When Sparks Fly: Understanding A Sparking Outlet

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If you've ever plugged in an appliance only to see a spark come from the outlet, you may be worried that there's something wrong with your wiring. While seeing those blue sparks come from the outlet can be startling, it's not always something to be concerned about. Understanding what causes it and when you should call an electrician can help you to protect your home and ease your worries.

Why Do Outlets Spark?

One of the things that many homeowners don't realize is that those small sparks that you see aren't unusual. In fact, most of the time you just don't see it. Remember that your power outlets serve as an electricity supply line. That means that there's a power current running to those outlets at all times.

The minute a power plug comes in contact with the outlet, the power supply in that outlet floods the plug contacts. In the instant that the electricity contacts that plug, it forms an electrical bridge, or spark. That means that, in most cases, the spark you see isn't a cause for concern. It's just the connection forming between the current and the plug.

When Should You Worry?

Despite the fact that this kind of spark can be considered normal, there are some situations where you should reach out to your electrician.

The spark doesn't dissipate right away. The spark should only last for the brief instant when the current makes initial contact with the plug. If it doesn't disappear right away, it's a sign of a potential problem. Turn off the power to that outlet by flipping the breaker at the circuit breaker panel. Then, unplug the appliance from the outlet. Call an electrician like CMC Electric to deal with this, because it's a sign that you may have wiring damage and be at risk of electrical fire.

You see large sparks. A normal connection spark should be tiny and hardly noticeable. If you're seeing large sparks or ones that are yellow in color, that's a sign that there are internal problems with the outlet or the wiring. Your electrician will need to test the outlet and identify the problem.

You smell smoke or burning odors. This is a serious concern. If you're smelling any kind of burning or smoky odor, it may mean that there's a melted wire in the receptacle. If you notice this smell just after plugging something in and seeing a spark, that's a serious threat to your home's wiring and your safety. Turn off the power to that part of the house right away and reach out to the fire department and an electrician. Don't overlook calling the fire department, because a melted wire can trigger a fire behind the wall.

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24 August 2016

adding electric lights to your yard

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