No one ever wants to glance over at the wall and see smoke coming from an electrical outlet. It is sure to create an instant sense of panic. However, this is when you must remain calm and take fast action to protect your loved ones and your home.
First, tell everyone in the house to prepare to evacuate. Smoke is a good indication that there is already a fire inside the wall of your home. If there is anything plugged into the outlet, remove it if possible.
If the wall feels warm or the smoke increases, call 911 and get everyone and your pets out of the house. It is also good to turn off the breaker to that circuit if the electrical box is easily accessible.
If you decide that you want to take matters into your own hands, only use a powder-based or CO2 fire extinguisher to attempt to prevent the fire from spreading. If you try to use water, there is a very good chance that you could be electrocuted.
If you are unfamiliar with the type of extinguisher you have or the smoke is increasing quickly, evacuate and let emergency responders do their job. Even if you think that the fire is out and everything’s safe, never turn the power back on to the circuit until a licensed electrician has inspected it.
What Causes Smoking Outlets?
You are never going to be in a position to repair a smoking outlet. Only a licensed electrician is qualified to take on that task. However, what you can do is prevent the issues that cause an electrical outlet to begin smoking. Common causes of a smoking outlet include:
- Wiring Problems- Loose wires, damaged wire connections, or faulty ground can all create an arc that creates smoke and fire inside your home’s walls. Remember that there are not very many openings in your home’s walls. So the fire could be located anywhere, and the smoke is just escaping from any space such as an outlet. Cut the power to your home and call 911 if you see smoke from various outlets, the walls feel warm, or you hear crackling in the walls.
- Dirt In An Outlet- Dust and dirt can collect in an outlet and create a short circuit. The debris allows electricity to move from the positive and negative wires to generate heat and a potential fire. You can turn off the circuit breaker to an outlet and remove the faceplate to vacuum dust and dirt from the area to prevent possible electrical fires. Never spray any liquid into an outlet or try to dig out dirt with a tool or implement.
- Overloaded Outlets- When you have too many devices plugged into a single outlet, you can create an overload. This often happens when you use a power strip or extension cords to plug in more than one or two items. In most cases, the breaker should trip and cut off the flow of electricity to an overloaded outlet before any damage occurs. However, if the breaker is old or worn, it could fail and allow the outlet to overheat and start a fire. Don’t plug in more than the appropriate number of items to an outlet. And never ignore a breaker that trips. It is a safety feature that is protecting you and your home.
When you have smoke coming from an outlet, or other electrical issues, evaluate and call 911. Then call (915) 328-4229 for professional help from the licensed electricians at Secure Electrical Contractors. We are here 24/7 to help with any electrical emergency.