Have you ever plugged something into an outlet and seen a spark? Sparking is a relatively common phenomenon and most of us will have experienced a sparking plug at some point.
Mostly, this sparking is normal as the electrons begin to flow into the appliance’s power cord. However, at other times, a spark from an electrical outlet could be dangerous as it can start a fire.
Here’s a short overview of what might actually be happening when you see sparks in a socket and when you should call a qualified technician for assistance.
Sparking happens whenever power is diverted to an appliance since there will be a sudden draw on available power. However, the spark is very brief and once the electrons start flowing freely, the sparking stops.
Sparking due to wear and tear
Sparking can occur as outlets wear out with age leading to loose connections. This can increase chances of a short circuit occurring and causing a fire. Old appliance cords can also cause the same issue and thus any old cords should be replaced once they have passed their prime.
Bad Handling of Repairs
Sometimes a badly handled repair can lead to sparking. People often try to take shortcuts with repairs when they are doing it themselves which can result in a short circuit or a fire as a worst case. Also if an outlet keeps sparking despite repair multiple times, the outlet should be replaced by a professional.
When an electrical outlet is exposed to water will produce sparks.
Installation of a special outlet the ground circuit fault interrupter (GCFI) usually shuts down the circuit in such a case to prevent starting a fire.
Overloaded circuits can also cause electric outlet sparks. One should not be overloaded beyond its capacity.
Sparking due to short-circuiting
When too much heat is generated in an outlet, it can melt insulation around wires and increase the likelihood of a fire occurring as the wires become exposed. In such a case, the flow of electrons may be diverted to the wrong area, causing a serious spark (or short circuit) which can cause an electrical fire.
We hope this helps you to troubleshoot that sparking issue in your home!