If your home is experiencing electrical problems, you will want to get the situation taken care of as quickly and efficiently as possible. Finding a professional electrician to help should be your top priority whether your house has wiring problems or an electrical short. This guide will explain everything you should know about electrical shorts in your Atlanta home.
What Is an Electrical Short?
An electrical short is when electricity travels through a path that it is not supposed to. It is an unintended connection that causes the flow of current to be interrupted. It happens when wires are damaged or there is a fault in the insulation used on wires. If this happens, there is no longer any resistance to the flow of electricity, so it keeps going until it finds another path.
For instance, when this happens in your home, it can cause severe problems like fires or electrocution. The best way to prevent an electrical short is by having your wiring inspected by a professional electrician every few years.
What Causes an Electrical Short?
Here are the leading causes of an electrical shortage.
Improperly Installed Wires
Wires not installed correctly can cause a short when you place pressure on them. In some cases, wires may have been installed incorrectly from the start, possibly due to poor workmanship or improper materials.
Wire or Electrical Tape Damage
This might happen if the wire is bent or has been moved, if it gets caught on something, or if you accidentally cut through the insulation while stripping it. The cause of this damage can also be due to using electrical tape to repair a wire, which should be avoided. If you have any issues with your wiring, you must call a professional to fix them immediately before they cause more problems.
Electrical corrosion is a problem that can occur when there is an electrical short. The short causes electricity to build up, which then corrodes the wire, causing it to break. It happens because of moisture and oxygen in the air. The moisture combines with oxygen and creates rust on the metal surface. Then, rust leads to a break in the wire, which results in an electrical short.
Loose Electrical Connections
This might happen when wires become loose and touch each other, causing a short circuit. The most common cause of loose connections is corrosion from water, which can damage the metal connectors inside the wires.
Another possible cause is a broken wire or a wire that has been cut. This can happen if you cut through a wire while working on your home’s electrical system.
Faulty Electrical Outlets
Faulty electrical outlets are a common cause of electrical shorts. Outlets can become faulty when they are overloaded, damaged, or corroded.
A faulty outlet can send an electric current to a metal object, such as a screwdriver, which will then conduct the electricity to another ungrounded object. It can cause an electrical short and start a fire.
A Bad Ground Wire
A lousy ground wire is a primary cause of electrical shorts. The ground wire is the one that runs to a house’s main power box and helps to protect against electric shock.
If the ground wire is frayed or damaged, it can lead to an electrical short. Worn-out or damaged wires also tend to spark when installed, which can start a fire.
The Excessive Electrical Load on a Circuit
An excessive electrical load on a circuit can cause an electrical short. The most common causes of this are the use of extension cords, old or worn-out wiring, overloaded power strips, and faulty appliances.
Poor Quality Wiring in the House
In most cases, the cause of an electrical short is due to poor quality of wiring in a house. It can lead to wiring that is loose, corroded, or frayed. It is essential to have your home inspected to ensure that all of your electrical outlets and switches are correctly wired. A qualified electrician can help you to identify issues with your wiring and make necessary repairs.
Types of Electrical Shorts
The most common types of electric shorts include:
- Ground fault short circuit – This occurs when there is an unintended path for electricity to flow through the ground wire and into the circuit breaker.
- Arc fault or open circuit – An unintended path for electricity to flow through two or more wires in parallel creates an arc that can cause damage to equipment and property. This type of short circuit can also lead to a fire if left unchecked.
- Overload short circuit – When an appliance or device draws too much current, it causes an overload. It can lead to overheating and damage to your electrical system.
Signs of Electrical Short
You may be wondering what some warning signs are of an electrical short. Some of the most common red flags are detailed below.
The Lights Flicker
If you notice that the lights in your home are flickering, it could be a sign of an electrical short. Electrical shorts are caused by loose wires and can lead to power surges and other problems. If you notice flickering or dimming lights, it is essential to call an electrician sooner rather than later.
The Lights Dim and Brighten
This is a clear sign of an electrical short somewhere in your home. If this happens often, too much electricity might flow through the wires, which can cause them to overheat and melt. The solution is to invest in some surge protectors to keep your electronics safe from harm or call an electrician to check out your wiring.
Fuses Blow Frequently
The most common sign of electrical shorts is when a fuse blows. The fuse is a safety device that protects the rest of your system from damage, so it is a good idea to check it regularly. If you notice that your fuses are blowing more often than usual, you might have an electrical short somewhere in your system.
Fuses Blow Without Anything Plugged In
Fuses blowing without anything plugged in is a sign of an electrical short. Electrical shorts occur when two wires touch each other, and the electricity gets redirected somewhere else. It can happen because there is dirt or corrosion on the wires or if they are old and brittle. Fuses are designed to stop the flow of electricity when they blow, so if you notice that your fuse has blown, it is a good idea to call an electrician.
How To Prevent an Electrical Short
Here are the ways how to prevent an electrical short.
Inspect Your Wiring
The best way to prevent an electrical short circuit is to ensure your wiring is up to code. Inspect your home’s wires and ensure they are adequately insulated and connected. Look for loose or frayed wires, cracks, or exposed metal. If you see any of these problems, call a professional for help.
Always Use a Qualified Electrician
Always use a qualified electrician to install and maintain your electrical system. The wrong type of wire or improperly installed wiring can lead to a fire or electrical shock. A professional should check your wiring regularly, especially if you add new lights or appliances.
Look for Warning Signs
Look for warning signs of electrical issues. Red flags include burned-out wires or frayed insulation on the wires. If you see any of these signs, shut off power to the circuit and call a professional immediately.
Upgrade Your Panel Box
If your house or business has an outdated electrical panel box, it is time to replace it. Old panel boxes can overheat and cause fires, so ensuring you are using the right equipment is essential.
If you want to check whether your panel box is up to date, ask a professional electrician to inspect it. They will be able to tell if any problems with your wiring may need attention.
How Can Atlanta Homeowners Fix Electrical Shorts?
The first thing to do is call a professional and have them assess the situation. Your local electrician will tell you whether it is safe to repair the short on your own or if you must work with a repair technician.
If you need to call an HVAC technician, ensure that you explain your situation in detail so that they know what kind of problem needs fixing and the kind of tools that will be required.
Need Help With an Electrical Short in Atlanta?
Stopping an electrical short is a severe matter in Atlanta, so professional help is necessary for the job. Qualified electricians from Arc Angel Electric will come out to your home or business as soon as possible and get things repaired quickly. The team at Arc Angel Electric also provides remodeling, electrical service and repairs, home enhancements, troubleshooting, energy-efficient lighting solutions, lightning surge suppression, and more. Our professionals will walk you through each step of the repair process and answer any questions you may have. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Arc Angel Electric today.