An electrical short circuit occurs when an electrical current flows where it isn't supposed to flow, for example, when a live electrical wire comes into contact with a plumbing metal. Short circuits increase the risk of electrical fire, electrical shock and damage to electrical wiring and appliances. Here are some of the reasons your home may experience a short circuit.
Damaged Insulation on Wires
Electrical conductors are usually enveloped in conductors to prevent current leaking and flowing through unintended paths. Therefore, damage to insulation can cause current to flow through an unintended path, which is the definition of a short circuit. For example, a pet or pest can chew on your electrical extension cable and cause the hot wire to come into contact with the neutral wire. Another example is when the insulation on an aging wire deteriorates and allows electricity to flow to other areas.
Loose Electrical Connections
Apart from insulation damage, loose electrical connections can also lead to short-circuiting. For example, when the electrical wires taking electricity to a lighting fixture is not firmly tied in place, the wire may wiggle and touch other parts of the fixture it shouldn't touch. Another example is when the ends of the wires in an electrical junction box are not tied firmly in place, allowing them to touch one another.
Faulty Electrical Repairs
You have probably heard that it's not advisable for novices to engage in DIY electrical repairs. This is true, and one reason for it is that DIY repairs increase the risk of electrical short circuits. This can happen when you use the wrong wires, wrong tools or wrong methods during your repair. For example, using an electrical cable that is not meant for a hot environment near the heater can cause a short circuit when the cable's insulation gets deteriorated by heat.
Defective Electrical Plugs or Outlets
Lastly, your electrical system may also suffer a short circuit if the electrical plugs, outlets or appliances are defective. For example, some fake electrical outlets and plugs come from their manufacturers with defects that create the perfect conditions for a short circuit. Consider the example of an electrical plug where the electrical wires within the cable have weak insulation that deteriorates faster than they should. Using such a cable for only a few months can result in a short circuit when the insulation completely deteriorates.
Using genuine electrical materials, maintaining your electrical system and appliances, and fixing electrical damages are some of the things you can do to minimize the risk of electrical short circuits. Consult an electrical company like Powell's Electric Service, Inc. if you suspect a malfunction in your electrical system.