January 13, 2023
By Mark Paup

Why Are My Electrical Outlets Sparking?

Updated January 18, 2024

What should you do if your electrical outlet sparks when you plug in a device? The problem’s severity depends on the spark’s colors and frequency. For example, tiny blue sparks are normal and are typically not even visible to the naked eye. The live wires in your electrical outlet are just trying to connect with the device to give it electricity.

However, yellow sparks indicate a deeper, more dangerous problem with your electrical wiring, and you need to contact an electrician immediately.

We’ll explain how to tell if your electrical outlets are dangerous and what you can do while waiting for an electrician to arrive.

  • The signs of dangerous electrical outlet sparks
  • The causes of dangerous electrical outlet sparks
  • What you should do while waiting for an electrician
  • How to prevent future dangerous electrical outlet sparks

Get Reliable Electrical Outlet Repairs in Des Moines Metro, IA

Golden Rule provides same-day electrical outlet repairs to the Des Moines Metro area. We have the fastest service response and more trucks on the road than anyone else. Whether you need an outlet repair or replacement, we’re ready to provide you with high-quality electrical service until 7 pm Monday through Friday.

Call us today at 515-393-4526 or contact us below to see why we have over five thousand 5-star reviews.

Signs of Dangerous Electrical Outlet Sparks

You can tell if electrical outlet sparks are dangerous if they are intensely yellow and last for more than a few seconds. You might also notice that they:

  • Produce a burning or smoky odor
  • Cause burn marks on the outlet
  • Occur no matter what device you plug in

Spot any of these signs? Contact an electrician immediately to minimize the risk of an electrical fire. With over 51,000 fires happening in homes yearly because of electrical issues, it’s better to be safe than sorry when dealing with a potentially dangerous outlet.

Causes of Dangerous Electrical Outlet Sparks

The three main causes of dangerous electrical outlet sparks include the following:
  1. An electrical surge melts a wire’s coating: Electrical surges can melt the coatings off your outlet’s wires, which are conduits for electricity and heat. Exposed wiring causes the outlet to short-circuit and become a fire hazard.
  2. Water damages the outlet: Avoid plugging appliances or devices into wet kitchen or bathroom outlets. Also, check that the device’s plug isn’t wet. Water immediately damages electrical outlets. Wait for the outlet to dry and call an electrician to inspect the problem.
  3. Normal usage wears out the outlet: Over time, normal wear-and-tear can cause loose wiring, broken electrical wire casings, and damaged outlets. All of which can lead to sparks. An electrician can update your wiring or outlet covers.

No matter which of these causes you suspect is behind your outlet sparks, contact a professional electrician to diagnose the problem. A thorough inspection and repair can prevent electrocution and electrical fires.

What You Should Do While Waiting for an Electrician

An experienced and trained electrician should be diagnosing and completing all electrical repairs for safety repairs. However, you can help prevent additional damage while waiting for an electrician arrives with these actions:

  • Shut off the circuit breaker: Each room has a circuit breaker switch. Shut off the power to the room the outlet is in.
  • Use a multimeter to check that the power is turned off: The tool measures electrical values and will alert you of any electrical current moving through the outlet. Make sure this value is at zero.
  • Take photos of the damaged outlet: You may be able to use photos for a homeowner’s insurance claim. Also, photos on hand will help you select a new outlet with the same voltage when you purchase a new replacement outlet.

How to Prevent Future Dangerous Electrical Outlet Sparks

You can prevent dangerous electrical outlet sparks with these simple solutions:
  • Install Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Outlets: GFCI outlets will instantly shut off electrical power if they sense a wet device plug or outlet.
  • Install a surge protector: Surge protectors divert extra voltage caused by electrical surges away from your electrical outlets and appliances, reducing potential damage and fires.
  • Remove old charging cords: No matter the device, any chargers with frayed or uninsulated cords can cause potential electrical problems. Properly dispose of them and replace the cords.
  • Update frayed or uninsulated electrical wires: Have an electrician inspect your home’s wiring for worn-out sections. Properly insulated wiring protects your outlets and home from damage.
  • Do not plug in devices if they’re on: Always turn off devices or appliances before plugging them in.

Contact Golden Rule for 5‑Star Electrical Outlet Repairs.

At Golden Rule, we strive to provide all our customers with 5-star electrical service and convenient appointments. We train our licensed electricians in-house and back up our work with 1-year labor warranties and 100% satisfaction guarantees.

We have same-day appointments until 7 pm from Monday through Friday, and we complete 99% of our repairs in one day.

Call us today at 515-393-4526 or schedule below to experience why Des Moines Metro homeowners trust us to service their electrical outlets!

Contact Us Today for Electrical Service!

If you found this post helpful, check out some other budget-saving tips:

The importance of residential electrical inspections.,
Hey there, Central Iowa homeowners! Have you ever wondered if your home’s electrical panel is pulling its weight? Picture this: you’re cozied up on your couch, enjoying... Read More
Hey there, homeowners! Have you ever peeked into your home’s electrical panel and wondered what all those switches and fuses are for? Well, fear not! Golden Rule... Read More
Preparing your electrical system for spring
Spring, with its longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures, often spur people to start spring cleaning and complete routine home maintenance. Unfortunately, one of the most critical... Read More