Sparking Outlets

Ever notice a small blue spark in your electrical outlet when you plug something in? Some might never think anything of it and some might think something is seriously wrong. Sometimes a sparking outlet is normal, like in this case, but sometimes it is an indicator of something more serious.

Because the power from your outlets is immediately available to supply electricity when you need it, it is common to see a small spark when you plug in an appliance. This is because when you plug in your item, the power needed arcs across the contacts on the outlet to the tip of the blades on your power cord and that causes a brief and small spark. Think of it as static electricity, small and quick until the electrons flow freely.

On the other hand, sparking outlets can be a serious problem that an electrician needs to look at, as there should be no reason for a spark to continue beyond that small initial spark plugging in your cord. You may have a bigger problem if you notice a lasting spark, smell burning or see smoke, or notice a large yellow spark occur. These can cause electrical fires, melted insulation surrounding your wires and a short circuit and should be addressed immediately. Whether it’s exposed wires, water in the outlet, old electrical outlets that are worn out or poor electrical repairs, your electrical outlet needs to be fixed and your safety needs to be considered. If you notice any of these symptoms, turn off the breaker supplying the involved outlet. Remember to call the fire department first if there is prolonged sparking, a burning smell or smoke coming from your outlet that does not stop when the breaker is off. Then call your electrician to solve the problem.