If you observe sparks coming from your ceiling fan, you need to find out the issue and fix it sooner rather than later. The sparks can be a sign of a serious issue with your unit.
A ceiling fan could spark because of a short circuit in the wiring. Short circuits can affect the wires and cause them to overheat, spark and melt, which can cause a very serious fire hazard. Cut the power to the fan immediately and fix the issue as early as possible. A ceiling fan can also spark due to a burned-out light bulb.
In this article, you will learn more about why ceiling fans may spark and what you should do about it. in addition, this guide will also help you to understand the dangers of a sparking ceiling fan and how to handle them.
Reasons Why a Ceiling Fan Sparks
If your ceiling fan is sparking, you need to find out whether these are true sparks or just a bright flash and popping sound. This will allow you the understand the situation, it can be happening due to a burned out bulb, and in some cases, it could be a short circuit that needs immediate attention and professional assistance.
Burned Out Light Bulb
At times, a ceiling fan seems to spark when a light bulb has burnt out.
If your fan has an incandescent light bulb, the filaments fail when a surge of electricity emerges, as a result, it makes a popping sound and a bright flash before it burns out completely. You will be able to notice when a bulb will be burned out due to its popping sound and flash and it does it only once.
If this happens, you have to unscrew the bulb, see the wattage and replace the bulb with a new bulb that comes with the same watts. You need to ensure that you screw the new one firmly but not too tightly, you can flatten the tab in the socket by using a heavy hand that gives energy to the light.
You need to switch off the power to the fan before changing the light bulb to be safe. Turning off the power will keep you safe from the electric shock.
If you see true sparks coming from the housing of the fan and the light bulb also burns out, there is a great chance that you have a short circuit in the wiring. In this case, the breaker to the room will flip off, in this case, you should leave it as it is until you get professional help.
A short circuit is a result of two wires touching each other that should not, giving a new, shorter path for the power to travel. This new path downgrades the resistance to the flow of electricity, which causes more heat. This production of heat is the reason why a short circuit is called a fire hazard.
It is a professional task to fix a short circuit, as it includes the involvement of complicated electrical work alone. However, if you want to do it, you have to switch off the breaker in the room, take down the fan from the ceiling, and search for the wires that are blackened or melted.
In some cases, the exposed wires will be visible to you because of the falling-off cap which can result in worn wire insulation.
You’ll have to repair the wiring, reassemble the fan, and examine every light bulb socket for damage that may be a result of the short circuit. At times, the heat from the short circuit can fuse the light bulbs into the socket, if that is the case, you should get a professional to come to fix the problem.
Causes of a Short Circuit
Any of the following things can result in short circuits:
- Old or damaged wire insulation
- Loose electrical connections
- Household pets such as mice, squirrels, rats
- Old or broken appliances
- Outdated wiring (more than 40 years or older, often aluminum)
Generally, when wires get loose or frayed, the danger of a short circuit is increased. If you observe any broken or frayed electrical cord, you need to unplug it immediately so it may not result in a short circuit.
Why Short Circuits Are Dangerous
Short circuits can happen but they are very dangerous. When a short circuit happens, the electrical system of the home has a built-in protective reflex to turn off the breaker to that room. If you see a breaker is flipped off automatically, you should get a professional assistance and leave the breaker as it is.
Consequences of Leaving a Short Circuit Unfixed
If your short circuit remains unfixed, the heat resulting from the shorter path of electricity will build up and spread, more likely to put the house on fire. You need to keep the breaker to that room flipped off if there is a short circuit in your house, call a professional electrician to solve the problem.
Dangers of Fixing Short Circuits Yourself
“Every year, hundreds of people are injured or killed in the U.S. due to faulty DIY electrical repairs,” say the experts at Bonfe Basics. The risks include in this task are the risk of getting an electrical shock and the risk of leaving the wires in bad shape and causing a fire risk.
These repairs can be done by professionals with safety because they are familiar with the equipment and contain protective gear.
In most states in the U.S., you cannot alter or install the wiring in your house legally without getting approval from a licensed electrical inspector. It clearly shows that electrical repairs are a delicate issue and how seriously you need to take the risks of a poor electrical job.
When it comes to handling small appliances and fixtures such as ceiling fans, you have to be very careful and should get an expert.
You should keep your ceiling fans clean too.
If your ceiling fan is sparking, it may be indicating that you have a serious problem that is, a short circuit. You can take down the fan from the ceiling to look for the wiring to confirm that the wires are disrupted or melted, or simple you can get a professional when you first observe any spark. Whatever the case is, it is essential for you to turn off the power to the fan before you try to do anything.