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.© By: Dave Rongey
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
How to Install Electrical Outlets
Wiring Electrical Outlets
Fully Explained Photos and Wiring Diagrams for Wiring Electrical Outlets with Code Requirements for most new or remodel projects.
Home Circuit Breakers
How to Wire a Dryer and Cord
Wiring a Dryer
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.
For more information about Electrical Safety
Home Electrical Safety
A new approach to keep kids and electricity apart with hopes to prevent children from being injured by electricity.
The following may also be helpful for you:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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