Have you ever experienced sparks coming from your outlets when you plug in an appliance, vacuum cleaner, or electronic device? If so, this could signal a problem that needs attention. While occasional, random sparking could be harmless, if you notice a certain outlet in your home omitting sparks frequently, don’t ignore it! Stop using it immediately and call Sentry Electrical to come out and give a proper diagnosis of what is causing the sparking. Sparking precedes fire, the more you use that outlet, the more likely it is for a fire to start. Almost 40% of all residential fires each year are caused by electrical mishaps that could have been prevented. Between 2010 and 2014, fire departments in the U.S. responded to an average of 45,000 home structural fires caused by electrical malfunction. Accidents like these have caused more than 1.4 billion dollars in property damages and claimed the lives of more than 400 civilians. Finding a small problem and fixing it before it gets out of hand can save lives.
Why Does My Electrical Outlet Spark when Unplugging or I Plug Something In
Plugging in a Device While it is Turned On: One way of preventing sparks from happening is to ensure anytime you plug something in, the power switch is in the “off” position. The power switch on your appliances has the job of opening and closing the circuit located in the device, when the switch is “on” it allows the electricity to be transferred from the electrical outlet to the device. When you plug in any device while the power switch is on, you are making an immediate connection between the outlet and device which could cause sparking to occur.
Weathered Electrical Outlets: Outlets get their fair share of use in the household. After years of continued use and plugs being inserted then removed from the outlets many, many times, it is normal for electrical connections to become worn down. The metal contacts come loose and present more “slack” in the connection which can cause sparking to occur. Have you ever plugged something in to an outlet and noticed it wasn’t as tight of a fit as it used to be? Time will do that to an outlet, this is a good sign that it is time to upgrade to newer GFCI wall outlets. GFCI outlets provide additional protection from electrical short circuits by cutting off power to the outlet when electrical surges occur, greatly reducing the risk of fire from occurring.
Moisture Buildup: Electricity and water do not mix! Water coming into contact with electricity of any kind is extremely dangerous. The most common places we find water damage to outlets are outside, but water damage to electrical outlets can also occur inside the home due to a water leak or in bathrooms where moisture has built up on the wall outlets. Water coming in contact with outlets can cause sparking too. For more than 20 years, GFCI outlets have been mandatory for all 15A, 20A, and 125V receptacles in bathrooms located inside homes.
Short Circuiting: When this happens, electrical charges begin flowing along a different path than it was intended to, which causes wire insulation to break down or melt. When this happens, wires can become exposed and makes way for overheating to occur which can cause fires or even explosions.
Electrical Inspection & More in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut
Sentry Electrical offers electrical inspections and can trouble shoot your electrical system to find out where the source of the sparking is originating from. If you notice an outlet in your home sparking more often than it should, call Sentry Electrical as soon as possible to schedule your inspection today!