Have you ever noticed a small spark when you plug an appliance into an outlet? This may be normal or it could be cause for concern, depending on the size and frequency of the electrical outlet sparking. It’s important to recognize the difference between a normal spark and a dangerous one—as well as possible causes for outlet sparking—so you can pursue an electrical repair if necessary.
Common Reasons for Electrical Outlet Sparking
Normal Electrical Outlet Sparking
The supply line that carries electricity through your home measures about 115 to 240 volts with a frequency of 60 hertz. In layman’s terms, this means the flow of electricity runs very fast and hot through the wires behind your walls.
Electrical outlets tap into this fast-flowing stream of electricity, powering everything from your lamps to your laptops to your coffee maker. A small blue spark arcing from the outlet to the plug can occur as the appliance suddenly draws amperage and electrons begin to flow through the cord. Once the flow steadies, the spark should disappear. This type of electrical outlet sparking is completely normal and comparable to static electricity.
Electricity generates heat as it travels through wires. Insulation surrounding a wire may begin to melt, exposing the bare wire. If it comes in contact with the metal outlet casing or even another wire, electrons can leap out of the wire and create a dangerous spark. This is called short circuiting and could cause an electrical fire if not repaired promptly.
Short circuits may be caused by a number of things, including old outlets with loose connections and too many appliances being plugged into the same outlet via a power strip or extension cord.
Water and electricity don’t mix. That’s why bathrooms should have special outlets called ground fault circuit interrupters (GCFIs). These outlets automatically shut down the circuit when they detect water, which can help prevent electrocution and house fires. If the bathrooms in your home have ordinary outlets, you should have an electrician replace them with GCFIs.
Poor Repair Work
If you’ve had an electrical problem in the past, you may have attempted to perform a repair yourself or used a cheap electrician. Electrical wiring can be extremely dangerous if you don’t the proper licensing and qualifications and lead to potentially serious issues, electrical outlet sparking being just one of them. Fortunately, a professional electrician can undo the damage and make your outlets safe to use once again.
Kolb Electric Has the Solution to Electrical Outlet Sparking in MD, VA & DC
When you need a repair for electrical outlet sparking, Kolb Electric is the company for the job. We hire only licensed, fully qualified electricians to handle important outlet wiring repairs in your Maryland, Virginia or Washington DC home.