Sparking outlets: should you be worried?

Electrician Seattle

Electricity has made our lives very easy and convenient. Our lives will stop completely in the absence of electricity. But every good thing is not without its associated dangers. If not given timely attention to faulty circuits, short circuits or overloaded circuits, it can pose danger to our safety.
You probably have seen the little spark when you plug in any appliance and must have ignored it. You should know that sometimes that harmless spark can lead to big mishaps. Outlet sparking is not something that should be ignored because they can be an early sign of some grave danger.

What causes outlets to spark?
  • Normal sparks – Electricity in your home run in the circuits to the main grid without any disruption. When you plug something in the outlet, the fast and hot electricity jumps from the outlet to the appliance causing it to spark. This is very normal and should not be a cause for concern.
  • Short circuits – Sometimes when the heat buildup is high, the insulation around the wire melts down. The exposed wires are prone to catch fire when an appliance is connected to the circuit. Such sparks should not be overlooked. A professional Electrician Seattle should be called to fix the issue.
  • Bad repairs – When you hire an inexperienced electrician to do the electrical repair work in your home, the poor repairs done by him can lead to bigger problems in the future and the consequences can be as bad as a house fire.
  • Water – When an outlet is exposed to moisture or water, it can trigger a spark. A GFCI outlet is the most suitable for the places near water like near swimming pool and bathroom. Ground fault interrupter outlet shut down the circuit when it detects the moisture.
  • Age – With the passing time, outlets can get old and can wear out making them to spark. Old and frayed outlets should be replaced immediately.
  • Overloaded outlets – Sometimes when the number of outlets falls short of our need, we use an extension cord. Connecting too many appliances in one outlet can overload it causing it to spark.

Which sparks are bad?
  • Sparks which lingers for a long duration – Normally spark should come and go for a fraction of seconds but if the sparks linger for long then it’s a sure sign that you should call your electrician.
  • White sparks – It’s important that you pay attention to the color of the sparks. Normal sparks are blue in color but if you see the white or yellow spark that means you need an electrician.
  • Big sparks – If the spark that you see is not a small one, but is jumping out from the outlet, that means they can be dangerous.
  • Burning smell – If along with spark you also notice the burning smell that means something is burning and melting. It needs an immediate attention. You should immediately shut down the outlet from the circuit panel.

If you are noticing a spark every time you plug in an appliance you should take some smart steps in order to keep you and your family safe. When you see any unusual sparking from an outlet, you should shut down the breaker for that outlet and plug out the appliance. After ensuring the safety, call an electrician to fix the issue. If you don’t have GFCI outlets in your home, consider getting them installed near the area around water or moisture. Be safe and work smartly to prevent the dangers of house fires. Simple steps and timely attention can keep you and your family safe. ​

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