Sparkling outlets can be hazardous. Learn safe troubleshooting and repair tips to prevent electrical fires and ensure home safety.
You’ve probably seen it a few times – small sparks when you plug in an appliance. best of the time, outlet sparks are safe and normal however you still need to pay attention as it is an indicator that there’s something wrong with the outlet worse a potentially more dangerous situation.
If there are large sparks and it is hot enough, you should be alarmed as it can cause electrical fires. To prevent serious problems like this, let’s explore why these sparking outlets happen and how to repair them.
An Electrical System has countless circuits with multiple outlets. The electricity running through your home from the main power grid moves fast and hot in this continuous loop. When you plug in appliances, there is a split second where the outlet and plug connections are almost touching, and the electrical current may stretch across the gap, making the potential for electrical outlet sparking very real.
It doesn’t matter if you see “sparks” every time you plug in appliances, it happens, and it’s harmless. However, there are other types of sparks that you should take a closer look at.
Step 1: Purchase a new outlet and new materials
Buy a new electrical outlet to replace the defective one. Make sure you purchase the outlet with the correct voltage. Check if it’s 100 volts or 220 volts outlet.
Step 2: Turn off the power button to the room
Go to the power main breaker box in your home and switch off the circuit breaker that leads to the room where the defective outlet is located. Ensure you switch off the correct circuit breaker for your safety.
Step 3: Test the circuit for safety
After you turn off the circuit breaker, you need to double-check if there is no voltage being passed to the outlet. Wear your safety gloves and goggles and set your multimeter to measure for voltage then place the probe in the blade of the outlet, to verify if there is no voltage being passed from the circuit breaker.
Step 4: Remove the Faulty Outlet
Once you’re 100% sure that the faulty outlet is free from electricity, you can begin the removal process. Remove the screw that holds the cover then remove the outlet and wires from the rear that lead to the circuit breaker box.
In many cases, the wires will be attached with a screw-type terminal while other outlets are wires may be pushed into a recessed opening on the back of the receptacle. If you have the latter, use a pair of wire pliers and gently but firmly pull the wires out.
Step 5: Check and inspect the wiring
Before you install the new electrical outlet inspect the wires to make sure there are no damaged wiring. If there is, you’ll need to install new wiring and connect to it with a wire cap or electrical tape.
Step 6: Install the new electrical outlet
Reverse the process used for removing the defective outlet to install the new one. Attach the wires to the receptacle by using the screw terminals or by gently pushing the wires into the back of the receptacle with a pair of wire pliers. After that, screw the receptacle back into the outlet box and reattach the cover plate.
Step 7: Turn the power back on
Switch the power back on to the main breaker box. Test and observe the outlet if there is still a spark.
A sparking outlet is safe if it’s once in a while. But, when an outlet spark is unusual and makes you nervous, this should not be ignored. Ask a professional or a licensed electrician to fix your sparking outlet, or you can do it on your own provided by precautions and proper procedures.