Why Is My Electrical Outlet Sparking?
It may seem like a small problem, but a sparking outlet should not be ignored. When you plug something into an outlet and it sparks, it could be an indicator of a faulty outlet - which can not only shock you and damage your appliances but can even lead to a house fire. Here are the reasons your electrical outlet may be acting up and when it's time to call an electrician.
Not all sparks are a cause for concern. Sometimes outlets flicker when you plug in an appliance because you are diverting fast-moving electrical current into it. This causes a quick draw on the available power, which results in a brief flash. This is likely normal unless it happens on a consistent basis.
When outlets have too much heat built up inside them, the insulation around the wires can melt - greatly increasing the chance of an electrical fire. When you plug something into a faulty outlet, electricity can go to the wrong area and short circuit. One of the most common reasons outlets short out is because water gets on them. Make sure to keep outlets dry, especially in the bathroom and kitchen, and don't plug in appliances when your hands are wet.
If you live in an older house, you should be even more aware of your outlets. They wear out over time and the wires loosen, increasing the risk of a short circuit. Old appliance cords can also cause an outlet to spark.
If your outlet short circuits, turn off the circuit breaker that controls that outlet to avoid an electrical fire. Although you can replace it yourself, improperly fixing an outlet can lead to further issues. It's best to hire a professional if you are inexperienced with electrical systems or suspect there is a greater problem.