Why Does Your Electrical Outlet Smell Fishy?

Why Does Your Electrical Outlet Smell Fishy?

24 May 2023
 Categories: , Blog

If your home suddenly smells fishy, you may blame the odor on a dead animal, a plumbing leak, or an unclean trash can. Although dead animals, plumbing leaks, and dirty trash cans can give off foul odors, they don't normally smell like fish. A bad electrical outlet may be the culprit behind the fishy odor in your home. Learn why some electrical outlets smell like fish and how you can rid your home of the odor below. 

Why Does Your Electrical Outlet Smell Fishy? 

The materials used to make the insulation and other parts inside your electrical outlet contain special chemicals and coatings. The chemicals and coatings protect the parts from damage when you use them. If the chemicals and coatings become too hot, they release burning odors into the air. Some of the odors may smell similar to cooked or old fish.

Several things can damage your outlet over time, including overloading. Normally, you should only plug a few appliances or electrical cords into your outlet at a time. If you plug too many appliances or electrical cords into a single outlet, it places strain on the outlet's electrical circuit. The circuit will eventually become hot enough to trip the switches or fuses in your circuit breaker. The hot outlet may also give off a fishy odor.  

Poorly insulated wires can also affect your outlet over time. Insulation keeps the electricity flowing through your outlet from sparking or catching fire when you use it. Insulation also prevents the chemicals inside the outlet from entering the air in your home. If the insulation becomes too old, it won't keep the outlet from overheating and releasing odors into the air when you use it.

If you smell fish in your home every time you use a particular outlet, call an electrician immediately. A bad outlet can become hot enough to create a fire in your home. 

How Do You Fix a Bad Outlet?

An electrician will need to isolate the cause of your outlet's fishy odor. Some of the things an electrician may do is examine the wires inside your outlet. If the wires lack insulation, look fried, or seem in overall poor condition, an electrician will replace the wires as well as any other part inside the outlet that appears unsafe. 

If the wires appear fine, an electrician will check your circuit breaker for problems. Your circuit breaker should switch off once it detects a bad circuit in your home. However, the breaker that leads to your smelly outlet may be bad itself. In this case, an electrician will replace the breaker. An electrician may go ahead and replace the bad electrical outlet as a precaution.

Contact a service provider today to learn more about electrical repair.

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