Have you ever tried to connect an appliance or electrical device and observed sparks that appear when the prongs come into contact with the outlet? Most people ignore this as normal and continue to go about their lives. If, however, you notice outlets that spark when you plug into appliances, it could be a sign that something is not right.

An outlet that is sparking isn’t always the cause of anything bad happening, however, considering how risky things like electrical fires can be and are, you’d probably think you should not take the risk. There are a variety of various reasons that an outlet could spark, and it’s difficult to determine the exact reason behind an outlet that is sparking.

In this post, we will discuss some of the factors that could trigger an outlet to ignite.

Sparking normal

As we stated in the introduction of this article, not every spark can be a sign that something is not right in an electrical device. There’s such a thing that is known as “normal sparking.” Normal sparks usually occur when you disconnect an appliance. The electricity will continue to flow through appliances until the prongs of the power cord are separated from an outlet. This is why you often find appliances working even after the power cord is removed halfway from the wall.

As the electricity flows on until all prongs are removed from the outlet, it is possible to notice a spark after the final prong has been removed. This is because the electricity that is not being used needs to move somewhere and if it is unable to locate a place to go the electricity sparks. Think of it like static electricity. Static electricity is created due to friction and needs to find a place to go, which is why it ignites.

The normal sparking may be a nuisance (especially in the event that it triggers the slightest shock) but it doesn’t necessarily mean that something is going on in the electrical system. However, it could be an indication that you’re not using your outlets properly. Normal sparking typically occurs when a person takes a plug off at an unnatural angle. It might sound strange however it’s the truth.

Plugs being pulled out at strange angles can cause damage to outlets. A damaged outlet can cause electrical fires that are dangerous. This is why you must be cautious when you pull plugs out. Always pull the plugs slowly and ensure they’re straight when you take them out. Don’t pull a plug out fast or at an awkward angle.

The buildup of water

I believe it’s safe to declare that electricity and water are not compatible. However, occasionally, outlets are exposed to water. Water can cause problems with the internal components of the outlet, causing sparks to ignite when it is being used. Water may interfere with the wiring inside and if there’s leftover moisture or water inside the outlet, that could interfere with how the electrical circuit operates.

However, be aware it is true that liquids like the presence of water (or any liquid, for that matter) can cause damage to outlets and cause sparks. There are three ways that liquids enter outlets. If the outlet is outside it’s possible that rain has made its way into the outlet. A majority of outlets on the outside are built with covers or are placed in a place that is not prone to rain. However, rain can find an opening and leaves an unusable outlet.

Another way liquid can affect outlets is through the build-up of moisture within the walls of homes. There are many homes that include outlets in bathrooms. The problem is that water may accumulate on walls due to all the steam coming out of the shower. The build-up of water can cause problems with the outlets. This is only one example. Another instance would be leaky pipes that can cause water to be deposited behind walls, which then seeps into wiring, which results in an outlet that is damaged.

The final method by which liquid could be introduced into the outlet is if a person spills liquid in the outlet. This happens seldom and usually, you are aware when it occurs, so we won’t go into the details.

An outlet that is worn out

When you think of the things within your home that are worn down over time, you may often think about outlets. Some houses are equipped with outlets that haven’t been wired in twenty or thirty years due to the fact that homeowners don’t think of them as having to replace them. However, trust us when we state that electrical outlets, as well as the wiring that supports them, are prone to wear and tear.

As the parts behind the outlets wear out it is possible to notice sparks. If the wiring for the outlet gets much more worn out and the wiring gets more worn out, you’ll begin to notice sparks appearing more frequently. The best solution is to rewire the outlet. It is possible to have rewiring completed for your entire house or just have it done for a specific area of wiring in your home.

Make sure you are aware that all electrical work needs to be performed by an electrical contractor who is licensed.

Incorrect outlets

Another reason for an outlet to be generating sparks is because it wasn’t installed correctly. Sometimes (although it is rare) outlets will not be installed properly. This could cause sparks in the future. The best solution that you could imagine, is to contact an electrician to have them come to your house and install the outlet correctly.

There are four primary reasons that an outlet could be generating sparks. If you notice that your outlet sparking, and you believe it might be due to one of the three causes listed above (not including normal sparking because, as we’ve stated, it isn’t caused by any problem in the electrical system) contact the emergency electrician immediately. Make sure you shut off the outlet immediately. Make sure to not plug in the outlet until the electrician has had time to examine the outlet.