug is overheating. It’s most common to notice this as a cycle of turning on and off rather than just turning off and having you turn it manually on again.
In-app Overheating Warning
Another sure sign that your smart plug is overheating is that you receive an in-app warning inside of the Kasa app itself.
This warning pops up to let you know which device is overheating, saying “Overheat Detected” or similar. It will also walk you through step-by-step instructions about how you can reduce the likelihood of your smart plug overheating a second time.
This warning message will not clear until the device has cooled down.
Burning Plastic Smells
Now we’re looking at too much more dangerous signs that your smart plug is overheating. If you notice either of these signs, see if we unplug your devices right away because there could be risk of a fire.
If you smell any burning plastic smells, it’s a definite sign that your smart plug is reaching a dangerous temperature. It’s worth pointing out that you can smell melting plastic before it visibly catches fire.
It might not be the smart plug itself that’s beginning to melt. It could be the plug that you have connected to your Kasa smart plug, rather than the smart tech itself. For example, in the case below I would want to inspect the Ring camera’s plug (in addition to the Kasa plug):
Visible Distortion to the Plastic Smart Plug Housing
Another common sign to watch out for is a visible distortion of the plastic smart plug.
You can notice this as your smart plug losing its shape, the plastic housing starting to sink in, or even the components of the smartplug beginning to separate.
This is caused by the temperature overheating and making the plastic of the case malleable. If you notice this happening to your smart plug, there’s a very good chance that this is a factory manufacturing problem (or caused by a big power outage), and you can use your warranty to get a replacement.
How to Fix an Overheating Kasa Smart Plug
Now that you know what to watch out for when it comes to an overheating smart plug, let’s take a look at a few of the ways that we can fix this problem.
Know How to Place a Kasa Smart Plug
One of the most important things that people often overlook is that how you connect your Kasa smart plug can cause overheating problems.
The first aspect of this is to look at the placement of the smart plug itself:
Important: Your smart plug should ideally be in an area that is far away from dampness or moisture, has plenty of open air flow to improve coolness, and is far away from any other heating elements.
That last point is very important. If your Kasa smart plug is near a radiator, space heater, or a central heating vent, that could be contributing to this device overheating.
You also want to take a look at how the Kasa smart plug connects with the electrical socket. It should be firmly in place and not loose. The prongs on your smart plug should also be free of rust or any other corrosion. These same points also go for the electronic device that you’re plugging into the Kasa smart plug.
Don’t Stack Your Electronics
It’s always tempting to fit as many devices we can into one electrical socket, but this could be causing overheating.
This is especially true for smart plugs that generate a lot of heat on their own. You need to know that using two smart plugs on the same electrical socket could cause them to overheat.
You should also make sure that your Kasa smart plug isn’t sitting on top of another electronic device that also runs hot. This also means that you should avoid stacking your smart plugs if at all possible – and certainly don’t end up like this:
Watch Out What Devices You Use With Your Kasa Smart Plug
Your Kasa smart plug has some limitations to what it can handle. If you use a device that demands too much wattage, your smart plug could overheat.
Your average Kasa smart plug is designed to handle around 1,800 watts (the same max limit to the Amazon Smart Plug). This should be more than enough to handle lamps, televisions, and most household electronics. However, the closer you get to that wattage limit, the more likely your smart plug is to overheat.
This is especially the case for devices that are notorious for having a massive power draw. Window air conditioner units, space heaters, and microwaves all demand a lot of electricity and can easily overheat a smart plug.
It’s best to go easy with your Kasa smart plug and try to avoid reaching its stated wattage limit.
Check the Plug for Defects—and Check Your Devices!
You also want to check your smart plug for any defects. The prongs should be stable and not move at all. The entire housing should feel sturdy and intact and the device should be free of any corrosion or rust.
The same goes for whatever electronic device you connect into your Kasa smart plug. You should make sure that there’s no frayed wires, everything connects tightly, and that your electronic devices are generally in good shape.
Side Note: old or faulty household wiring can be a problem for pretty much any smart home device. Smart light switches can be impacted by switches without neutral wires, while other plugged-in devices will often fail if the socket’s wiring has issues.
It’s worth pointing out that it might not be the smart plug causing the overheating, but whatever device you have connected to it.
Reset Your Kasa App and Reconnect Your Smart Plugs
Remember that ‘Overheating’ warning message we mentioned earlier? Well, that can be the source of its own overheating related problem.
Plenty of users have reported that that warning message doesn’t go away even after their smart plug has thoroughly cooled down. In fact, it’s a known error that that warning sign can glitch out and get stuck in place which prevents you from using that smart plug.
You should try disconnecting your Kasa smart plug from your app and then reconnecting it. This should clear the error message. If this doesn’t work, you should try uninstalling and reinstalling your Kasa app (also remember to unlink it from the Alexa app first, if it’s connected there as a skill).
Reminder: At the end of the day, it could also be possible that that smart plug had a factory defect. Check the warranty as well as the return policy from the store you bought the smart plug from to see about getting an exchange or refund if the error message never clears.