A smoking electrical outlet is a serious matter that you don't want to ignore. Outlets should never function in this manner, so smoke is an indication that something is wrong. Discover some of the factors that could be at play.
An outlet is only designed to accommodate a certain amount of electricity, measured in amps. When the devices plugged into the outlet exceed this threshold, it causes the outlet to overload and heat, which can lead to the smoke you see or even a fire. This problem is most common when homeowners plug an extension cord into an outlet and then plug several high-functioning devices into the extension cord. Remember, extension cords are not intended to multiply power, but instead provide an extension for the device you need to power.
There should be a clear path between the device plug and the power source within the outlet. Any type of debris or obstruction will cause the outlet to overheat. Debris inside an outlet can result from several different sources. For instance, a small child could put something inside the outlet, and if you live in an older home then dust can also settle inside the outlet. The plate will need to be taken off and the debris removed for the outlet to function correctly. Always make sure you keep the outlets covered with safety plates if you have young children.
One of the more common causes of a smoking outlet is an outlet that has not been wired correctly. This problem is most often the result of a DIY electrical update. Particularly when it comes to the ground wire, it's very important that it be installed correctly, as it is responsible for preventing too much power from being delivered to the outlet. When it's not installed correctly, the excess power delivery will cause the outlet to overheat.
It's critical that you keep your safety a priority. A smoking outlet could also mean that there is a fire on the other side of the wall plate. Before you begin to look for the source of the problem, you need to ensure that your home is safe. Only after you have made this determination should you contact an electrician to research what exactly caused the problem.
Again, this issue is not one that you want to ignore. Make sure you address the necessary repairs as soon as possible. Reach out to your local electrician for more information.