What is a Short Circuit?
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The most common cause of short circuits is worn insulation around wires.
Isn’t electricity a great thing? It powers just about everything in your home from light bulbs and appliances to the remote on your television. Quite often we forget how much we rely on electricity until a short circuit or a stormy night knocks down a power line and you are left in the dark.
Electricians must go through a rigorous apprenticeship for a reason – faulty or incorrectly installed wiring can mean big trouble. As we all know, electric power works on a circuit.
If for any reason that circuit is interrupted allowing a current to travel down an unintended path that is called a short circuit.
In high power situations, this can produce catastrophic results. Around the home a short circuit can be dangerous, not to mention rather harmful to your electric appliances and electronic devices. The most common cause of a short circuit in the home is worn insulation around wires allowing contact were it shouldn’t happen.
You can cut the risk of damage to your appliances and electronics by using some very simple yet effective methods. Try unplugging electronics when not in use. Many of your electronics are still using power even when you have turned them off. Have you noticed that even when you turn off your VCR (if you still have one) or your DVD player, a light or clock it still on? That means you still using power even though the device is turned off probably 95 percent of the time. The same goes for your computer. Even in standby mode, if there is a light visible on the computer it means power is still being used.
When it is time for movie night, take moment to examine the power cord and look for cracks, especially where the cord enters the plugs. This is a common place for short circuits to occur. Older homes are especially prone to electrical faults.
Ensuring you have grounded outlets is an inexpensive way to reduce risks – especially when it comes appliances that develop an internal short circuit. Eventually all older homes will need to have electrical wiring upgraded to avoid potential problems.
If you are a home owner who is serious about safety and home energy efficiency, a home energy audit will provide you with information on where and how energy is being lost in your house and which electrical systems are operating inefficiently or may be a hazard.
A certified RESNET Home Energy Auditor will do an assessment of your home using strict standards and guidelines to provide you with the information you need to ensure your home is safe, energy efficient, and comfortable. After all, the best time to find out you have a short circuit is before it happens.
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