A short circuit, aged equipment or water exposure could be the reason behind a sparking electrical outlet in your home. Sometimes, it just happens normally. So how do you know that there’s something wrong and dangerous with the outlet?
The power that runs through outlets is fast and hot. Power should ideally flow through the circuit and back out to the main grid without interruptions. Your home outlets uses this fast-moving current to give you the power needed to run your air conditioning unit, refrigerator, stove, as well as other devices that rely on electric power.
When an appliance or a device is plugged into an outlet, some of the power goes into the electrical item. When this power is suddenly diverted to a device, a quick draw on the available power may cause a brief spark. The spark, however, no longer forms when the electrons begin to flow freely. There’s nothing to worry about when seeing this type of spark as it is similar to static electricity.
Unfortunately, there are some instances when the sparking is an indication of something more serious. Too much heat building up in an outlet can melt the insulation that surrounds the wires.
Electrons can leap and go to the wrong area when a connection is made and this can cause a dangerous spark. There is risk for an electrical fire when the wires are exposed.This is known as a short circuit and it is potentially dangerous. Burned or blackened marks on the outlet are indications that it needs to be replaced.
Water can quickly cause an outlet to spark and short out. To prevent this from happening, consider installing a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) device.
Remember that outlets also wear out over time. As they get older, connections may loosen and increase the odds of a short circuit or fire. Old and worn out appliance cords can cause an outlet to spark.
It is probably normal and safe if an outlet sparks occasionally for a brief period but it’s another thing if it sparks everytime you plug in something.
Taking a shortcut to fix the electrical problem yourself can be dangerous. Contact us at J.M. Mullen Electric to arrange for a licensed and experienced electrician to assist you.