November 28, 2022 3 min read

Whether you’re in a residential or a commercial building, it goes without saying that the electrical structure is critical. It is through this electrical structure that you can enjoy things like heating, water, lighting, and much more. So, it goes without saying that this structure needs to be kept in top shape.

Considering how many appliances are in a building, it is important to ensure that your electrical system is always in good condition. And one of the biggest challenges that could affect it is the short circuit.

While a short circuit has several causes, there are also simple ways for you to avoid it altogether. In this article, we’ll examine what a short circuit is and how you can prevent it.

What is A Short Circuit?

In its simplest terms, a short circuit happens when a high passage of electrical current goes through a wire or circuit system. Depending on the energy intensity, this power output can be just a bit above normal or way too much.

This sudden increase in current overwhelms the wire and the entire circuit fails, causing the outlet to stop working.

As explained, a short circuit happens when the current that passes through the appliance and into the socket is higher than they’re capable of handling. This excess current is eventually transformed into heat, and the wire ends up melting.

For this to happen, several causes could be in play. It could be a general lack of information, no attention being paid to the circuit, or poor maintenance of the building’s electrical system.

Identifying A Short Circuit

Short circuits usually give off a few signs when they happen. Thus, it is easier to find possible fault areas around your building. Some of the signs you can look out for include:

  • Black or brownish spots along sockets
  • The smell of burning in your appliances
  • Quick-burning lamps
  • Sudden power outage
  • Blown fuses

Your next step will be to check the point causing the short circuit. Know the installations and outlets that are in each circuit - types of spade connectors there, the socket’s electrical rating, etc. From there, the fixing can be easier.

Preventing A Short Circuit

As they say, prevention is much better than cure. This is why most experts recommend that you take steps to ensure you never even have to deal with one in the first place. Here are some steps you can take to ensure this:

Disconnect things you’re not using

One of the most basic ways to prevent a short circuit will be to disconnect electrical devices when they’re not in use.

Short circuits and power surges tend to happen unexpectedly. And as much as you can prepare and take the necessary steps, there are times when these things catch you off guard. To protect your devices at the very least, ensure that they are turned off and disconnected when they’re not in use.

Examine outlets before use

When you look at every outlet, there’s usually a box of wires behind it. Faulty wiring is one of the biggest causes of short circuits, so be sure to check out the outlet’s wiring to see that it is of good quality.

Is the red male connector properly fixed with the red female connector? Is the spade connectors kit properly placed? Questions like these are important to know before you use the outlet. You also want to keep an eye out for certain warning signs:

  • Outlets with weird smells
  • Sparks coming out of the outlets
  • Buzzing sounds emitting from the outlets
  • Old outlets (usually up to 15 years old)

Be more careful during storms

One of the biggest causes of a short circuit is lightning strikes. The massive amount of electricity can lead to some significant damage, and that’s not a situation you want to be in.

To wit, we recommend cutting your use of electrical appliances during a storm or heavy rain. Besides preventing short circuits from happening during the storm, it also helps to reduce the damage done in the event of a power surge.

Schedule an electrical inspection

Besides all the steps mentioned above, you would also need to have a professional look into your electrical systems at least once a year.

Electricians are professionals who are experienced in matters surrounding your electrical systems. And while you can take precautions, they are more experienced and knowledgeable than you are. So, schedule an inspection and let them go through your entire building’s electrical systems.

Besides checking for signs of a short circuit, an electrician can also help to guard against problematic wiring connections. They ensure that yellow male connectors match yellow female connectors, that your connection systems are up to code, and that any risks are properly being mitigated. All in all, this is one important task you want to get done at least annually.


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