Electrical Sparks what causes them Electrical repair Tampa fl – Have you ever plugged something into an outlet and seen a spark? In most situations, this small blue spark is a normal event as the electrons begin to flow into the appliance’s power cord. At other times, however, a spark from an electrical outlet could start a fire or severely damage the plug. Here is what you need to know about electrical outlets, why they spark and when it’s time to call in a trusted electrician.
The Electrical repair Tampa fl flowing through the circuits of your home is running very fast and hot. Ideally, it should flow through the circuit and back out to the main grid without much interruption. The electrical outlets in your home essentially tap into this fast-moving electrical stream and divert some of the electricity to whatever you plug into them. The electricity runs through one slot of the outlet, powers the appliance, and then escapes through the second slot of the outlet. Any spark you may notice on the ‘hot’ side of the outlet is usually caused by the appliance’s sudden draw of amperage. Once the electrons begin to flow, the spark dissipates, much like static electricity.
Once in a while, however, the relationship between the outlet and the two circuit wires becomes problematic. Electrical power can also cause heat energy, and this excessive heat can cause the insulation around wires to melt away. Once an electrical wire becomes exposed, it can come into contact with the metal casing of the outlet or even with the other circuit wire. If a connection is made, electrons leap across the gap and form a visible spark.
A short circuit caused by overheated wiring can not only cause an outlet to spark – it can also create the ignition source for a dangerous electrical fire. Ideally, any short circuits should trigger a breaker switch or overload a fuse within a few seconds. Once the circuit has been broken, the electricity should stop flowing and the risk of fire should be reduced. If the household wiring is faulty, however, the entire circuit could overheat and create a fire behind the walls. This is why homeowners need to watch for any spark from their electrical outlets, particularly when running a number of appliances on the same circuit.
Below is a brief description of the different reasons why an outlet might spark. Use them as a reference, but if you’re still uncomfortable about the spark give us a call.
Outlets gradually wear out over time. As the years pass, the connections will gradually loosen, increasing the chances that a short circuit will occur and start a fire. Appliance cords that are old and worn can also cause an outlet to spark.
When that power is suddenly diverted to an appliance, there will be a quick draw on the available power, causing a brief spark. Once the electrons are flowing freely, there should be no reason for a spark to form. This is normal, and it’s comparable to static electricity.
When people decide to fix an outlet themselves, it’s important that they know exactly what they are doing. When people try to take short-cuts to fix electrical problems, they often create far more dangerous situations that can result in fires.
Repairing Faulty Outlets
If an outlet sparks briefly once in a while, then it’s probably normal and safe. When an outlet sparks every time you plug something in, you probably have a problem on your hands. Replacing an outlet is not a difficult job, but if you suspect a problem it should be left to the professionals. Installing a GFI in a line can be tricky and can cause problems for items further down the line if not done properly.
If too much heat builds up in an outlet, it can actually melt the insulation that surrounds the wires. As the wires become exposed, the chance for an electrical fire increases. When a connection is made, the electrons can leap to the wrong area and cause a serious spark. This is known as a short circuit and can actually cause an electrical fire.
Water can quickly cause an outlet to spark and short out. Installation of a special outlet known as a ground circuit fault interrupter (GFI) will cause the circuit to shut down rather than starting a fire.
Whatever type of electrical concerns you may have, it’s always best to call a professional. To schedule a service call us at Hernando (352) 270-3119 – Pasco (727) 437-0674 -Pinellas & Hillsborough (813) 261-4784 or click on the service request button below.
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