Outlet Clicks/sparks Intermittently? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 08-25-2009, 05:11 PM   #1
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Outlet clicks/sparks intermittently?


I noticed that in two electrical outlets in our home when something is plugged in (in one of them) or when the switch is thrown to turn on a light (in the other) I occasionally hear a "clicking" sound.

I removed the faceplate to the light switch (there is no place to plug anything into it - it controls two lights and a fan in a bathroom) and turned it off and one quite a few times. I saw it spark once. Small spark. Just a "pop" but it also made the clicking sound.

In the kitchen, very near the sink, we have a plug-in type outlet. When I plug the rotisserie into it, for example, I can see a blue spark, but again, only occassionally, right where one of the prongs goes in. I also can hear that "click."

Is the wiring bad? Do I need an electrician? Is it a coincidence that both of these outlets that spark are near hot water sources, ie. could steam cause rust or corrosion in the wires.

This has me a little nervous.

Thank you,

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Old 08-25-2009, 06:06 PM   #2
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The clicking could be audible electrical arcs. If so, that ain't good. Bigtime fire hazard. Nothing in a receptacle should make a sound. Seeing a tiny spark when plugging or unplugging isn't necessarily such a concern.

Unless you feel comfortable really digging into your home's electrical system it would definitely be wise to have an electrician look it over right away.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:27 PM   #3
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Plugging in or unplugging a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner or even a 100 watt incandescent light while it is turned on can result in a visible or audible spark and I have to consider that OK.

But if you jiggle the plug while it stays plugged in (or you don't touch it at all) and you get more clicking or sparking then you have a loose connection in the receptacle and you need to fix it.

Flipping a switch and seeing a little spark inside as the light goes on or off is OK. Flipping a switch and someone else observing a spark at a receptacle at that moment somewhere else is not OK.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-25-2009 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:49 PM   #4
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If the plugs pull out easily or get hot, replace the outlets because the contact spring tension is almost down to zero.
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Old 08-29-2009, 06:02 PM   #5
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If you unplug from a duplex receptacle, with a large load connected, you
will always see a arc flash. It like when welder start to weld. He doesn't
want to touch the metal, he just want the arc. so he draws his rod close
until their an arc flash. Old movie projectors in movies houses used the
same principle.

But if you duplex receptacle get hot, when a load, (coffee maker), is plug
in, have it replace. Cheap receptacle wear out, when they're constantly
being used. Plug in, plug out. Plug in, plug out.

Last thing, cheap duplex receptacle should never be wire in the back, but
the wire should always connect around a connection screw.

Hire an electrician if you don't know how to do this. Replace a duplex receptacle.

Last edited by Ranger31; 08-29-2009 at 06:07 PM.
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