The Shocking Truth About Electrical Faults

Electricity is an integral part of everyday life. When our home/office electrical systems stop working correctly, it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how to fix it. Don’t panic, though, because we here at Sunburst Electrical are ready to help, starting with breaking down all things electrical fault related. 

What is an Electrical Circuit?

Electrical circuits are the powerhouses of electrical equipment and systems, literally. Every circuit is made up of at least four basic components. If we consider a light fitting in our house, the circuit is powered by an external power source, in this case the power grid. The circuit converts the power into an electrical current which travels through the circuit along electrical wiring, called a conductor. The current activates any device attached to the circuit, in this case the light bulb. This results in what we call electrical load, which causes the light bulb to produce light. Every circuit has a switch which either maintains or disrupts the current’s flow through the conductor, allowing us to turn the light on and off.  

What is an Electrical Fault?

Electrical faults originate in the conductor, the electrical wiring within the circuit. An electrical fault is caused when electrical wiring malfunctions or deteriorates and the current’s natural flow through the circuit is obstructed. Faulty wiring is unfortunately a relatively common — and potentially extremely dangerous — problem many residential and commercial property owners have to manage. 

Signs of Electrical Faults

While it’s difficult to identify the specifics of an electrical fault without the aid of a trained professional, we can usually easily confirm the presence of a fault. These are a few of the warning signs that may indicate an electrical fault: frequent power trips, power dips, and/or flickering lights can be caused by current being disrupted by faulty wiring within a circuit and/or feeling electrical shocks or seeing bright flashes when touching or using outlets is also a sure sign of an electrical fault. 

Causes of Electrical Faults

Electrical faults and faulty wiring is usually the result of wiring being damaged in some way. The most visually obvious cause is physical damage to the wires such as wires being broken by nails or construction. Wires that are exposed to the elements and harmful environmental conditions, such as constant rain or lightning storms, are prone to corrosion and sudden power surges that overload the circuit capacity. Circuits can be overloaded in other ways, such as frequent loadshedding. Basic wear and tear also factors into electrical wire damage. Over time, and with frequent use, the materials within the wires will begin to deteriorate and will need to be replaced. This is the main reason behind recommending electrical wiring systems be replaced/upgraded every 20 years, whether there is evidence of a fault or not. The technology behind electricity has rapidly evolved over the last few decades and continues to evolve, making regular maintenance and upgrades standard practice.

Dangers of Electrical Faults 

Faulty electrical wiring is a significant fire hazard. Wires that are exposed, damaged, or loose can’t conduct the electrical current properly, making them prone to overheating. This excessive heat can cause an electrical fire, or even an explosion if certain accelerants or chemicals come into contact with the fire or exposed wires.

Our houses and belongings can also be damaged by faulty wiring in other non-fire-related ways. Faulty wiring can cause blackouts, power surges, , short circuiting of connected devices or machinery, and can even permanently damage the rest of the electrical system. 

Electrocution and electricity-related accidents are one of the leading causes of death in South Africa. Faulty wiring poses a significant electrocution hazard. When an exposed wire is still live (meaning current is still running through the wire), contact with any part of the body can cause serious harm, and can even be fatal in some cases. While many adults know to be wary of exposed live wires, children and pets don’t. Electrical faults should be fixed as soon as possible, but in the meantime, it’s extremely important to ensure any exposed wires are not accessible to children and animals. Ensure anyone coming into the affected space is aware of the possible dangers posed by the faulty wiring.

With load shedding being so frequent at the moment, faults can be aggravated and become more evident (and problematic) than before. Resist the temptation to do a DIY repair job, and rather play is safe by contacting qualified service professionals who are equipped to handle the dangers and complexities of electrical fault finding and repairs.

How Sunburst can help

Here at Sunburst Electric, our qualified service professionals are expertly trained to work as efficiently and safely as possible. We have specialised skills and equipment, and years of experience with fault finding. We will be able to troubleshoot the entire electrical system to identify any and all possible faults, suggest the best solutions to fix the problem/s, and offer the relevant repairs or upgrades necessary. 

Sunburst Electric offers free on-site quotes, and is a licensed and insured electrical service provider. Our service professionals work diligently and accurately to ensure the job is done the right way the first time. 

Contact us today and receive the best Expert Electrical Service available.

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