What Is an Electrical Short?

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Electricity powers nearly everything in our Sunshine Coast homes, and is extremely beneficial. However, when not handled with care, electricity can cause a lot of damage.

An electrical short is one of the most dangerous things that can happen when dealing with electricity, and unfortunately is also one of the most common. In this post, we’ll discuss what an electrical short is, how it happens, and what you can do to prevent it.

What Can Cause a Short Circuit?

A short circuit is when an electric current flows down the wrong or unintended path with little to no electrical resistance. It can cause serious damage, fire, and even small-scale explosions. Short circuits can be caused by:

  • Vermin or pests chewing through wires
  • Water or other fluids coming into contact with electrical wiring
  • Loose connections in an electrical box
  • Old or damaged outlets, switches, lights, appliances, or other electrical devices
  • Nails or screws piercing through walls and coming into contact with wires
  • Deterioration of electrical cable sheathing
  • Build-up or surges of electricity

Types of Short Circuits

There are two main types of short circuits: normal and ground.

Normal: In a normal short circuit, a powered or hot wire touches a neutral wire. Immediately, resistance drops and the current begins to move on another path.

Ground Fault: 

In a ground fault short circuit, a powered or hot wire touches a grounded section of a box, device, appliance or anything else supplied by the electrical circuit.

Why Short Circuits Are Dangerous

As we mentioned before, short circuits are extremely dangerous. They can cause fires, damage to your home or office, and even serious injuries. 

When the human body is introduced as the path of least resistance, the current travels through the body, causing serious burns, internal damage, and even death.

Preventing Short Circuits

The best way to prevent a short circuit is by regularly inspecting your electrical system for any signs of wear and tear. If you find any loose wires, outlets, or switches, make sure to have them repaired or replaced as soon as possible. If you are unsure about anything, it is always best to call a professional electrician.

Check Appliances Before Use

Short circuits can also be caused by faulty wiring or circuitry from the appliance itself. Before every use, check appliances for damaged cords, casings, wires and exposed circuitry.

Reduce Electrical Usage During Storms

Heavy rains and severe weather can also lead to short circuits. If a storm is brewing, try to reduce your electrical usage as much as possible. Unplug appliances that aren’t being used and avoid using power-hungry devices such as hair dryers, ovens, and irons.

Perform Basic Circuit Breaker Maintenance

Your circuit breaker is designed to shut off power in the event of an electrical overload or short circuits. But over time, circuit breakers can become worn out and no longer function properly. We recommend you practice some basic circuit breaker maintenance to help ensure their function. 

Let the Experts Help You 

While you can take some measures to prevent electrical shorts, the best way to ensure your safety is by working with a professional electrician in Sunshine Coast. The team at Synergy Trades Group are experienced and certified electricians and are here to help you with all your electrical needs, big or small.

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