An electric spark occurs when an excess amount of electricity discharges either to form an electric field or to find a connection. Electrical sparks can be normal, but there are some concerns with routine electrical sparking when you plug into an outlet. Electric sparks when you insert a plug into a wall outlet could be an indication of old connections, improper wiring, or moisture build up.
Normal Electrical Discharge
Normal electrical discharge can be seen when a plug is removed from a wall outlet. Electricity will continue to flow through the electronic device leading up to the moment you unplug, and an electrical spark can form from the unused and built up electricity. These sparks can be startling when they happen, but for the most part, they are normal.
If you want to keep an electrical spark of its size from occurring again you can try removing the plug evenly from the wall. If a plug is removed at an angle, electricity will build up on one side of the connection and will continue to flow through the device through an arc.
Water or Moisture Build Up
Water build up may be more of an issue for outdoor outlets, but moisture can build up on wall outlets in bathrooms and other areas that build up moisture. Moisture can create an electrical connection between the wall outlet connections which could cause electricity to spark.
Over time and with continued use of inserting and removing plugs from a wall outlet the electrical connections will begin to wear down and loosen. As the metal contacts begin to loosen there will be more play in the connection which can cause electrical sparks.
Older electrical outlets might also have additional issues including loose wiring, a lack of a grounding wire, or uninsulated electrical wiring. If your wall outlets are old, you should take the steps towards updating to GFCI wall outlets. GFCI outlets offer additional protection from electrical short circuits by shutting the power off directly at the outlet when an electrical issue is detected.
Need Help Troubleshooting?
Bryant Electric Service offers professional troubleshooting and electrical inspection services that will pinpoint any issues or dangers in your homes electrical wiring.
If you have a wall outlet that continues to spark or malfunction it is important to your home’s safety to fix the issue. Malfunctioning wall outlets can cause electric shock, fire, and can damage electrical devices. If your wall outlets are currently malfunctioning contact Bryant Electric Service to set up your electrical wiring inspection.