Signs of Burning Around an Electrical Plug or Outlet

Each year, emergency room doctors treat 4,000 individuals for electrical outlet-associated injuries. When it comes to electrical fires and the injuries that they can cause, prevention is key. Individuals need to regularly check electrical outlets and plugs for tell-tale signs of fire or wiring issues. Any faulty plugs (such as plugs with exposed wires) should be replaced immediately.

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Always make certain to visually inspect wall outlets before use.

Discoloration of Wall Outlets

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Take note of warning signs around electrical outlets and prevent fires.

If the wall outlet appears discolored, this is a major warning sign. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a discolored wall outlet can be caused by "arcing, smoldering, burning happening behind your outlets, damaged or improperly installed wiring in the outlet or a problem with the receptacle itself." If you see a discolored outlet, you should never attempt to use this outlet. Instead, find a qualified electrician and have him examine the outlet.

Tingling Sensation

If you plug up an electrical device (such as a toaster) and you then experience a tingling sensation when you touch that appliance, this sensation could be an indication of electrical trouble. Some people refer to this sensation as getting a "shock" from an appliance, consider it a warning sign and do not wait for a more serious injury. Consult a licensed electrician to investigate the problem.

Acrid Odor

Sometimes you cannot see the signs of a problem with an electrical plug or outlet; instead, you will be able to smell, feel or hear the issue. If you smell an acrid odor near an electrical plug, then it is an indication that a serious problem could be occurring. In addition, if you touch an outlet and it feels hot (due to possible over-heating), this is also a warning sign of electrical trouble. Finally, the sound of sizzling or popping near an electrical outlet should also be considered a cause for concern. Contact a licensed electrician to investigate the matter.