Electrical Safety Tips: How to avoid short circuits at home?

Residential Electrical Services

Short circuits can lead to very dangerous consequences if you do not act quickly or have the necessary safety systems. These are faults in an electrical line that normally originate because two opposite poles come into contact. This causes a discharge that the line itself cannot withstand and leads to the short circuit. But how to avoid short circuits at home?

The problem when a short circuit occurs is that if you do not have an insulating cover, it can cause a real risk. The most dangerous thing in these cases is that a fire is caused due to the sudden rise in temperature.

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A series of recommendations can be followed in order to avoid a short circuit at home.

  • Disconnect electrical appliances that are not going to be used immediately.
  • Plugs and cables should not come into contact with water and other liquids, as well as ensure that they are in good condition, changing those that are not in good condition.
  • Keep the electrical services and installation of your home or building in good condition.
  • Try to place the plugs in spacious places without being covered by furniture.

Where can short circuits occur?

The situations in which short circuits can be caused are different and that must be taken into account to avoid short circuits at home:

  • Bad joints
    In many cases we need to make an electrical connection. In this case, and in order to do it in the best safety conditions, they must be carried out by professionals and following the technical regulations for electrical services and installations.
  • Low-quality appliances
    In electrical services and installations there are also components that have low quality. As in everything, although they are cheaper, the poor quality of their parts can cause short circuits.
  • Devices with high electricity consumption
    Some appliances are more likely than others to suffer a short circuit and, in this case, special care must be taken with appliances with high electrical consumption. For example, in washing machines or refrigerators, short circuits can be avoided by correctly dimensioning of the electrical protections and installing different conductors.
  • Defective appliances
    Sometimes the short circuit is not caused by the electrical circuit itself, but it is the device itself that causes it by not working properly. In this case, either the electrical system of the appliance can be changed or the appliance completely replaced with a new one.
  • Distribution panel
    The state of the electrical panel should also attract our attention. The fuses must be in perfect condition since their correct operation will depend on whether or not a short circuit occurs.
  • Contact with water or other liquids
    If an electrical circuit comes into contact with a liquid, which is usually water, it is very common for a short circuit to occur. A flood can be one of the causes.

How to act before a short circuit?

As in any situation of risk or danger, in the event of a short circuit it will also be very important to remain calm and follow the essential safety rules.

The first thing you should do is check the electrical panel. As a general rule, it is usually at the entrance of the house. You must check if any switch is disconnected. In this case, and after locating the part of the house that regulates that switch, it will be convenient to disconnect all possible appliances without manipulating plugs, simply turning off electrical appliances and appliances that have a switch. 

Finally, once the electrical devices have been disconnected, in the general panel, activate the general switch again and if it remains connected, what would have caused the short circuit would be one of the electrical devices that had been turned off.

In the event that the switch continues to trip, the fault is most likely due to the general wiring of the house. In this case, it is recommended that you contact a professional and avoid breakdowns that may cause further damage.

In order to avoid any of these problems, it is best to have periodic reviews of the electrical services and installation of the home.

But there are times when a short circuit can even cause fires and in this situation you have to be much more careful. Here are some recommendations to act in the event of a fire caused by a short circuit:

  • Call the fire department.¬†First of all, notify your fire service professionals.¬†Provides as much information as possible so that your action is as effective as possible
  • Lower the leads.¬†Deactivating the electrical panel by cutting off the power will be very important to prevent it from spreading to other devices that may be damaged or overloaded.
  • Small fire.¬†If the fire is very light, it may be possible to put it out by covering it with a blanket, if it is fire retardant, better.¬†This will remove the oxygen it feeds on.
  • Important fire.¬†In this case of a short-circuit fire, it is best to use a CO2 or dry powder extinguisher.¬†Both are not conductors of electricity and are the best resource in this case.

On the other hand, among the things NOT to do in the event of a fire caused by a short circuit are:

  • In the face of an electrical fire, what you should not do is never extinguish it with water, since the risk will increase. Due to its conductivity, it can cause an electrocution.
  • Class A fire extinguisher. In no case will we use a Class A fire extinguisher, which are water extinguishers, since as we explained in the previous case, they can cause an electrocution.

At Powered Electrical Services & Data, we are prepared to help you with everything you need both in the electrical installation of your home and in your company. Contact us and we will help you.

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Nancy Garg