Why Is My Outlet Sparking?

Posted On: February 24, 2016

When you plug an electrical appliance into one of your outlets, you may see a tiny spark. This can be normal since power is being suddenly diverted to your appliance. However, if you notice big and regular sparks coming from your outlet, then you have a serious problem.

A big spark can end up damaging or frying your electrical appliance. It can also be a huge safety hazard and cause an electric shock to anyone attempting to plug in appliances. In a worst case scenario, a sparking outlet could even result in a fire breaking out.

So, why exactly is your outlet sparking? The following are a few potential sources to the problem.

5 Reasons Your Outlet Is Sparking:

1. The Outlet Is Wet

If water gets onto the outlet, it can result in it sparking and shorting out. In addition to doing your best to avoid spilling liquids on your outlets, you may want to consider installing a ground fault circuit interrupter, which will shut the circuit down and thereby prevent a fire from starting.

2. The Contact Blades Are Worn Out

If you have an older outlet, then there’s a chance that the blades used to hold the prongs of an electrical plug have become loose or worn over time.

This can result in a buzz or a spark in the receptacle of the outlet. You can usually tell that it is an issue with the receptacle and not the device you are trying to plug in if the plug doesn’t fit tight or if it falls out. If it’s a case of worn out contact blades, the receptacle will need to be replaced.

3. The Receptacle’s Wires or Screws Loosened

If the terminal screws loosen, then the wire that’s connected to the terminal can move just a little bit when you are trying to plug in a device. When this happens, the wire shifts within the terminal, thereby causing a spark.

The receptacle will need to be removed so that the screw terminal can be tightened.

4. The Outlet Box Contains a Bad Connection In the Wiring

In some cases, the receptacle has nothing to do with the spark. Instead, there may simply be a bad connection in the outlet box’s wiring. The receptacle will need to be removed so that a professional electrician can check the connections inside.

5. The Wiring Is Frayed or Damaged

Frayed or damaged wiring within the outlet box can cause the spark. This can happen if too much heat builds up within the outlet, thereby causing the insulation surrounding the wires to melt. When the wiring is damaged or frayed in this way, it becomes exposed. This can result in a short circuit, which can cause an electrical fire.

Electrical Repairs In Maryland, Washington, DC & Northern Virginia

These are a few problems that can result in your outlet sparking. Never try to deal with the problem yourself – not only is dealing with electricity a safety hazard if you are inexperienced and untrained, but you could damage the outlet further as a result.

Schedule an outlet inspection from Jaffe Electric today.

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