Sparking Outlet? Call an Electrician Now
When you insert a plug into an outlet and see a momentary, little blue arc of electricity, that is normal. However, when you see orange fireworks or a sparking outlet that looks more like an Independence Day novelty, you need to call an electrician.
Causes of an Electric Spark
Many things can cause an outlet to spark, and each of them pose a potentially hazardous situation. An electrical pro is best suited to determine what the problem is and how to keep you and your family safe.
A sparking outlet can cause trouble for the device you are attempting to plug in - from an iPad to a toaster oven - but, more alarmingly, could also lead to a house fire, a serious shock or even electrocution. Several factors can contribute to sparks emitting from one of your home’s outlets. One of the leading culprits is wiring that has lost its insulation.
Electrical current generates a considerable amount of heat as it is conducted through the wires in your house. The insulation around the wires protects your structure from such heat. It also prevents the bare wires from touching anything else that may conduct electricity, such as a fastener or the metal box that houses an outlet. Exposed wires coming in contact with other metal can result in a dangerous sparking outlet. Loose or damaged wires can lead to the same result.
Preventing a Spark
Overloading the capacity of an outlet can also cause a sparking situation. Avoid plugging to many appliances into a single outlet, especially if they are heavy-drawing devices, such as microwave ovens, blenders, blow dryers or curling irons. Using adapters to convert a single receptacle into multiple receptacles can also overload an outlet. If you live in an older home, like those found in the Inman Park area of Atlanta, you may have ungrounded outlets (the kind that only take two-pronged plugs, rather than three) and these can also create a situation that leads to sparks.
A sparking outlet is a sign of a dangerous, potentially life-threatening situation. Don’t ignore it or attempt to repair it yourself. Switch off power to any appliances plugged into the outlet. Then shut off the breaker to the area, or the main panel all together, and call a professional electrician like those at Casteel.