Four Reasons Outlets Spark

Four Reasons Outlets Spark

You have probably seen a spark fly when plugging something into an outlet. Sometimes these sparks are normal, however it could also be something more serious. Understanding the reasoning behind the different sparks will help you feel assured that it is harmless.

  1. Loose Connections – Sometimes a loose wire at the outlet can cause overheating of the wire and the outlet. This overheating sometimes shows up as discoloration on the face of the outlet or even melting plastic on the end of the cord. An outlet with this damage should be replaced by a licensed electrician.
  2. Water Damage – This reason certainly makes sense. Water and electricity do not pair well together. Water can cause several electrical issues not limited to sparking. Additionally, a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) will cut the power supply if it detects water and may be a good addition to avoid water damage issues such as a potential fire.
  3. Faulty or Negligent Repairs – Making repairs yourself instead of using a professional is a risky job. It can potentially lead to sparking or worse. Be sure to use a licensed electrician like Eaton Electric for all repairs to avoid further damage.
  4. Appliance “On” Spark – Plugging in or unplugging an appliance or lamp when the appliance is on can create a spark at the outlet. This is because the electricity is trying to jump across the contact between the receptacle and the blades on the cord. To eliminate this occurrence, turn the appliance (vacuum cleaner, iron or lamp) off before plugging in or unplugging it.

Be sure to consider all the potential reasons behind sparking. Also remember that age can be an issue. Outlets wear out over the years and become looser. If this is the case, be sure to replace old appliances. If you are at all concerned about the sparks, contact us to check it out. Electricity is extremely powerful and should not be taken lightly.