27 October, 2023

What is an electrical short circuit and how can it affect your home? The easiest way to describe a short circuit is that it is an interruption of the normal flow of power. This causes a power surge which can result in the wires being overloaded and in extreme cases it can lead to fire. 

In this article, we are going to look at the different types of short circuits, what causes them, and how you can keep your home safe.

What is an Electrical Short Circuit?

Let’s look at types of short circuits, there are two main types. These are normal short circuits and ground fault short circuits. The first type occurs when a hot wire comes into contact with a neutral wire. This causes the power to flow unpredictably.

The second type occurs when a hot wire supplying current comes in contact with the grounded area of a machine. In most cases a grounded metal box.

What Causes Electrical Short Circuits?

A short circuit can be caused in several different ways including:

  • Incorrect wire installation: This may allow live and neutral wires to touch.
  • Loose wires: Neutral and live wires may touch.
  • Wrong application wiring: This can cause circuit issues.
  • Old and broken installation: There may be an area where the wire is uncovered and the neutral and live wire touch.

If live wires are allowed to touch, this causes a short circuit. All machines must be fitted with short circuit protection for added safety.

Types of Short Circuit

Normal short circuit: This occurs when the hot wire carrying the current comes into contact with a neutral wire. This makes the resistance decrease immediately. It will shoot a significant amount of the current in the opposite direction. 

Ground fault short circuit: This happens when the live wire comes into contact with a grounded system. Usually a metal box. Other examples include bare ground wires and ground area applications.

  • What is used in an electrical circuit to prevent a short circuit? Fuses are the best option to prevent short circuits. If the circuit is overloaded the fuse will prevent the line from shorting out.
  • How to prevent short circuits? Unplug all electronics when you aren’t using them, install fuses, install Magneto-Thermal Switches, and install grounded outlets.

How to Prevent Short Circuit?

  1. Inspect your outlets regularly and look for any loose connections or damaged wires. If your outlet is more than 15 – 25 years old it can have an increased probability of problems.
  2. Look for faulty wiring or cracks in the wires. If you identify any issues these should be fixed immediately. It is better to replace the wires completely. 
  3. Be sure not to overload your sockets by plugging in too many things at once. An overloaded circuit can easily catch on fire.
  4. Be aware of the weather, especially when it comes to lightning strikes. Try to avoid using electricity during lightning storms to avoid power surges.
  5. Use devices such as fuses, circuit breakers, poly switches, or resettable fuses to prevent power surges. Other preventative measures include installing lightning protection. This device is constructed from a metal oxide varistor (MOV) this device functions as a discharge tube. 

ESD: Leading Supplier of Electric Circuits

When faced with an electrical short circuit it’s best to call in the experts. 

ESD is one of the leading providers in the Northwest for all your circuit breakers and other electrical equipment needs. They carry all the most popular brands and are experts in the field so they can assist you with any questions you may have.

Don’t wait until an electrical short circuit causes damage to your home. Make sure the latest technology protects you. Keep your home and family safe by calling ESD today.