What You Need to Know About Preventing Short Circuits
People generally think of electrical short circuits as any wiring problem within an electrical circuit. However, it’s a specific issue with compromised electrical circuit wires or wire connections. This happens when electricity strays outside its pathways to a shorter distance, creating an imbalance in the system. It can cause anything from general power problems and circuit damage to appliance fires or explosions.
How does an electrical short circuit happen?
Electricity’s nature makes it want to return to a balanced state, which means that its current will want to flow through its wiring circuit. It travels from the service panel and back to the utility wires to keep a consistent flow. However, if there are interruptions with its path, such as loose or broken wires, the electrical current will leak. This is why short circuits can electrocute people or even cause fires and explosions.
The reaction of an electrical short circuit occurs when a live current touches a neutral wire. The difference in resistance creates an unexpected pathway that causes crackling, smoke or sparks.
What causes electrical short circuits?
Since short circuits happen due to external damage to your wiring, taking care of your hardware is crucial to preventing these electrical issues from happening. Listed below are three typical reasons for short circuits.
1. Improper circuit wire insulation: Damaged insulation can cause your hot wires to touch and cause a short circuit. It generally happens to old or broken wires from pests, such as rats or mice. Nail and screw punctures can also cause the wire casing to deteriorate.
2. Faulty installation of appliances: When plugging appliances to your wall socket, it becomes an extension of your home’s electrical circuit. This means that any complication in the appliances’ wiring can become a circuit issue for your entire house. Older machines generally experience wear and tear with their different parts, from their plugs to internal wiring.
3. Loose and broken wires: You can have this issue on your appliances over time. However, it can also happen during improper installations. Although it’s easier to fix smaller appliances with their wiring issues, you should let professionals handle heavier equipment, like heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVACs), along with dishwashers.
How do I prevent short circuits from happening?
Short circuits can pose a serious health risk if you don’t install the necessary preventative measures. It can cause fires, explosions and lethal electrical shocks on contact. Listed below are three ways you can protect your home from short circuits.
1. Know when to use your circuit breaker: Homes generally have a circuit breaker to control its internal circuits. It uses compressed air to break circuit connections when it senses irregularities in the system, like interruptions from short circuits. This is helpful when restarting your electricity or turning it off to perform repairs and replacements safely.
2. Installing Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs): Like circuit breakers, GFCIs sense changes in the current flow to shut down your system. However, it reacts faster since it has more sensitive receptors to stop ground-fault short circuits from damaging your home’s circuit before they occur
3. Installing Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI): Sparks from short circuits are major fire hazards, especially since it’s close to flammable hardware. An AFCI anticipates short circuits to avoid arcing from metal contact between conductors. Instead of preventing shock like GFCIs, AFCIs protect your home from fires due to sparks.
You must know how to protect your home from the many potential dangers it can experience, both from external and internal sources. Being attentive about your appliances and electrical wiring will prevent you from experiencing the numerous risks from short circuits.
The best way to prevent short circuits is to have experienced technicians diagnose your home’s electrical wiring. If you need appliance repairs in Melbourne, Victoria, our qualified experts can help maintain your household. Book us today to experience our affordable flat-rating pricing that fits within your budget.