Loose Outlet Cover Plates Can Cause Sparks
Is it safe to turn on a circuit breaker after I noticed sparks? How to Prevent Sparks from Electric Outlet Covers, Loose Metal Cover Plates Can Cause Sparks.
Prevent Sparks By Securing Outlet Cover Plates
Electrical Question: Is it safe to turn on a circuit breaker after I noticed sparks?
- I Was cleaning behind the electric clothes dryer and I noticed the metal face plate was loose.
- I Bumped the face plate and it fell on the dryer plug which was not completely plugged in.
- This caused a spark. I turned off breaker and unplugged dryer.
- There is some black soot on plug.
- Is it safe to plug dryer back in and turn on breaker to see if it works? I plan to find screws to attach face plate before I do this.
This electrical repair question came from: Debra, a Homeowner from Flint, Texas.
Thanks for your electrical troubleshooting and repair question Debra.
How to Prevent Sparks from Electric Outlet Covers
Application: Installing an Electric Outlet Cover.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with outlet wiring.
Loose Metal Cover Plates Can Cause Sparks
- I’ve had the same thing happen to me where my tape measure slipped down a wall and shorted across a plug that was not plugged in all the way into the outlet.
- The black soot is from the arcing that occurred when the cover shorted across the prongs of the dryer plug, so just clean the soot up with a dry paper towel.
- It’s important to securely fasten the cover plate over the dryer outlet, then once all the metal parts are clear and the dryer is plugged all the way in then the circuit breaker can be turned back on.
- Because the circuit breaker tripped off, you will most likely have to push the handle all the way into the off position to reset the breaker, then just push it back into the on position.
More about the Dryer Outlet and Electrical Circuit
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Fully Explained Photos and Wiring Diagrams for Wiring Electrical Outlets with Code Requirements for most new or remodel projects.
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See an electric dryer installation with a typical 220 Volt electric power cord wiring system. You may find yourself with either a 3-wire or 4-wire electric dryer, or a 3-wire or 4-wire outlet. Lets look a how the electric dryer is wired and what to do if your cord does not match the plug.
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This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
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