Short circuit accidents can cause significant damage to your electrical system and your building. Mostly, they happen if a low-resistance path, which is not fit for carrying electricity gets a high-volume electrical current.
This, in turn, can cause electrical shock, appliance damage, or a fire. So, if you don’t take the necessary measures to prevent short circuit accidents, you are increasing the chances of these accidents happening.
Types of electrical short circuit
Ground fault short circuit – this happens when a hot wire transmitting current comes into contact with a grounded part of the electrical system. This can be a bare ground wire, grounded metal wall box, or even a grounded part of your appliances.
Normal short circuit – this happens when a hot wire transmitting current comes into contact with the neutral wire. Whenever this happens, the resistance is drastically reduced immediately, and this causes a large current to follow through an unforeseen pathway.
Common causes of short circuit accidents
Faulty insulation of the circuit wire
When the insulation is old or damaged, it can allow a hot wire to come into contact with the neutral wire—and this will ultimately cause a short circuit. The age of the wire, screws, or nails can cause damage to the insulation, and this can eventually cause a short circuit. Besides, there’s also the risk of pests gnawing the insulation, thus exposing the wire conductors—which also causes a short circuit.
Loose wire connections
In the event there’s lose wire attachments or connections, both the neutral and live wires can come into contact. Whenever you see defective wire connections, never attempt to fix the problems on your own if you don’t have any experience in this area. What you need to do is to contact a professional electrician immediately.
Defective appliance wiring
When you plug any appliance to a wall socket, the appliance’s wiring becomes a part of your home’s electrical circuit. Thus, if the appliance wiring has a problem, it will extend to the entire circuit. According to the experts from Hartman’s Jacksonville appliance repair, short circuits can happen in the plugs, power cords, and even inside the appliance. Therefore, you must ensure that all your appliances are protected against short circuits to lengthen their lifespan.
So, how can you prevent short circuit accidents?
Check the power outlets before putting them into use
Behind each power outlet, there’s a box that has attached wires. Professional electricians can agree that some of the primary causes of short circuits are loose box connections, faulty wiring, as well as an old power outlet. While it can be a challenge to diagnose some of these issues, bearing in mind that they are concealed behind the walls, examining the outlets before putting them into use can help prevent short circuit accidents.
The following are some of the common signs that indicate a power outlet that has a potential risk of a short circuit:
- An outlet with a burning smell or burn marks
- Sparks coming out of the outlet
- Popping or buzzing sound coming from the power outlet
- Outlets that are over 15 years old.
Inspect your appliance before using it
Also, you must check your appliance before plugging them into power. As said earlier, faulty circuitry or wiring in an appliance can also lead to a short circuit. So, before using your appliances, ensure that you inspect them for the following signs:
- Multiple cracks in the appliance
- Defecting cords, wire, or cords
- Signs of exposed circuitry in the appliance
In case you see any of these signs in your appliance, consider having a professional assess it to check whether it can be repaired or not.
Minimize electrical usage in case there’s a storm
Lightning strikes are some of the leading causes of short circuit accidents. Thus, you should always use electricity whenever necessary if there’s a lightning storm. This will not only help in preventing short circuit accidents, it also helps in reducing possible damages in case of a power surge.
Conduct regular circuit breaker maintenances
Circuit breakers are essential features of any electrical system, as they protect against possible short circuits. Thus, you must perform basic and regular circuit breaker maintenance, to check whether they are functional and in good condition.
The following are some of the things that you should check:
- Loose fittings, cracks, or damages.
- Know what each circuit breaker controls. If possible, use a circuit breaker finder to check your breakers.
- Use a dry cloth to clean any dirty spots or stains on the panel and breaker. Besides, ensure that you keep your circuit breaker panel dry.
Schedule a professional electrical inspection each year
Most homeowners ignore this tip, and this is where most things go wrong. When you schedule a professional electrical inspection, you allow the technician to fully inspect your system. This, will in turn allow them to identify potential short circuits, and prevent them from happening. Besides, they will identify and resolve any problem in your electrical system.