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Short Circuit Signs and How to Fix Them

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short circuit signs and how to fix them

Short circuits can range from problematic to devastating for your business. They can damage appliances, cause electrical shocks or even start a fire.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what they are, along with some short circuit signs so you can keep your premises safe.

What is a short circuit?

A short circuit refers to an electrical circuit with a low-resistance path. It occurs through a fault or accident, which allows electricity to pass through this low-resistant path, resulting in an excessive current.

In other words, it’s when a live wire comes into contact with a conductive object which isn’t supposed to carry electricity. Because electricity flows along the path of least resistance, the current will travel immediately through that object.

In most cases, a short circuit triggers a circuit breaker, stopping the current flowing. However, the initial surge of current can be enough to cause damage, whether that’s an electric shock to a person or a fire started from the high heat of excessive current on surrounding materials.

Short circuit signs

Short circuits happen in an instant, so there’s no way you can spot signs of them developing, per se. However, there are some signs that electrical installation is susceptible to a short circuit because of its condition.

Sockets or outlets

The first short circuit signs come from the outlets on your electrical system. That’s the sockets you plug appliances into. Faulty wiring or a loose box connection can be enough to cause a short circuit.

If you spot sparks or burn marks on or around your outlet, it’s a sure-fire sign that you shouldn’t be using it. Any sort of buzzing sound coming from the outlet is also a warning that it’s not in a good condition. You should also act with caution if outlets are older than 15 years.


Another sign to look out for is damage to your appliances. Short circuits can occur from wiring within the appliance too.

Look out for exposed circuitry, damaged wiring or cords, and cracks in the appliance itself. If you spot any of these short circuit signs, it’s best to avoid using the appliance (at least until a professional can check it).

How to fix short circuits

That brings us onto our next point – fixing short circuits. When you spot any of the issues above, you should stop using your appliances immediately and get a professional to check them. But in truth, the best course of action is to have them checked regularly enough so that short circuits are prevented altogether.

There are two very specific inspections for that purpose – EICR and PAT. EICR is a comprehensive check of the electrical installation to ensure everything is safe and compliant, while PAT looks at the appliances themselves, including a visual inspection and electrical tests.

Don’t leave it to chance

At Volta Compliance, we provide professional, reliable services for both Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) for businesses throughout Yorkshire. If you want to eliminate short circuit signs for good and keep your site safe, contact us as soon as you can on 0113 397 1361 or email [email protected]


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Richard Carr Volta Compliance
Richard Carr
Managing Director
Richard is the Director of Volta Compliance. He is a fully qualified approved electrician graded with the JIB. Richard has over 20 years electrical experience working on commercial and industrial installations.