What is short circuiting? An electrical short circuit is a dangerous event that can occur when too much current flows through a conductor, causing it to overheat and potentially start a fire. In this article, we will discuss what can cause a short circuit, how to prevent them, how to know if you need a new switchboard and what to do if one occurs.
What is a short circuit?
A short circuit is an electrical circuit that allows current to flow through it without providing resistance. This can happen if there is a break in the conductor, or if the conductor comes into contact with another conductor, such as a metal object. When this happens, the current can flow freely through the circuit without being impeded, which can cause it to overheat. This can lead to a fire, as well as damage to the electrical equipment and is one of the common electrical hazards that can lead to fire.
What causes a short circuit?
What can cause short circuits? There are a few different things. One is if the conductor, such as a wire, becomes frayed or damaged. This can happen if the wire is not properly insulation or if it is exposed to too much heat. Another reason for short circuits is if the conductor comes into contact with another metal object. This can happen if the conductor is not properly secured or if there is a fault in the equipment and/or electrical wires. Finally, a short circuit can also occur if there is an interruption in the circuit, such as a power outage (potentially from a lightning strike).
Types of short circuits
The two most common types of short circuit problems are the classic short circuit and a ground fault. A faulty wiring system interrupts the electrical current in some manner, here is a summary of both types:
Neutral wires being pulled into contact with a hot wire is the most typical problem with this circuit. The resistance drops rapidly, and a significant quantity of fluid will flow in another direction at the same time. Sparks, crackling sounds or flames may develop as a result.
A ground fault occurs when a live wire that is carrying current come into touch with the system’s grounds. A bare copper ground wire, for example, might make contact with the grounded component of a device or a grounded metal box. The resistance decreases, allowing more voltage to flow in a different path. The risk of fire is not as great but there is a considerable risk of electric shock.
How to prevent short circuits?
There are a few different ways to prevent electrical short circuits. One is to make sure that the conductor is properly insulated and not exposed to too much heat. Another way to prevent short circuits is to secure the conductor so that it cannot come into contact with other objects.
Finally, you can also install circuit breakers or fuses in the circuit so that if a short circuit does occur, the flow of current can be interrupted. When circuit breakers senses a fault, they immediately shut off the supply to the electrical system. These are usually installed in your fuse box.
How to repair a short circuit
When a circuit breaker trips, it typically means that the specific electrical circuit has been broken. If a short circuit is discovered, follow these steps:
- Examine the main service panel to figure out where the tripped circuit is. A light might be red or orange if an individual circuit is disabled. If your circuit breakers are well labelled, you might be other to see the name of the room or area (such as Kitchen) that was tripped. Don’t turn the circuit back on, leave it off whilst working through the other steps.
- Check the appliances that are plugged into any outlets which connect to the circuit that tripped. Safely unplug any suspected devices. Turn the circuit breaker back on, if it doesn’t trip again you have probably found the cause of the short circuit.
- If the circuit breaker still trips with the appliance unplugged, turn off all the lights and other appliances. Turn on the circuit breaker and ensure it doesn’t trip again. If it doesn’t turn the lights and appliances back on, one by one, to determine the culprit.
- Contact Finnley Electrical – your local qualified electrician if you would like this and any other electrical system work handled by a professional.
What to do if a short circuit occurs?
If an electrical short circuit does occur, it is important to take action immediately. First, you should turn off the power to the area where the short circuit occurred. This will prevent any further damage from occurring. Next, you should call an electrician to come and assess the situation. They will be able to determine the cause of the short circuit and make any necessary repairs. Finally, you should have the area inspected by a fire safety professional to ensure that there is no risk of fire.
Short circuits can be dangerous and cause extensive damage, but if you are aware of the risks and take proper precautions, you can prevent them from occurring. If a short circuit does occur, take action immediately and call an electrician to assess the situation.
Neutral wire, hot wires, loose wire connections, bare ground wire, loose box connections, faulty appliance wiring…these can all be part of complex issues that we recommend you engage a professional electrician such as the friendly team at Finnley Electrical to help. Give us a call today.