Short circuits are a pretty frequent issue in home electrical systems but they can become serious issues if left unresolved. While most short circuits aren’t dangerous, in the right circumstances, short circuits can result in dangerous electrical shocks or house fires.

What Is A Short Circuit?

When two wires, conductive surfaces, or other forms of conduit, touch when they aren’t supposed to it can cause a small surge of electrical voltage. The electrical energy wants to travel along the ‘shortest’ path and will ‘jump’ onto the new pathway causing a shortage in the original electrical circuiting.  This can cause damage to the wires, conductive surfaces, and any electrical appliance connected to the circuit with the electrical shortage.

The resulting electrical surge from a short circuit can also lead to harmful electrical shocks and house fires. There are two main types of short circuits that occurs.

  • Typical Short Circuits- when a live wire touches a neutral wire the resistance of the electrical conduits goes down. It allows for electricity to surge through the circuit, resulting in a short circuit.
  • Ground Fault Short Circuits- occurs when a live wire touches a grounded part of the system, creating a new electrical circuit and a short circuit.

What Are The Main Causes Of Electrical Short Circuits?

There are three leading causes of electrical short circuits that are common in homes. While common occurrences, a short circuit needs immediate attention to prevent damage, potential fires, and deadly electrical shock. The three most common types of household electrical short circuits are:

  1. Improper Wire Insulation– This can occur for a number of reasons including old and failing wiring, pest-related damage, or improper installation of electrical appliances.
  2. Loose Wires or Connections– Sometimes wires or connections can come loose with time. This can cause a live wire to come in contact with a neutral surface and result in a short circuit.
  3. Faulty Wiring in Appliances– Faulty or damaged wiring in appliances can frequently occur in older appliances but can occur in an appliance. Short-circuited electronics can become dangerous if you continually try to use them.

Signs Of An Electrical Shortage

There are several signs of electrical short circuits that you can keep an eye out for. Most short circuits result in obvious physical damage.

Electrical Fire

Signs of electrical short circuits include the following:

  • Smells of burning plastic or a “hot” smell
  • Black or brown marks around outlets
  • Blackened or frayed electrical wiring
  • Buzzing or zapping sound around outlets or electrical appliances.

Are Short Circuits Occurring in Your Home?

Do you think that you’ve experienced an electrical short circuit in your home? The good news is that this issue is pretty standard and a professional electrician will be able to sort it out in no time. Contact us HERE for more information about getting a professional electrician out to your home today.