ask the electrician
Electrician Training Electrical Certification wiring recessed light fixtures Electrical Wiring Electrical Troubleshooting and Electrical Repairs wire outdoor light fixture Home Electrical Wiring Diagrams
wiring home generator and transfer switch wiring a 220 volt range cord outlet Wiring for GFCI Outlets Wiring Outlets and a Switched Outlet Wiring and Installing Ceiling Fans and Remote Controls wire dimmer switch wiring diagrams for switches wiring a dryer cord and 220 outlet circuit breaker panel
Electrical Wire and Cable

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:

Electrical Wiring Video

Home Electrical Wiring Videos about this Topic and More

Check out my YouTube Channel, and Subscribe!

Learn more with my Home Electrical Video Course:

Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Prevent Sparks By Securing Outlet Cover Plates
Electrical Question: Is it safe to turn on a circuit breaker after I noticed sparks?

This electrical repair question came from: Debra, a Homeowner from Flint, Texas.

Dave’s Reply:
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

More about the Dryer Outlet and Electrical Circuit
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.

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
Electrical Safety
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:

electrical wiring book

A Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Be sure to get your copy of my BIG Book:
Perfect for Homeowners, Students and Electricians
Home Electrical Wiring - Room by Room
120 Volt Circuits
240 Volt Circuits
Multi-Wired Circuits
Wiring Methods for Installing Home Electrical Circuit Wiring
Electrical Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

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

More articles about Outlets, Troubleshooting and Home Electrical Wiring:
« Previous Next »
50 HZ and 60 HZ Frequency Power for Home Appliances Understanding Sub-Panels and Neutral Wires

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

6 Responses to “Loose Outlet Cover Plates Can Cause Sparks”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Wayne, Great Question.
    NOTE: From what you have described, this condition could be a potential shock hazard, therefore the circuit should be turned off until the fault has been identified and repaired by a Qualified Electrician.
    The circuit should be checked to make sure the polarity is correct and the circuit is wired correctly.
    If the circuit is found to be correct then the circuit should be turned off and the wiring should be inspected at each receptacle outlet. A visual inspection should look for outlet side terminals that may be making contact with the outlet box or portions of the wiring that may have exposed bare wire that is making contact with the outlet box or the outlet mounting bracket.
    Be Safe,

  2. Wayne says:

    I’m replacing plastic outlet covers with metal covers. For some reason, I’m getting an electric arch with the metal plates. What do I need to do to prevent this, other than staying with the plastic covers?

  3. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Nicola,
    It is important to make sure the cover plate is in place and firmly secured. From what you have described, the popping of the plug being removed will not start a fire. If the cover plate is metal then the popping sound may have been caused when the prongs of the plug shorted across with the metal cover plate. A direct short such as this can cause the circuit breaker to trip off, therefore the circuit breaker would need to be located in the panel, and reset to restore the power to the circuit.
    I hope this helps,

  4. nicola jones says:

    The cover plate on my outlet is loose and made a popping sound when I pulled out a plug. Can it start a fire if there is nothing plugged in until I can repair it?

  5. Dave Rongey says:

    Bobbi Jo
    If a cover plate is in place it will surely prevent electric shock or possible damage to the dryer and circuit.
    A cover plate may be purchased from most hardware stores.

  6. bobbi jo says:

    What if there is no faceplate on the plug for the dryer, can it cause damage to my dryer or shock me when I plug it in?