Electrical outlet burning is a serious issue in homes. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), faulty plugs accounted for 10% of all electrical distribution-related house fires in the U.S. between 2015 and 2019. If you want to protect your home against electrical fires that create costly property damage, be aware of the common warning signs of faulty outlets.
Top Signs You Have a Burning Electrical Outlet
If you notice any of the following warning signs, contact a licensed electrician. A professional will perform the necessary repairs to safeguard your home and, more importantly, your loved ones.
1. Discolored Wall Outlets
A discolored wall outlet is the telltale sign of internal burning. A wall outlet that wasn’t installed correctly or has sustained damage can also become discolored. If your outlet is discolored, stop using it and contact a skilled electrician to receive support.
2. Tingling Sensation
If touching an electrical device that is plugged into a wall outlet causes a tingling sensation, seek professional assistance immediately. The internal components of the electrical outlet could be burning. A certified electrician will be able to identify the underlying cause and perform necessary repairs in no time.
3. Burning Odors
If you smell a burning odor coming from a wall outlet, the internal electrical components are probably malfunctioning. The same thing goes if an electrical outlet is hot to the touch or produces a sizzling noise. Contact an electrician as soon as possible to resolve the issue.
When Is It Time to Replace Your Power Outlets?
Repairs aren’t always enough to fix your electrical outlet problems. Sometimes a full replacement is necessary.
1. The Outlet Isn’t Working
We hate to state the obvious, but a wall outlet that stops working altogether should be replaced.
2. Cracks and Chips
While small cracks and chips on a wall outlet might seem insignificant, they let various types of debris such as dust, pet dander, and fuzz accumulate inside. When you plug a cord into the outlet, the combination of electricity and debris can create an electrical arc and cause sparking.
3. Plugs Fall Out Easily
The electrical plugs in a wall outlet loosen over time due to gradual deterioration from regular use. Just like built-up debris, this wear and tear can create an electrical arc and ultimately cause sparking.
4. Outlet Feels Hot
An outlet that is hot to the touch is a sign of worn-down, damaged, or poorly installed wiring that is more susceptible to an electrical fire.
5. You See a Spark
Sparks don’t appear for no reason. If you see sparks near your electrical outlet, this is a sign the internal parts are burning. When you encounter sparks when plugging electrical appliances or devices into a wall outlet, this is an indicator it’s time to replace the outlet.
6. Outlets Are Not Grounded
Modern outlets are grounded, meaning they have a third prong that prevents electrical arcs and sparking when the outlet experiences a power surge. Older, ungrounded—or two-prong—outlets are more prone to burning because they don’t contain the added safety measure of a third prong. We encourage you to replace any ungrounded outlets with safer, grounded models.
7. Flickering Power
Lights or devices that constantly flicker are likely putting too much demand on the outlet they are plugged into. Whether the underlying issue is a worn-down, damaged, or poorly installed outlet, your best bet is to replace the outlet to stop the flickering and prevent burning.
The Trusted Name in Electrical Repairs & Replacements
If you believe a power outlet in your house is burning, give our team a call at (703) 543-9649 to book an appointment. Our team of local electricians in Reston, VA and other areas offer reputable electrical outlet installation and repair services for homes.
Our technicians also offer other types of electrical services such as lighting installation, ceiling fan replacement, whole-house generator installation, and electrical panel replacement. As the #1 full-service electrical organization in Virginia, we offer the comprehensive electrical repair and replacement services you need to keep your family safe. Our local electricians are available 24/7 to handle all your electrical needs.