Why Does My Outlet Spark When I Unplug Something?

Posted On: April 27, 2017

If you unplug something from one of your electrical outlets and you see a spark, it’s understandable that you might be a little worried. In some cases, a small spark is not out of the ordinary and is nothing to worry about.

In other cases it might be indicative of a problem with your outlet that will need to be addressed right away. The following are the different reasons behind why your outlet might be sparking.

Normal Spark

Electricity runs along circuits and back to the main grid without interruption. When a device is plugged into the outlet, some of the electricity transfers from the outlet to the device. When you unplug it, you’re breaking the electric contact, causing the spark.

Short Circuiting

A short circuit can happen if too much electricity is being fed into the device and it’s causing heat to build up in the outlet. This can result in the insulation around the wiring to melt. When the wires are exposed, it increases the risk of an electrical fire. If you notice that the outlet is overly hot or if the wires are melting, then a short circuit can occur, which means you may see sparks when you unplug your device.

Wet Outlet

If water gets onto the outlet while something is plugged into it, it can cause a short circuit. This can be quite dangerous to handle, which is why you may want to invest in ground fault circuit interrupters, which will actually cause the circuit to shut down if the outlet gets wet, thereby eliminating the risk of an electrical fire or a shock.

Worn Out Outlet

Older outlets are generally more likely to cause sparks. This is because as the years go by, its connections are more likely to loosen over time. You’ll want to have the older outlets in your home replaced if this is occurring.

Older Electrical Devices

If the device you’ve plugged in is older, then the spark that occurs when you unplug it could be a result of its age. Check the cords of the device to see what kind of shape they are in – if they appear old and worn out, then that could be the issue.

Bad Repair Work

If you’ve attempted to repair the outlet yourself on a previous occasion during which the outlet was malfunctioning, then odds are that’s the exact reason why you’re seeing sparks. You should never attempt to do electrical repairs yourself unless you have training and experience – always have an experienced electrician repair your outlets instead.

Contact Jaffe Electric

These are some of the reasons that you might be seeing sparks when you are unplugging devices from a certain outlet. If you think that there might be an issue with your outlet, then be sure to call Jaffe Electric at 301.253.3778  or schedule an appointment online today.

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