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What should you do when you see sparks coming from a plug on a device?

If you see sparks coming from a plug on a device, it can be alarming and potentially dangerous. Immediate and careful action is essential to ensure safety. Here's what you should do:

1. Switch Off the Power and Unplug

  • If you can safely reach the plug, turn off the power at the socket, and then carefully unplug the device. Ensure you're not touching any metal parts of the plug.

  • If you can't safely unplug the device or if the sparks are continuous, go to your main electrical panel and turn off the circuit breaker for that particular outlet.

2. Stay Clear and Do Not Use the Outlet

  • Avoid using the outlet where the sparking occurred until the problem has been identified and rectified.

  • Keep others, especially children, away from the area.

3. Inspect for Obvious Damage

  • Once the device is unplugged and the power is off, check both the device's plug and the outlet for any signs of damage, burns, or black marks.

  • Often, sparks can leave a burnt smell. Make note of this as it can be useful information when consulting with an electrician.

4. Call a Professional Electrician

  • Even if the sparking stops and you believe the issue might have been minor, it's essential to consult a licensed electrician. They can provide a comprehensive inspection and ensure the safety of the electrical system.

  • It's crucial not to attempt any repairs yourself unless you're qualified, as electrical work can be hazardous if not handled properly.

5. Consider the Device

  • If the device's plug shows signs of damage, fraying, or melting, it might be the root cause of the issue. Refrain from using the device until it's been repaired or replaced.

  • If you suspect the device itself has electrical issues, consult with its manufacturer or a repair technician.

6. Avoid Overloading Outlets

  • One of the common reasons for sparks is an overloaded outlet. Ensure you're not plugging too many high-wattage devices into a single outlet. Power strips with surge protectors can be helpful, but they should not be overloaded either.

7. Be Prepared

  • Ensure you have functional smoke alarms in your home and that your family is familiar with an emergency evacuation plan. Sparks from outlets, although they might seem minor, can lead to bigger issues like electrical fires.


While occasional, tiny sparks can be a regular occurrence when plugging or unplugging a device, continuous sparking or sparks accompanied by a burning smell, smoke, or sound indicate a more serious issue. Always prioritize safety, refrain from using the problematic device or outlet, and consult with a professional to diagnose and rectify the problem.

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