Why an Outlet May Spark When Plugged Into

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Why A Spark May Be Seen When a Cord is Plugged In: Electricity and a Load Spark.

If this is your first visit, be sure to sign up for your Free Electrical Tips and eBook.
Your Comments and Electrical Questions are always welcome.

Electricity and a Load Spark

Electrical Question: When I plug in my adapter for my laptop computer directly into an outlet in my kitchen I can see a spark at the time I plug it in.

  • I tried other receptacles in the house and I get a spark from them also.
  • I replaced the adapter with a new one but I still get a spark.
  • When I plug in a lamp without a ground plug on it into these same receptacles I do not get a spark.

Help please.

This electrical question came from: Larry, a Homeowner from Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Larry.

A Spark May Be Seen When a Cord is Plugged In

  • The spark that you see when you plug in your laptop adapter or power supply is because the electronic components of the power supply are drawing power immediately.
  • You may not see a spark when you plug in your lamp because either the lamp is turned off so there is no flow of electricity or the light bulb in the lamp is small and draws a smaller amount of electricity.
  • An electrical spark will occur when the electrical load on the circuit is substantial.
  • This principle can be compared to an automotive spark plug where there is a gap between the center electrode and the grounded tip, and because the voltage is high a spark will easily occur between the electrode and the grounded tip.
  • The grounded tip in this example of a spark plug represents no resistance so the high voltage spark will naturally occur.
  • The spark that you were seeing is the result of electrical current flow because the laptop power supply was sending energy to the components right away.
  • This will not harm you as long as you are holding the insulated plug of the cord.

More about Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlet wiring
Wiring Electrical Outlet for the Home
Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.

For more information about Outlet Wiring
How to Install Electrical Outlets
Outlet Wiring
Wiring Electrical Outlets
Fully Explained Photos and Wiring Diagrams for Wiring Electrical Outlets with Code Requirements for most new or remodel projects.

Learn How to Wire it Right with my
Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electrical Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
Troubleshooting and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
Electrical Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

» Click here to learn more about Home Electrical Wiring «
  repair electrical wiring  

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Why an Outlet May Spark When Plugged Into”
  1. Mehran says:

    Will the spark harm my device which I connected with my power outlet?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Mehran,
      The initial spark that may occur when a device is first plugged into a receptacle outlet should not damage the device, however it is best to make sure the device is not turned on before plugging the device in.
      I hope this helps,


Click here to Ask a Detailed Home Electrical Question and get an Instant Reply.

To Our Valued Visitors:
If you are asking a Quick Question please make sure it is about The SAME TOPIC:
Why an Outlet May Spark When Plugged Into

Comments Posted here are Open for Quality Discussion and Participation.