September 1, 2022

A sparking electrical outlet can be a concern for many reasons. Seeing sparks when plugging or unplugging an appliance might seem normal, but it could signal serious wiring problems.

You should always contact a licensed electrician any time you experience sparking outlets. Experts can come to your home, assess the wiring, and pinpoint the source of trouble. The dangers of sparking sockets in the home include damage to your electrical appliances, injury (or death!), and electrical fires. 

Signs of problems with your wiring:

  • Large sparks from interference with the electrical output
  • Long periods of sparking
  • A burning smell from a heated outlet or burning rubber insulation
  • Yellow and white sparks

Knowing the main reasons your outlets spark can help keep your home safe from electrical issues. Here are some reasons your outlets might be sparking. 

  • Excess Shock 

Short-circuiting happens when excess current and heat build-up inside your electrical outlets. The extra heat melts the insulation to your electrical wiring and exposes them. Naked wires significantly increase the risk of a spark causing an electrical fire in the home. 

Overloading the outlets can also lead to a sudden discharge of electrical current. Sparking is a signal that you have overloaded a plug. Smaller heater strips can help you avoid overloading your outlets. You should also call a professional if you suspect the excess current stems from molten and exposed wiring. 

  • Loose Outlets

Buzzing and crackling are common signs that you have a loosely wired electrical connection. You can inspect the problem by turning off the power at the mains and removing the plate that covers the outlet. Check the state of the screws holding the wires where they connect. Tightening any loose screws should solve the problem.

However, you should NOT try this yourself, unless of course you are also a qualified electrician! Call a licensed technician if you suspect any loose outlets. Mistakes can lead to short-circuiting. Loose outlets also indicate your system is too old. Calling an electrician creates an opportunity to assess the entire wiring. They can recommend replacing aged parts of the system or rewiring the house for safety. 

  • Poor Wiring 

The quality of the electrical wiring installed in your home determines its safety and efficiency. Substandard wiring often leads to circuit overloads and sparking sockets. In addition to sparking sockets, you might also notice:

  • Dimming when you plug an appliance
  • Tripping breakers when you live in an older home
  • Warm and vibrating spots around the sockets
  • Smoke from the sockets
  • Scorch marks on your electrical appliances

Poor wiring is an intricate electrical problem you shouldn’t try to handle alone. Some dangers of DIY repairs include power failure from mixing up the live, neutral, and ground connections and electrical shock. You might also get injured in the process. Thousands of people suffer serious injuries and even die annually trying to repair their home electrical systems. 

Frayed and damaged wiring is also a trouble indicator. Fraying could be a result of the age of your home. Fraying can also happen after water damage. Moisture slowly and progressively damages wiring and exposes the outlets to sparking and other problems.

The best way to deal with sparking outlets is by calling a licensed electrician for repairs. Most offer regular and emergency repair services for a wide range of complications.

We pride ourselves at Astley Electrical on delivering excellent quality electrical service to our customers. We have been in business for 38 years and have a track record of offering reliable repair services to the homeowners of the Sydney Metropolitan area. Contact us for a consultation about your home’s electrical problems.