Has this happened to you? You pop something into the microwave to heat, then the appliance turns on and immediately goes dark. Unless the GFCI outlet has tripped, the problem is likely an electrical short. Whether it’s in the actual electrical circuit or in an appliance’s wiring, shorts are always irritating and can sometimes be dangerous.

What Is an Electrical Short

Simply put, electricity flows along the circuit to power up devices like lamps, appliances, and phone chargers. Upon powering, if a “hot wire” is contacting a neutral or ground wire in an electrical outlet or appliance, it completes what’s called an electrical short. The excess current flows through the circuit for a short period until the fuse blows or the circuit breaker clears the circuit. The overflow of current can lead to damaged appliances or even a fire.

Causes of Electrical Shorts

  • Aged Wiring: When wires age, they can deteriorate and become a safety hazard.
  • Damaged Wire Insulation: The wires within your home and appliances are insulated to prevent contact, but if the insulation is damaged you could have a short. Damage can come from natural wear and tear or pesky rodents.
  • Incorrect or loose wiring: If wiring is loose or installed incorrectly, wires are more likely to touch – creating a short.

How To Tell If You Have an Electrical Short

  • A burning odor near an outlet
  • Discolored spots or burn marks around a outlets
  • A circuit breaker tripping more frequently over time
  • A circuit breaker tripping instantly when power is applied

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you likely have an electrical short and should investigate.

If You Suspect a Short

Vintage Electric’s electricians have the knowledge, skills, and tools to identify and fix your electrical issue, all the while keeping you and your family safe in the process. Call for a whole house check-up today. 760.775.0135