Safety should be your number one concern when it comes to your electrical outlets, so if you’re asking, “are my electrical outlets safe?” you’re doing the right thing. The problem is, many people don’t understand the signs that come along with an unsafe electrical outlet.
At Santa Fe Air, we 100% believe in being proactive rather than reactive, especially when faulty outlets could lead to shock, fires, and electrocutions. To figure out whether your electrical outlets are safe, keep reading and we’ll outline signs you should watch out for.
1. Sparks coming from outlet
Sparks are great on the Fourth of July or during a budding romance—not when it comes to your outlets. Sparking doesn’t necessarily mean there’s imminent danger, but you always want to play on the safe side to determine whether your electrical outlets are safe. In this case, we recommend that you:
- Shut off the breaker associated with the outlet
- Unplug all devices from the outlet
- Call a licensed electrician to find and address the problem (don’t try to do this yourself, folks)
2. Black or brown marks on the outlet
If you have black and brown marks on your outlet (assuming it’s not just dirt), that’s usually a sign that there’s some burning happening. Electricity generates heat, which is why electrical fires are a major concern. Especially if you smell something burning, shut off the power immediately. Again, don’t try to DIY a temporary fix—please, please, please don’t hurt yourself. Instead, call a technician who knows how to fix burnt outlets.
Oftentimes, burnt outlets come from arcing. Arcing happens when the metal bits of your outlet become damaged or loose and causes the outlet to overheat. As a result, the surrounding plastic chars and melts, and if it’s not taken care of right away, the overheating can lead to a fire.
3. Buzzing coming from the outlet
Your outlets shouldn’t buzz. In fact, your outlets shouldn’t make any kind of sound. Buzzing almost always indicates a loose connection, and the sound itself is the alternating current. If you know what you’re doing, you can try to tighten the connection behind the wall plate. But keep in mind that you should only do so if you have electrical experience. Otherwise, give your local electrician a call to help.
4. Popping coming from the outlet
Along with buzzing, you shouldn’t hear any popping or crackling sounds either. More likely than not, popping stems from an electrical spark, which could lead to the outlet blowing out. One key takeaway: blown out outlet = fire.
If you notice the sound and it goes away, that does not mean the problem settled itself. In fact, it’s quite normal for the popping to start up then stop for a while before starting back up again. Whenever you notice popping, turn off the outlet via the circuit board and call an electrician.
5. The outlet is hot to the touch
If your electrical outlet is feeling hot, hot, hot—something’s not right. You’ll probably have to call an electrician to find the source, but a few common sources include:
- Damaged outlets:
- Powerstrip overload
- Too many devices at once
- AC/DC transformers
Learn more about outlet safety with Santa Fe Air
If you’re wondering whether or not your electrical outlets are safe, our electricians at Santa Fe Air are more than happy to take a look. We’ve been in business since 1987, so we really know our stuff.