What To Do If Your Electrical Outlet Starts Smoking

Posted on: 11 November 2015

If you see smoke or even fire coming out of your electrical outlet, you need to react quickly and you need to react smartly. Here is what you need to do if you ever see smoke or fire coming out of an electrical outlet.

Get Your Family Outside

Even if it just seems like a small little curl of smoke or a tiny flame, you need to get your family outside. That little bit of smoke could be hiding a large fire that is happening behind the scenes, which is why you need to make sure you protect your children and pets. Have your children and pets evacuate outside a safe distance from your home. If you are alone with small children, take them to your neighbors or move your vehicle away from the fire and put your children inside of it (with the windows rolled down if it is hot outside) so that they are safe from the fire while you call for help. 

Call For Emergency Help

If the wall around the outlet is hot, and you suspect that the fire may be spreading through the walls and up to your attic, you should call 911 immediately and let them know what has happened and request the fire department be sent to your house.

The following steps should only be taken if the fire seems small and contained and walls around your outlet are not hot, and if doing them will not put you in any danger. 

Turn Off The Circuit Breaker

Next, you need to locate your circuit breaker and turn off the particular breaker where you saw the smoke coming from. If you want to be on the safe side, you can turn off the breakers for your entire house. 

This will stop the electricity from running through the circuit and will make it easier for you or emergency personnel to deal with the fire. 

Unplug Whatever Is Plugged In

If you can safely do so, unplug anything that is plugged into the outlet. These items may fry if they are left plugged into the outlet. They may also help fuel the fire if they are left plugged in. Only pull them out if you are dry and you can do so without burning yourself.

Put Out The Fire

If you can, put out the fire. However, do not under any circumstances use water. If you are wet or if you throw water on the fire, you could get yourself electrocuted. 

If you have a fire extinguisher, spray that on the fire. If you do not have an extinguisher, smother the fire by putting a fire blanket over it. This will deprive the fire of the oxygen that it needs to continue to grow.

If the fire is really small, you could also throw baking soda on the fire. Baking soda will neutralize the flames.

Check For Additional Damage

Feel the walls and make sure that they are not hot. If you have a basement, go down and make sure that the fire has not spread. If you encounter smoke upon opening your basement door, do not go any further. Close the door and call 911. If it seems fine, go down and inspect the damage and make sure that the flames have not spread. 

Call An Electrician

If the fire was small, call an electrician to come out and inspect the outlet. They will most likely have to replace that outlet as well as the wires that run from the outlet to your circuit. If the fire started because the outlet was overloaded, your electrician may also need to add another outlet or move some of your current outlets to a different circuit so that it does not become overpowered again. 

Contact a service like R & R Electric Co Inc for more help.