Understanding the ins and outs of a building’s electrical system, including common issues, is crucial for future electricians. A short circuit is a fairly ordinary problem that has a few different causes. However, there are also ways to fix and prevent this issue. Here’s what you need to know. 

What a Short Circuit Is

Electric circuits are paths where electricity is designed to flow. If the current only travels through part of the path, it causes a short circuit. This issue can be hazardous, as it often means that the current has found another electrical conductor that is not enclosed in the wiring system.

Different Types of Short Circuits

electricalA normal short circuit occurs when a hot wire carrying an electrical current comes into contact with a neutral wire. This allows the power to transfer to the latter, creating excess heat, sparks, or smoke. A grounded short circuit is when the hot wire comes into contact with a grounded portion of the electrical system. This does not normally lead to a fire risk, but it can create a shock hazard.

What Causes Them

Short circuits can be caused by insufficient insulation around wires, which allows bare wires to touch one another. They can also be a result of faulty wiring or loose connections, which lead currents to travel unimpeded to different parts of the wiring system.

How to Prevent Them

There are a few commonly used methods to protect against short circuits. Circuit breakers or fuses are designed to shut down a specific section of wiring if an irregular current is detected. There are also circuit interrupters, which turn off a specific circuit if the current is interrupted in any way.


If you’re interested in learning more about electrical work, contact Berk Trade & Business School in Long Island City, NY. This adult education institute specializes in helping students learn technical careers like electrical work and plumbing. In operation since 1940, the school offers flexible hours, small class sizes, experienced instructors, and financing options to suit the needs of a variety of students. Visit the school’s website to see a class schedule, or call (718) 729-0909 to speak with a team member.