Electricity is something that makes people nervous. Unless you’re an electrician, it’s best not to mess with outlets or your electrical panels. If you notice sparks coming from an outlet in your home, it might be caused by electrical arcing. An electric arc is when electricity jumps from one connection to another. The discharge of electricity is produced during an electrical breakdown with gasses in the air. This often causes a flash, sparks, and a sizzling or cracking sound.
If you’re noticing electrical arcing around your Chesterfield, MO home, call the expert electricians at Chesterfield Service. We can find the cause of this issue and make repairs to prevent it from causing an electrical fire in your home.
What Causes an Electrical Arc?
Electric arcing can be caused by a few issues. It could be caused by a damaged wire or improper connections that cannot endure the flow of electrical current. Common situations where electric arcing happens include:
Overloaded Electrical Panels
If the circuits in an electrical panel are overloaded, it could result in overheating which can damage the bus and the connection. When there is an excess of electrical current flowing, circuit breakers may not function as expected. Instead of tripping as they should, electricity will continue to flow through damaged circuits and result in overheating followed by arcing.
Fuses the blow or circuits that trip frequently could point to an overloaded panel and potential arcing risk.
Malfunctioning Electrical Panels
Certain electrical panels are prone to defective circuit breaker links. Zinsco and Federal Pacific Breakers are brands of electrical breakers that have been deemed dangerous and are no longer in use. These electrical panels were common in older homes. You should replace these electrical panels if you find them in your home.
Also, make sure that your electrical panel was installed correctly and isn’t left bare outside the box that needs to be pushed in. Don’t leave your electrical cabinet open when not in use. If you notice any damage or rust on your electrical cabinet, have it replaced by an expert electrician.
If your electrical system is composed of aluminum wiring, you’ll want to upgrade your wiring to meet with current electrical codes. Exposed and frayed wires, rusty or corroded wires, and electrical systems that are poorly maintained are common causes of electric arcing as well. Be aware of any breaks or gaps in insulation and don’t use any burnt outlets.
What Does It Mean When Your Electrical Outlets Spark?
Occasionally, you may notice a short spark when power is abruptly diverted from a different appliance to another. This is common and similar to static electricity.
Be careful not to overload an electrical outlet with extension cords or power strips causing overheating. Overheated outlets can melt the insulation around the wires, exposing the cables, which could cause a fire. This is known as a short circuit.
An Outlets in bathrooms and other rooms with water present should be equipped with a GFCI breaker. A GFCI will stop sparking and electrical arcing.
Old outlets and burnt outlets should be replaced. Outlets do not last forever, and if the connections within an outlet are loose, it increases the odds of a short circuit happening and a potential electrical fire starter.
When Should I Call An Electrician About Electric Arcs?
If you hear any buzzing or cracking sounds coming from your electrical system, it’s time to call an electrician. Loose cables, overloaded outlets, and outlets with loose connections can cause these noises to occur. These noises won’t go away on their own and can cause major damage to your electrical system, not to mention fires. Protect your home and your family and call Chesterfield Service right away if you’ve noticed any of the symptoms of electric arcing.