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F.H. Furr's Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical Insider Blog

What Is A Short Circuit And How To Prevent Them?

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Short circuits are relatively common, but they can be dangerous and a warning sign of an electrical hazard, so it’s important to know what short circuits are and how to prevent them in your home! 

We’ve all experienced this at some point, or at least seen it in the movies; the power goes out, someone yells, “Must be a short, I’ll check the circuit breaker!” 

But, what IS a short circuit? 

A short circuit happens when an electrical current flows outside of its intended circuit with no resistance to the flow. A short is actually a safety measure, so when the wires get too hot, the circuit breaker trips, causing the flow of electricity to stop. So, while short circuits seem like a hassle, it really means your electrical system is experiencing an issue and has stopped the flow of electricity for your safety. If the current was able to continue its problematic flow, it could heat up and cause a fire.  

If you’re experiencing continued short circuits, there is likely an underlying issue with your electrical system. In addition to having an electrician take a look at your electrical system, here are a few simple things you can do to prevent short circuits:

1. Examine Your Outlets

One of the most common causes of short circuits is wiring issues. Loose connections, faulty wiring, and aging outlets can all cause shorts. Although diagnosing some of these issues can be difficult, there are a few things you can check your outlets for to determine if there’s risk involved. 

- Burn marks or burning smell coming from the outlet

- Popping or buzzing sounds from the outlet

- Sparks when you plug something into the outlet

- Outlet is over 15 years old.

2. Check Out Your Appliances

Sometimes the cause of a short is not the electrical system but the appliance itself. Be sure to check for damaged cords, cracks in the machine, or exposed circuits before plugging anything into your outlets.

3. Schedule An Electrical Inspection Annually 

Maintaining your home with a service plan from a trusted home comfort service company is important because they may find a problem that is not visible. Having your home comfort systems inspected once a year ensures function and safety, especially with your electrical system, as home electrical fires are common.

Electrical safety translates to the protection of you and your family. If you have questions about your home's electrical system, call on our expert electricians today! We're ready to serve you. 

Topics: Electrical Facts Electrical Safety short circuit Electrical Hazards