Sparks originally happen every time you plug in an appliance to your outlets, you just do not often see it. Sometimes, outlet sparks are perfectly normal, other times, they are signs that there is a looming electrical, environmental hazard. Now at that point, are they dangerous? Yes. When you can vividly see live sparks or foul smells emanating from your plugs or outlets, you should know already that they can lead to even more electrical hazards. However, knowing why outlets spark and what factor causes these sparks would help you prepare to contact your local electrical professional.
Why Do Outlets Spark?
The electrical system in your house is divided into electrical circuits. Some circuits have multiple outputs in the electrical system. In this continuous circuit, electrical currents move fast and hot, and the output serves as the point on which devices tap electricity from. When this happens, there is a fraction of a second when the plug and socket connections are almost in contact, and the electric current can spread the gap, causing the spark you see.
It does not matter if you see evidence every time you connect something, it happens, and it’s safe and normal.
How “Dangerous Sparks” are Created
While the small blue sparks that are often observed during connection or disconnection is normal, there are other types of sparks that you should not ignore. In fact, there are four types you need to note which tell that you need the help of an electrician. They include:
- Smelly sparks: If a plug sparks and then smells like melted plastic, there can be a serious problem. It is best to switch off the socket on the electrical panel of your circuit and contact your local electrician.
- White or yellow sparks: The benign sparks you see when you connect something are blue, if what you get is a yellow or white spark, then you need to contact your electrician.
- Long sparks: Blue sparks will appear for a while and then disappear. However, if you get sparks that lingers and continues, you should switch off your outlet or remove the plug and contact your electrician immediately.
Factors Causing Your Outlets to Spark
– Moisture on the Outlets
Water can cause an output to spark and cut the circuit or short circuit quickly. Installing a special power outlet called a residual current device (GCFI) will cause the circuit to stop instead of causing a spark.
– Old outlets have problems
Outlets gradually wear out over time. Over the years, the connections loosen gradually, which increases the risk of a short circuit and may even ignite sparks. Device cables that are old and worn may also cause spark problems.
– Bad electrical repairs
When an owner decides to repair their power outlets themselves, it is important that he knows exactly what he is doing. Attempting to self-solve electrical problems often creates much more dangerous situations that can cause sparks or fire. Replacing or repairing outlets is not a hard nut to crack. If you notice the need to repair or replace the bad or faulty outlet, contact your local electrical professional.
– Short-circuiting outlets
If too much heat builds up in a power outlet, it can actually melt the insulation around the wires. When the cables are exposed, the possibility of an electric spark increases. When a connection is made, the electrons can jump into the wrong zone and cause a serious spark. This is known as a short-circuiting and can actually cause an electric fire.
Your electrical outlets can serve as the link to power, but it is important to take all precautions to avoid electrical sparks which can be dangerous. However, if you are worried about the possibility of your outlets causing sparks leading to fire, it is best to call Amcro – your local electrical professionals.