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Rick
Rick, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 13974
Experience:  Licensed construction supervisor with 35+ yrs. experience.
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I have a heater plugged into a wall socket that I was also

Resolved Question:

I have a heater plugged into a wall socket that I was also using for a vacuum. Suddenly, the circuit tripped and the electricity went out. I went to the control/breaker box(?) and flipped the switch to turn it back on and it snapped (sparked) at me. It does work now, however, I am concerned about it snapping at me like that. Can this cause a fire?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Rick replied 10 months ago.

Rick :

Welcome, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do my best to help you with your issue.

Rick :

Were the appliances still plugged in when you threw the breaker back on?

Customer:

Probably, although I'm don't remember for sure.

Rick :

If the breaker tripped and the appliances were still plugged in then what you describe would not be a cause for concern. If your appliances were not plugged in then this could be an indication of a failing breaker and should be checked out by an electrician.

Customer:

I would try it now without the vacuum plugged in but my computer is on this circuit (not the plug).

Rick :

If just the heater was plugged in the breaker arcing wouldn't surprise me

Rick :

Heaters draw a fair amount of juice and a breaker or even a wall switch arcing is not unusual

Customer:

I'm sure the heater was plugged in. But I may have thought the vacuum was broken and tried it on another socket.

Customer:

So, the fact that the heater was still plugged in when I flipped the switch was the problem(?).

Rick :

It's not really a problem. Since you had an appliance that draws a fair amount of juice plugged it (a substantial load on the circuit) arcing would not be unusual.

Customer:

But if it were a failing breaker, what should be done?

Rick :

You should call an electrician to replace the breaker or at least check it out. If the breaker has tripped many times before it may need to be replaced

Customer:

Please excuse me if I seem thick headed, it's just that I don't recall whether or not I unplugged either appliance.

Customer:

Just one more dumb question, does that mean the whole breaker box has to be replaced, or just that one switch?

Rick :

If you're concerned about this you might want to call an electrician. But generally this is not a cause for concern. You may never have noticed but light switches routinely arc when they are turned on

Customer:

I guess I'll call an electrician then, only b/c I've never experienced a sparking (arcing?) in the past.

Rick :

It's worth it if it will give you peace of mind.

Customer:

Yes, thanks very much for your help.

Rick, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 13974
Experience: Licensed construction supervisor with 35+ yrs. experience.
Rick and 2 other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Rick replied 10 months ago.
You're welcome!

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