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Every home or business has its own electrical needs, and a short circuit can be a massive inconvenience. If you use more electricity than your system can handle, a short circuit can occur, knocking out your power. 

Keep reading to find out exactly what a short circuit is and how to fix it. 

What is a Short Circuit?

The first step is to understand what short circuits are and why they occur. 

Short Circuit: What is it?

A short circuit means the electrical current took a shortcut. The electrical current follows a new path. But this causes an overflow of electricity because the path was not established.

When the electric current comes in contact with this new path, it’s often a hot wire meeting a neutral wire. As a result, your electrical appliances turn off. 

A ground fault circuit occurs when the current takes a path leading to a grounded object. Ground fault circuits are less likely to cause accidents like fire since the electrical current ends in a grounded object or ground wire

Short Circuit: How to Find It

Somebody flipping a black switch in a white circuit breaker

A short circuit can lead to blown fuses, tripped breakers, or a popping sound when you turn on the appliance. Look for these signs to help you determine if the problem is a short circuit and what repairs may be necessary. 

Step 1: Isolate the Circuit by Identifying the Tripped Breaker

Circuit breakers are safety devices intended to prevent overheating. When you have a tripped breaker, it means too much electricity flowed through the system, posing the risk of overheating. To prevent this, the breaker shuts off the current. 

If you experience continuous breaker trips, you likely have too many devices using electricity from that one breaker. 

Step 2: Check the Appliances and Unplug Any Damaged Ones

If an appliance has smoke coming from it or any melting elements, consider it damaged. Additionally, it is likely the cause of the short circuit. 

If all appliances appear to be in good shape, you may just need to unplug them all to reset the breaker. Or you may have fuses to replace. 

Step 3: Check the Light and the Appliance Switches (While the Circuit Breaker is On)

Plug each appliance into the outlet to ensure they work. A malfunctioning device could be the culprit. 

How to Fix a Short Circuit

An electrician working in a large circuit breaker

Once you locate the short circuit, it’s time to call an electrician for professional electrical repair. If you can’t find the problem, it’s also time to call an expert. 

An overloaded circuit and electrical repair, in general, can be risky. Call a professional rather than risk injury or disaster. 

Short Circuit: How to Prevent It?

No one wants to deal with a short circuit or electrical system failure at any point. Here are some tips so you can avoid the situation altogether. 

Do an Occasional Electrical Inspection

You should frequently check up on your electrical wires, fuses, appliances, junction box, outlets, and overall system. Look for signs of damage and cease use if anything is melted or frayed. 

Fix Faulty Appliance Wiring

An electrical fire originating from an outlet on a white wall

A short circuit occurs in an appliance when too much electricity goes to the appliance. The device can’t handle that amount of electricity and short circuits. 

Any defect brings about short-circuiting either in the appliance itself, the plugs, or the power cords.

Fix Faulty Wire Insulation

Wire insulation is crucial to electrical systems and controlling electrical currents. If wires are not insulated, the electrical current flows freely rather than following designated paths to appliances and outlets. 

Many things can compromise wire insulation, such as electrical stress, mechanical damage, vibration, and excessive heat or cold. Dirt, oil, corrosive vapors, moisture from functions, and humidity are other common culprits. 

Fix Loose Wire Connection

Multicolored electrical wires pulled from a socket in a white wall

Loose connections are dangerous because they can move around and detach from their terminals. In the process, newly exposed hot wires could cause a fire. Wires can loosen over time or from being moved around roughly.


Remedying an electrical short may seem easy, but you need to be aware and cautious at all times. Electrical faults pose serious hazards like disastrous fires that can destroy properties. 

Prevention and caution are your best tools to avoid damage to your home or business. If you need any help with short circuits, contact U.S Electric today!