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How To Prevent Electrical Outlets From Sparking


If you plug in a device and the outlet sparks, you may feel worried. You’re probably wondering if the spark is a major problem, or if it’s a normal occurrence. 

Should you be concerned about your outlets sparking? Find out in today’s blog. 

Why Do Outlets Spark?

Although it may be scary to see your outlet spark, a minor one is nothing to worry about. After all, electricity is powering your plugged-in devices, so you should expect some commotion. However, if you see frequent sparks with large bursts, this may indicate a problem. 

Stay tuned to learn more about the dangers of sparking outlets and how to prevent them. 

When Does a Sparking Outlet Become Dangerous?

A spark occurs each time you plug a device into an outlet, but you usually can’t see it because it happens faster than the naked eye can detect it. Keep in mind that not every spark is dangerous, but the following signifies potential danger:

  • The spark lasts seconds or minutes
  • The spark is bright and yellow or orange
  • You can smell smoke afterward 
  • There are burn marks on the outlet
  • Big sparks occur every time you plug something into the outlet

Causes of Sparking Outlets

There are several causes of electrical outlet sparks, including: 

  • Short circuiting: Outlets are a conduit for electricity, and heat comes with the territory. However, when there’s an electric surge, it can result in melted wire coatings. If this occurs, you must stop using these wires because they’ve become a fire hazard. 
  • Water damage: Water damage is hazardous because mixing water with electricity can result in severe injuries or even death. This problem mainly occurs in kitchens and bathrooms, where puddles can go undetected until you insert a wet plug into a socket. Before you plug in a device, inspect the countertops for puddles.
  • Old age: Over time, your outlets will show signs of wear and tear. Worn outlets spark more frequently, and they have a higher chance of causing a house fire. If your outlets are decades old, you can be proactive and contract an electrician to replace your wiring. 


How Can I Prevent Future Outlet Sparks?

Here are a few tips to prevent major outlet sparks:

  • Install ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI): To prevent accidents caused by water damage, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends installing a circuit interrupter, which can shut off your power in 1/40th of a second. 
  • Throw away frayed cords: Nowadays, we have chargers for everything: cellphones, laptops, smart watches, and even wireless earphones all require a charger. You probably have several cords lying around your home or office without thinking of the potential dangers. 

Dispose of your cords when you notice them begin to fray and buy replacements. Some people don’t want to spend money on new chargers, but it’s better to spend a few dollars on new ones as opposed to thousands in repairs if a fire breaks out. 


RestoreMasters Is Here to Help You

If you recently experienced a tragic house or business fire due to a sparking outlet, you may be feeling vulnerable. RestoreMasters specializes in emergency restoration, and we’re available 24/7. We’ll come to your location in less than one hour. Schedule a free assessment today. 


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