Sparks from your electrical outlet after plugging in an appliance might seem like a good enough reason to call an electrician, but that’s not always the case. In fact, most of the time, these sparks are merely normal occurrences.
How Power Runs Through Outlets
In a typical home, power should easily flow through the available circuits in your home and back to the main grid without interruption. Power runs hot and fast through the outlets and should flow easily through the available circuits in your home. The outlets use this fast-moving current to provide you with the power you need in using appliances.
When Electrical Sparks Are Normal
If the power running through your circuits is suddenly diverted into an appliance as you plug it into an outlet, a quick draw on the available power will occur, thereby causing a brief spark. Afterward, once the electrons are moving freely into the appliance, there should be no more reason for sparks to occur.
What Causes an Outlet to Spark?
A home's electrical system is split into circuits, and a few circuits may have numerous outlets along the way. By this happening, there's a split moment when the plug and outlet connections are nearly touching, and the electrical current can reach across that gap, creating a spark.
When Sparks Signify Problems
In some instances, however, these sparks can lead to an electrical fire, especially due to faulty wiring. If too much heat builds up in an outlet and melts the insulation surrounding the wires, the electrons may leap to the wrong area when a connection is made. This is also known as a short circuit, and it often happens to old electrical outlets.
Even if your outlet doesn’t have faulty wiring, the presence of water can cause it to spark and short out. Short circuits may also happen due to inexpert and shoddy repairs, especially if you’ve done them yourself.
What To Do When An Electrical Outlet Sparks
A brief spark from an outlet isn’t usually a cause of concern. Once the sparks become a regular occurrence, then it’s time to call an experienced electrician to replace a problematic outlet. You may also want to consider having a GFCI outlet installed, especially in areas that are highly susceptible to ground faults, like bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.
Armed with this information, you will be able to discern problematic sparks from normal ones and help you avoid electrical fires.
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Why Does My Electrical Outlet Spark?, Angie’s List
Electrical Sparks from Outlet, Networx