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Electrical  /  March 17, 2022

Scarborough Electrical Services: Reasons Your Outlet Is Sparking

Reason your outlet is sparking

A sparking electrical outlet in your home or building may not necessarily be cause for concern. On the other hand, it may be indicative of something serious that requires the services of an electrician in Scarborough. When sparks come shooting out of your wall outlet, it is helpful to know all potential causes.  That way, you know for certain whether it’s a minor issue or something that requires professional electrical repair services.

If you notice a spark when unplugging an appliance, don’t panic; this happens frequently and is usually harmless. On the other hand, here are some dangerous conditions that can lead to a sparking outlet.

Short Circuits

The simple definition of a short circuit is ” …a connection between two parts of an electrical circuit that you don’t want to be there,” according to Karl Berggren of MIT’s School of Engineering. It is essentially an electric current literally seeking the path of least resistance. For example, if you were to stick a metal rod or knife into the heating element of a toaster oven, that metal would offer the current an easier path — one that was not intended. The reason is that the knife or rod has much less resistance. It is similar to what might happen if you have a narrow hose hooked up to one side of a large water tank and decided to attach a wide hose to the other side. All that water would start pouring out of the wide hose.

When an electrical connection “shorts out,” a huge and dangerous amount of electrical current comes is set free — and the consequences can be disastrous.

Moisture and Age

Another reason to call on professional electrical repair services is deterioration and/or water exposure. Wires exposed to moisture will short out because water has virtually no electrical resistance (this is why running an electrical appliance near the bathtub is a bad idea).

Age-related deterioration is another cause of outlet sparking. Over time, wiring may become frayed or worn, or chewed through by rodent pests, while old connections can wear out and loosen and contact points wear out. If you have GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets, these will detect such conditions and cut off the power supply. However, it does not correct the root problem.

Negligent Repairs

An unfortunate, but not infrequent cause of sparking outlets is some who failed to do the job correctly in the first place. Perhaps it was a do-it-yourselfer or an unqualified individual who offered to do the job cheap. In this situation, a few cents saved today can lead to having to spend a lot of dollars up the road. It’s always smarter to hire professional electrical repair services.

Overloading

Having too many appliances plugged into a single outlet and attempting to use them all at once can easily cause sparks — and that can be the least of your problems.

How to Know if You Have a Problem

A brief blue spark when plugging in or unplugging an appliance is normal. If it lasts longer than a split second, it indicates a faulty outlet or a short circuit.

Different coloured sparks can also indicate problems. Normal sparking is blue. If sparks come out yellow, white, orange, or any other colour, you have a problem that calls for a licensed electrician.

Time to Call an Electrician in Scarborough

Electrical problems can pose serious dangers and are best left to professionals. The licensed electricians at Handyman Connection come to your home and are trained to deal with everything from a simple switch replacement to major rewiring projects. Call today to speak with a professional electrician and receive a free, no-obligation estimate.

*All electrical work is subcontracted to ECRA/ESA Licensed Electrical Contractors

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