Updated: Nov 20, 2020
I will call it a misnomer, it’s not actually a short circuit, but mostly a “valid exposed circuit” - a cumbersome name – so we will stick with the original widely recognized term.
When a current is flowing through the wire, a switch, a plug, or a device, heat is always generated. The devices are mostly well made and hence there is a little chance that they will catch fire. Household wires used are always chosen with care and all voltages kept in mind, though sometimes, old wiring is the culprit, most of the time, they seldom catch fire.
It leaves us with either the switches, plugs or the extensions we use. Believe me when I say that in all electricity fires more than 90% of cases are due to the faulty switch, plug, or extension and most of the time it is the latter.
Whenever you are trying to plug more than 1 device in the mains socket, make sure that the splitter used is powerful enough to withstand the heat generated by the use of 2 or more devices plugged into it. For example, a splitter made to be used for mobile chargers, TV input, etc., should not be used for high energy devices like toasters, microwave ovens, etc.
Then comes the plugs which we use in the sockets. Factory issued plugs with the devices are safe as they have already been adjusted to the power of the device, but whenever, they are replaced or a wire is screwed into it by you, make sure about 2 things, viz. whether the plug is suitable enough for the power of the device, secondly, the wires which are screwed must be tightly placed in and there is no chance that they have a slight movement between the screw.
50% of all electrical fires are because of the upper two, but the rest of 50% has another culprit, and you guessed it right – the extensions, we put in. They are used for two purposes; firstly to extend the device wire, secondly to make use of multiple plugs into one wall socket. Whatever the case, due to several reasons, they are really dangerous and if any of the following exists, there is always a 100% chance of having a fire, especially when left unattended;
The extension plugs are of lower quality and are not meant to be used for powerful devices that are being plugged in.
The wire used in extension is thinner and will generate a lot of heat when used for powerful appliances.
The plug of the extension is either of inferior quality or is not tightly plugged in the wall socket.
One of the plugs used in any of the extension’s sockets is not tightly plugged in.
How to avoid such accidents? Simple but clever, or should I say, be vivid and stylish and think about the major losses you will attain to the life and property:
Do not ever use a thin wire, a less powerful plug, loosely wired plug, or more plugs in one socket which is not equipped for that.
Never ever use high power appliances not meant for home use on the home wall sockets.
If the need may arise, use such an extension, which has all the sockets more powerful than the power of all appliances combine.
The wire and the socket of the extension must be powerful enough to withstand the heat of all the appliances used on it.
Always tightly plugged in the sockets. If the plug is loose, never use it. Either replace it or fix it. Don’t take chances. Electricity is your friend; don’t make it your enemy.
If you are not used to wiring a plug, wait for someone who can do this. Don’t be shy to ask for help, it’s in the best interest of all of those living in the same household.
Some points of caution, whenever you see sparks; buzzing sound in the plug or the socket, or any kind of light coming out of them, immediately unplug everything from the mains. Do not just get it going. It’s too dangerous. Never leave extensions working unattended, switch off the Christmas tree before leaving the house, or the musical instruments, which you and your friends were playing. Always be sure that all other household appliances are plugged in tightly inside the sockets, which cannot be switched off. Never let heat generating devices, such as heaters, high voltage bulbs, and Christmas lights working while you leave or sleep.
Let me know, if I missed something, be vivid and stylish. Ciao!