Short circuits are one of the most serious types of electrical hazards that can cause some significant damage to your entire electrical system. They occur when a high-volume electrical current is passed through a low-resistance path that is not designed to carry electricity. In the language of a common man, a short circuit happens when any of the hot wire develops a connection with a conductive object, which shouldn’t happen at any cost.
A short circuit can easily cause an electrical shock, a severe appliance damage, or even dangerous fire. The severity is not only for homes and offices but a single severe short circuit can even burn an entire neighborhood. So if you don’t take serious preventative measures to avoid these short circuits, the likelihood of mishaps will increase and cause dangerous events.
Many experts advise homeowners to take steps to prevent short circuits, and we’ve listed a few of the top ones below.
1. Check Outlets Before Use
Behind each outlet is a box with wires attached. Faulty wiring, loose box connections, and an aging outlet are all common causes of a short circuit. Although, we totally understand that detecting and diagnosing such problems is a challenge. This is due to the fact that they are completely hidden behind the walls. But you can definitely help prevent dangerous short circuits by inspecting the outlets prior to using them.
There are several indicators that your outlet may be at risk of a short circuit:
- The outlet has burn marks or emits a burning odor
- The outlet is making a buzzing or popping sound
- Sparks are being emitted from the outlet
- The outlet is very old, approximately 15 to 25 years old
If any of these signs apply, stop using the outlet and contact the professional without any second thought.
2. Check Appliances Before Use
Just like with outlets, you should inspect your appliances before plugging them in. Short circuits can also be caused by faulty wiring or circuitry built into the appliance. Especially if you don’t use a high-quality electric box, chances of severe damage are significantly increased.
Check appliances for the following signs before each use:
- Cords, casing, or wire that have been damaged
- The appliance has several cracks
- The circuitry in the appliance is visible
If you observe any one of these signs in your electrical appliance, it is highly recommended to either dispose of the product or call a professional urgently to get it repaired.
3. Reduce Electrical Usage During Storms
Do you know what’s the most dangerous way for a short circuit to happen? It’s when lightning strikes. This is because of the overwhelming amount of electricity which can cause some serious damage. During a lightning storm, we recommend limiting your electrical usage to only what is absolutely necessary. This not only helps to prevent short circuits during a storm, but it also helps to mitigate the damage caused by a power surge.
4. Perform Basic Circuit Breaker Maintenance
Your electrical system has short-circuited protection in the form of circuit breakers. When electrical currents are deemed unstable, these components in your electrical panel shut down, with each one connected to a different circuit. It is highly recommended to perform a few of the basic circuit break maintenance. It will ensure that they operate in the right manner. We’ve included a few pointers below:
- Examine each circuit breaker for any signs of damage, cracks, or loose fittings.
- Understand which circuits each breaker controls. We recommend that you use a circuit breaker finder.
- Remove any dirt stains or spots from the breaker and panel (only use a dry cloth for this).
- Contact experts for circuit breaker services if you want to improve the maintenance of your circuit breakers.
5. Schedule an Electrical Inspection Annually
Electrical inspections, like doctor’s appointments, should be performed at least once a year. This enables an electrical professional to conduct a thorough examination of your electrical system. In this way, the short circuits can be easily identified and can be prevented at the right time.
Also, the professional will be able to provide cost-effective solutions to future problems or current problems. Electrical inspections aid in the maintenance of your wiring, outlets, and other electrical components.
6. Protection Against Overloads
Overloads can be either short-term or long-term in nature. It is important to ensure that you choose a protective device that never gets tripped in both the cases; on normal momentary or short-term overcurrent events. It must protect the device without any interruption.
As their internal power supply and filter circuits begin to operate, electronic devices, for example, may generate inrush currents. These inrush currents typically last only a fraction of a second and are rarely a source of concern.
Other Minor Steps to Avoid Short Circuits
Here are some of the other minor but important steps that can be taken to prevent short circuits.
Unplug Electronics When Not in Use
This is one of the most straightforward methods for preventing short circuits in your home. Many of your home’s electronics, you see, will continue to consume power even when they are not in use.
Simply check to see if the light or clock on your DVD player or other device is still turned on. It will indicate that your device is still on and it is consuming power in its standby mode. As a result of this, a short circuit can occur because of overloading.
Fuses interrupt the flow of current when it exceeds the amount designed for by the circuit. As a result, you prevent a short circuit. Installing fuses is a good way to avoid short circuits and the damage they can cause.
Install Magneto-Thermal Switches
These switches function similarly to fuses in that they protect against power surges. They continuously monitor the current load and interrupt the electrical supply when it exceeds a preset limit, preventing short circuits.
Have Grounded Outlets
Having grounded outlets will greatly help against short circuits. Furthermore, if they are connected to internal short circuit generating devices, the chances are decreased significantly.
There are several UL standards covering circuit breakers, safe and high-quality scondar connectors, and other protective devices for use in a wide range of equipment types. All you need to do is carefully select the right product to save significant money while also providing protection tailored to that application.
The better option you have is to let the experts do more research to select the appropriate device. Given the potential savings, it’s most likely time well spent.