What is the cause and prevention of an electrical fault?

What is the cause and prevention of an electrical fault?

Trying to understand why your electricity doesn’t work in a storm? Or perhaps you were startled by a sparking outlet?

Electrical faults are a complicated issue and there are many types and causes for them.

Electrical faults should only be attended to and resolved by an emergency electrician.

Along with most other electrical problems, power faults are one thing you can’t fix on your own under any circumstances.

Apart from being extremely dangerous, they are tedious to fix. So instead of trying to inspect the problem yourself, call Plateau Electrical. We provide a range of electrical services, and will ensure power is restored to your home quickly, and most importantly, safely.

When do faults occur in a power system?

An electrical fault is a broad term to describe a disruption in an electrical circuit. This can happen for a number of reasons; some of the most common may include:

  • High voltage
  • Under voltage
  • Unbalanced of phases
  • Reversed polarity (incorrect wiring)
  • High current
  • Over current

The distribution of a power load is referred to as the “phase.”

An electrical fault can happen within a single home, in a street, or can be from a major electrical power network supply, affecting an entire suburb or region – faults of this size are referred to as a power outage.

Electrical faults can be suburban or they can be a fault solely between you and your laptop.

If you find yourself in one of these situations or in any in between, you should contact an electrician in the Northern Beaches because even if your laptop starts working again as normal, the fault may have already caused damage to the outlet.

The disruption can happen due to the defection of any element in the electrical circuit, such as:

  • Wires
  • Power Outlets
  • Lights
  • Water ingress
  • Old Wiring
  • Vermin Damage

What are the causes of faults in a power system?

The defection of the elements in the circuit will halt the regular pathway for an electrical circuit, causing an overall fault.

The fault could cause a bad electrical connection, intermittent electrical connection, a complete loss of electricity or start a combustion reaction like fire, smoke or an explosion.

The causes for an electrical component to go haywire can have a variety of sources, such as:

  • Animal contact
  • Wind causing components (like a powerline) to come undone
  • A tree or other object contact
  • Lightning
  • Human error
  • Low power lines
  • Rust/ionisation

What are 4 types of faults?

An electrical fault will either be from an open-circuit or from a short-circuit; they will also be either symmetrical or asymmetrical.

The complexity and range of these circuits indicates that you should outsource an expert to conduct electrical repairs in the North Shore and Sydney.

1. Open-circuit faults

An open-circuit is when the two terminals in the circuit are not externally connected, therefore there is an infinite amount of resistance and no flow of current between the two terminals.

Open-circuit faults often occur from joint failures of cables, overhead lines, or failure from a melting fuse or conductor.

2. Short-circuit faults

A short-circuit is the opposite of an open-circuit in which the two terminals are externally connected and there is zero amount of resistance.

Short-circuit faults are more common and more serious than open-circuit faults. They can cause serious damage to equipment.

These faults occur because of insulation failure of the conductors, or melting of insulation or animal contact.

3. Symmetrical faults

Symmetrical faults (or “balanced faults”) are when an open-circuit fault or a short-circuit fault is affected in all three phases equally. Symmetrical faults are rare compared to asymmetrical faults.

Symmetrical faults are the most dangerous and can have the most severe effects as there’s a greater accumulation of a current and electrical potential.

4. Asymmetrical faults

Asymmetrical, unsymmetrical, or unbalanced faults are more common than symmetrical faults. They occur when a circuit has only two phases which are both disrupted. Both phases are not affected equally.

What devices are put in place to prevent an electrical fault?

There are a few electrical fault finding devices that are incorporated in circuits to detect when a fault will happen. These devices automatically and instantly turn off your power supply to protect from the electrical fault itself.

If you experience a power outage “due to an electrical fault,” it will most likely actually be from these devices such as circuit breakers turning off your power.

Because alternatively, your power would be turned off by the outage which could damage your devices and equipment.

Therefore if an electrical fault does occur, it will also be because of a lack of a preventative device, a faulty one, or one that has failed to detect the fault.

Circuit breakers

Electrical circuits will normally have a circuit breaker, the breakers are put in place to detect a power fault or power tripping and the breaker will automatically turn off your power to protect your home and your devices.

They are the most common fault protective device.

A fuse

A fuse is a safety device that turns off power when it senses an overcurrent. This works by a metal strip on the outside that will melt from the heat of an overcurrent and trigger the circuit to shut down.

Safety Switch

A safety switch is the number 1 protection device involved in preventing electrocutions or shocks. They are now mandatory on every single circuit (although many homes older than a couple of years still have unprotected circuits).

electrical repairs in the North ShoreLighting arrestor

Lighting arrestors (or surge protector) are devices specifically built in to detect lightning that’s struck a transmission line or equipment.

Lightning-caused electrical faults can create fires so arrestors are crucial in protecting your home.

Who do I contact about electrical faults?

Plateau Electrical is ready to take your call 24 hours a day!

Anytime of the day or night, we’re here for you when you need it most.

If you want to make your home safer and less susceptible to faults, then modify your electricity by incorporating breakers or other fault-ceasing devices.

You can also book an electrical safety inspection with us too!

Call Nick and the team anytime on (02) 9982 8668. For less urgent matters, you can get in touch with us online – simply fill in this form.