What’s the difference between a short circuit or ground fault and do I need to know? You may have heard the terms short circuit or ground fault used and wonder what they mean to you and your electrical system. If you have a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker, you may have a faulty breaker, a short circuit or ground fault or a problem with one of your appliances.
Why Does My Circuit Breaker Trip?
If you have a fuse box or circuit breaker box, it is put in place to protect you and your home from too much electricity. Circuit breakers or fuses are designed to work with a certain amount of electricity or AMPS. When that amount is exceeded because too much electricity is required, the fuse will blow or the breaker will trip to off. For example when you have a 20-amp fuse and your appliance starts using 30-amps you will exceed the amount of electricity and your circuit breaker will trip or your fuse will burn out.
Short Circuit or Ground Fault
What Is A Short Circuit?
A Short circuit is when a wire gets exposed or is open to touch another wire. When the wires are connected wrong or insulation wears away so that wires touch, you can end up with a hot wire touching a neutral wire and this can result in a short circuit. Often you’ll see a spark or smell smoke. Sometimes you cannot detect where the problem is. Your electrician can help determine the cause of the short circuit and rewire any areas that have trouble. A short circuit will draw more electricity and cause a short. Sometimes the hot wires melt the insulation on the wires and could potentially cause a house fire.
What Is A Ground Fault?
A ground fault occurs when the hot wire is exposed and touches either the ground wire or it touches metal in the junction box or in the appliance. For example if your air conditioner compressor has a ground fault it means a wire in the compressor broke and is touching the sides of the unit. This will also cause a surge in power that will trip the breaker or blow the fuse. Another term for ground fault is a short to ground connection.
What Should You Do If Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping
If you notice a problem with your circuit breaker, you need to have it checked out. The circuit breaker is there to keep you safe and notify you if there’s a problem. Sometimes the only problem is a loose wire at the circuit breaker box. Other times, you have either a short circuit or ground fault causing the breaker to trip or the fuse to blow. Your electrician at Rose Brothers & Sons Electric can help you determine where the problem is and make the necessary repairs. Rose Brothers serves the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area and we are ready to help you with all your electrical repairs.