Troubleshooting an Electrical dead short

Items you will need:

• A partner

• A voltage tester

• Screwdrivers

• Electrical tape

Because an electrical dead short can be dangerous if not taken care of immediately, it’s important to act fast, but responsibly. Although it seems to be a difficult job, you should be able to repair the problem using the following tips.

1. The first thing you must make sure you do is turn the breaker OFF and leave it on off until you need to turn it on again. Failing to do so can be fatal.

2. Dead shorts are often difficult to locate, so you will need the help of another person. You need to determine which area of the house is affected by the power loss due to the breaker being tripped. You can do this by monitoring the lights in the rooms and by using the voltage tester in each of the outlets.

3. When you locate the affected area, check the outlets, switches and light fixtures within the area, looking for any burns or scorch marks. Typically when a dead short occurs, it creates sparks shooting out of the outlet or switch, leaving behind traces of darkened scorch marks.

4. If you’ve checked all outlets, switches and fixtures and still can’t find the source, have one person stand in the area of the power loss while the other goes to the electrical panel. Make sure you can clearly hear each other well.

5. When you’re both ready, reset the breaker, and it will instantly trip. In the area where the electrical dead short is located, the person standing should hear a “pop” sound. Based upon that sound, he should be able to locate the exact area of the electrical dead short by examining the outlets and switches in the area of the “pop.” Leave the breaker OFF.

6. With the exact area determined, you can make any repairs needed. With the switch and/or outlet replaced, reset the breaker again. This time it shouldn’t trip. Go back and double-check the surrounding outlets for power.

7. Because some electrical dead shorts can be very difficult to find, you may want to call a licensed electrician to help if you cannot locate the problem quickly. Avoid resetting the breaker numerous times, because this could blow the electrical dead short open, leaving an open feed in your walls. Electrical dead shorts can be easily repaired if found quickly, but they are also dangerous. If you have an electrical dead short, but do not feel comfortable working with electricity, call an electrician immediately.

Additional Tips
• When replacing a switch or outlet, be sure to make secure connections. Use tape to cover terminals.
• If you’ve had a dead short that didn’t trip the breaker on subsequent attempts, don’t assume that it’s fixed. Call an electrician for further investigation.
• Be sure to leave the circuit OFF when working on it. Leave a note on the breaker box to make sure no one else resets the breaker.

About Chris Brown

CEO / President of Fence Supply Inc. in Sunnyvale, Texas, Chris has traveled the world to provide our customer with the most diverse selection of fence products. His passion is creating solutions for the fence professional and solutions to enhance the outdoor living experience for our customers. Chris, a Baylor University graduate; "sic ‘em bears!", currently resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife Amy and their two boys.

  Fence Supply Outlet   Featured Articles   Personal Advisers  
  Save up to 50% off regular price   Browse articles & reviews by category   One-on-one help from an expert  
Shop By Brand   Video Library   Online Support Center  
  The best names   Watch our experts evaluate the latest   Find answers, 24/7, 365 days a year  
  Shop Specials   Installation Guides   Support by Phone  
  Check out the latest deals!   Get step-by-step installation guidance   We're here 6 days a week: 1-888-201-2564  
Credit Card Merchant Services
SSL Certificate Authority
SSL Certificate Authority



Additional Info

Tech Support

About Fence Supply

Chain Link
Gate Openers
Access Control

Farm & Ranch
Video Surveillance
Deck & Patio

Store Location
Contact Us
Go Green! Re-use & Recycle Outlet

Free Lifetime Tech Support
Installation Guides
Learning Center

Our Story
The Fence Supply Team
Community Outreach
Careers at Fence Supply Inc.
Latest News & Press