We depend on electricity in our day-to-day life. Outlets are used more often than we realize. If the performance of our electricity is hindered, it can be more than an inconvenience, it can be hazardous. With this in mind, we at Peterkin Electric would like to discuss how to handle a smoking outlet.
Why is My Plug Socket Smoking?
Electrical Wiring Problems. Arcing and then smoke and fire can develop if you’ve got damaged connections, faulty grounds or loose wires anywhere in your home electrical system. Typically, smoke exits through outlets since it needs to go somewhere. A sign that there’s a much bigger problem somewhere and you need to turn off the circuit at the breaker box immediately is if you smoke coming from an outlet not in use. Until you’ve had an electrical inspection by a licensed electrician, do not restore power and call emergency services.
Debris in Electrical Outlet. A short circuit can be caused by dirt or debris in an electrical outlet. Resulting in an arcing comes when a buildup of debris occurs, that can transfer electricity. The arcing can create heat and a possible fire hazard. Clean your outlets by turning off the outlet’s circuit at the breaker box if you want to avoid this. Remove the cover and use a vacuum attachment to remove debris from the plugs and inside. You can wipe the cover with a damp cloth too while it is off, just make sure it is completely dry before replacing and restoring power.
Overloaded Outlets. A common cause of smoking outlets is how many devices households typically are using. Many circuits for houses are only designed to handle a load of 15-20 amps in fact. Plugging a few devices into the same outlet can push it beyond its capacity. When an overload occurs, the breaker will trip and shut it down. If the safety feature faulters, the overload can cause excessive heat, smoldering wires, smoke and of course the possibility of a fire. A tripped circuit should not be ignored. Disconnect some items and use them on another circuit if a circuit continues to shut down. It is best to consult with a licensed electrician about possible upgrades to your home’s electrical system.
Loose / Corroded Electrical Connections. In order for electricity to flow properly, you need to have the connections between a device’s plug and receptacles secure. The affects to the connection of the prongs to the receptacle comes from heavy use, wear and tear, as well as cracking or corroding.
When the current jumps the gap, a device’s plug doesn’t fit snugly, then sparks and/or arcing can happen. This leads to smoke and even fire. Make certain to replace any damaged outlets.
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If it smokes, or smells like it is burning, or you see it sparking, the problem outlet needs to be addressed, start by turning off and unplugging the device. Evacuate and call emergency services. If it needs immediate action, NEVER use water because that could result in electrocution, instead, use powder-based or CO2 extinguishers. Until you’ve determined the problem and addressed it with an electrician, do not turn the circuit back on. Sorting out the cause of the problem and determination that it is no longer a danger is with a licensed electrician. Call Peterkin Electric and let our experts assist you!