Did you know that an electrical short circuit can leave you in the dark, damage your appliances and your home’s electrical system – and even cause fires, explosions, electrical burns and even fatal electrocution? Every single electric short circuit is a big deal – but what is a short circuit exactly, and is there something that can be done to fix and prevent them?

What causes a short circuit?

When you short circuit electrical systems, the key is in the word ‘short’. Basically, an electrical short is when the flow of electricity thinks it has completed its intended journey – but actually, that journey is shorter than was necessary. It happens when wires are damaged or work themselves loose, or when connections are unstable or faulty – the electricity leaves the intended circuit and takes a ‘short’ and terminal detour down an unintended and often hazardous path of least resistance. In the worst cases, the electrical flow is through something expensive, flammable, explosive, or susceptible to electrical damage – like the human body!

How to recognise an electrical short circuit

When your electrical system shorts at home, it’s pretty obvious. It results in either a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker/safety switch – often with no normal remedy simply by repairing the fuse or turning the switch back on. Sometimes, when you short circuit electric systems you’ll hear an audible and often loud and alarming POP.

Have you just experienced an electric short circuit? Bear in mind that safety always comes first, so the obvious precaution is always to turn your entire electrical power system off with the main switch at the source. What’s next? Bear in mind that ALL electrical work in Queensland and elsewhere in Australia must be done by a fully-licensed electrician. And then:

1. Can you isolate the circuit?

Your electrical power system is divided into various breakers that control the flow to certain outlets and appliances.

2. Check the appliances

If you know which circuit you’re dealing with, inspect the appliances that may have caused the short circuit. Unplug them and assess whether you can see:

  • Visible damage
  • Split cords/bare wires
  • Melted wire insulation
  • Smoke

3. Turn off the circuit

If you’ve identified the offending appliance or at least the relevant circuit, flick that circuit’s switch off or remove the fuse. That way, you will be able to safely restore power to the rest of your home.

4. Take steps for the future

How often do you inspect your meter box or switchboard? What about the physical condition of your appliances and power outlets? If you spot early signs of trouble, you can discontinue use for a repair or replacement.

Don’t let short circuits get you down

But the absolute best thing you can do in the event of an electric short circuit is to call Your Electrical Expert – your trusty local Brisbane & Gold Coast electricians. To prevent, repair and permanently remedy damaging and dangerous electrical short circuits, we use the best and most highly specialised equipment, years of hands-on experience and a friendly smile each time. Call Your Electrical Expert today for same-day service.