An electrical short, in the most basic terms, is what occurs when an electrical current goes down a new pathway rather than continue to cycle through an electrical circuit. An electrical circuit is a pathway for electricity to travel that has been engineered to direct the electricity where we want it to go in order to provide our homes with energy. An electrical short, otherwise called an electrical short circuit, happens when a new pathway is introduced to an electrical circuit and the positive electric energy follows that new pathway. Electricity is very predictable; it will always seek the shortest and fastest pathway toward the ground. If a conductive material comes into contact with a live electrical circuit, and it is a shorter or direct pathway to the ground, the electricity will jump to that pathway. This can lead to a very serious and dangerous situation if the new conductive electrical pathway just happens to be a person or if a person comes upon the new electrical pathway unawares.
What Causes A Short?
An electrical short circuit occurs when any new pathway is introduced to an electrical circuit and then follows that pathway. Some common occurrences that result in electrical short circuits in residential and commercial properties are:
- Faulty or Improperly Installed Wiring- In this age of DIY everything, many people try to take on electrical wiring jobs that are really best left to professionals. This can result in short circuits in electricity.
- Out-Of-Date Wiring- The wiring in older homes and buildings needs to be updated in order to handle modern electrical appliances. Older wiring such as knob and tube, can result in frequent electrical shorts.
- Damaged Wiring- All electrical grid wires will degrade over time and are prone to damage from the elements, dust, renovations, or vermin.
- Damaged or Old Electrical Appliances- Damaged wiring in old or out-of-service electrical appliances can also result in electrical short circuits.
Are Short Circuits Dangerous?
Yes, short circuits create a potentially dangerous situation. Not only do they create an opportunity for electrical shocks that can be deadly, but short circuits also create a lot of heat that can cause electrical fires. Electrical house fires accounted for more than 6% of the residential fires between 2014 and 2016 but electrical fires tend to cause more property damage than the average house fire. This is because electrical fires tend to start within the walls of your home and can smolder and go undetected until the flames have spread. This is why electrical short circuits should be fixed by a licensed professional electrician immediately.
Are You Experiencing A Short Circuit In Your Home?
We can help. Our licensed professional electricians can help identify the cause of an electrical short circuit and take the steps to carefully correct the problem. Contact us HERE for more information.