A common question homeowner’s have for electricians involves the sparking of outlets when plugging in an appliance. You may have noticed it when you plug in an electric space heater, a hair dryer or other small appliance. You may wonder if it’s dangerous, and the answer is – it depends. The potential causes of a sparking outlet, and when you need to contact a Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL are covered in the following.
How it Works
In order to understand the sparking of outlets, and its potential causes, it helps to realize that behind the electrical outlet are wires ready to deliver electricity to your appliance. When you plug in an appliance, the electricity makes contact with the plug of the appliance, creating a spark. You may not see it very often, although the contact is always established. For example, when you plug in an electric space heater you may always see a sizeable spark. Check the heaters thermostat and/or switch. Turn the appliance off before you plug it up, and before you unplug it. The contact for an appliance that is on will be more likely to create a noticeable spark.
When a Sparking Outlet Indicates Danger
Sparking outlets are a cause for concern when:
- The spark lasts longer than the brief moment after you plug an appliance in. Don’t unplug the appliance. Instead, go to the home’s electrical panel and shut off the circuit breaker for the outlet. Afterwards, you may unplug the appliance. This ensures you won’t be shocked. A persistent spark is likely to indicate there is damage in the wiring providing service to the outlet. Contact an electrician in Huntsville, AL as damaged wiring presents a serious risk of electrical fire.
- Contact an electrician in Huntsville, AL when you smell burning, ozone, or smoke. This is a dangerous condition, and can cause property loss and imminent danger to your family.
To prevent the risk of fire, shock, or injury, periodically inspect your outlets. Scorch or burn marks indicate potential overheating of wire and the need for a licensed, professional electrician in Huntsville, AL. Over time, the connections can loosen, causing arcing and large sparks, and the potential for shock or fire. Have GFCI outlets installed in locations near water, such as by sinks, or outdoors.
An overloaded circuit is an electric circuit carrying more current than it’s designed to carry. Overloaded circuits create the danger of fire through overheating. A common example occurs due too many appliances operating on a circuit at one time. An overloaded circuit is the primary cause of a tripped breaker. The solution is to contact an electrician in Huntsville, AL to provide electrical upgrades.
Outlet Repair and Replacement with Mister Sparky
At Mister Sparky, our goal is your safety and satisfaction. When you experience electrical issues, such as a sparking outlet or other problems, contact a Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL. Furthermore, if you need electrical upgrades or other electrical services for room additions or new construction, our professional, licensed electricians can provide the service you need. Our electricians are available for your electrical emergencies 24/7. Mister Sparky serves the North Alabama region.