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Diagnosing Electrical Problems

Typically, you discover you have an electrical problem when you turn on a lamp or appliance and it won't work. When that happens, the source of the problem may be the device itself, faulty wiring connections, an overloaded or a short circuit.


Overloaded circuit

A circuit becomes overloaded when there are more lamps and appliances on it than it can safely handle. When all the lamps and appliances are turned on, the wiring overheats and the fuse blows or the circuit breaker trips.


Short circuit

A short circuit occurs when a bare hot wire touches a bare neutral wire or a bare grounded wire (or some other ground). The flow of extra current blows a fuse or trips a circuit breaker.


Helpful Diagnostic Hint

Plug fuses provide a clue to what made them blow

  • An overload melts the bridge.
  • A short circuit blackens the glass.
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