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JasonG

08:36AM | 12/10/01
Member Since: 07/05/01
25 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
When unplugging a cord from a wall outlet, it sparked. I read something about this somewhere, but can't remember if this was a sign of a loose wire or need to replace the outlet. Can anyone refresh my memory or correct me if I have totally gotten this wrong.

Thanks,
Jason

Just for some background, the outlet is a double 3-prong outlet with a light switch in the same box (switch doesn't control outlets, though). The cord unplugged was the only cord to the outlet, and went to the Christmas tree, which has 4 100 light strands on it (light instructions said strand of up to 4 was OK). The outlet is about 10 years old, the wiring is most likely 71 years old.

Iceman

09:27AM | 12/10/01
Member Since: 11/16/01
302 lifetime posts
Dear Jason,
Sometimes when you unplug anything that has active power, such as Xmas Tree lights, you create an arc. Electricity jumps!! But!! You didn't state if the spark came from the connection or from behind the outlet cover; In which case might mean a loose wire at the outlet or you are yanking the plug by the wire instead of the male end of the plug itself. If you have a metal box, yanking the plug out by the cord may move the receptacle enough to contact the metal box ( Ground) and cause a direct short. In which case would cause the breaker to kick off. Turn the power off to the outlet and remove the switch cover. Examine the box and plug to ascertain that the receptacle is not cracked, there are no loose or bare wires, the recptacle is not loose in it's mooring allowing it to contact the box, and ascertain that the wiring entering the box is not loose as this may over a period of time rub the insulation enough to expose the bare wiring. If in fact the wiring is loose, PLEASE call an Electrician to repair the problem.
Let me know how it worked out.
Good Luck, Len
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