Electrical Fault Finding
Electrical faults can be caused by a number of factors within the workplace including damaged wiring, faulty components, and poor installation. The first step when identifying an electrical fault is to determine whether the fault is causing any immediate danger, then identify what the problem is so that it can be fixed. Throughout this blog we’ll discuss ways you can identify potential electrical faults within your workplace and how you can manage them before an electrical problem arises.
What Causes Electrical Faults?
Electrical faults are unfortunately quite common. Some faults are human error, whilst others can be systemic but either way, can lead to serious electrical issues in the workplace. Sourcing electrical faults is vital for ensuring the safety of your workplace and employees/colleagues.
Some electrical faults may include:
- Overloaded Circuits – Common within workplaces who use computers or appliances such as offices, schools, and department stores
- Stifled Wiring – Wires should have approx. 30mm of space between them in the mains electrical box to prevent damage
- High Voltage Appliances – Appliances that use a higher voltage need to have their own source of electricity rather than being connected alongside other items
- Loose Connections – Connections within the main panel should be installed securely by your electrician at the time of inspection
- Poor Installation – If the wiring has been installed poorly within your workplace your employees/colleagues are at potential risk
How can I prevent electrical faults in my workplace?
Developing a safety checklist within your workplace is the ideal way to regularly check your electrical systems and appliances. Having employees create an electrical fault report, and follow a checklist ensures your workplace is being regularly monitored and whether any electrical faults need to be addressed by an experienced, qualified electrician.
Simple things to avoid include:
- Don’t overload power boards
- Don’t just ignore tell-tale signs of faults arising
- Ensure liquids are kept clear from electrical sources
Electrical Fault-Finding Process
There are several steps to take when finding an electrical fault. Fault finding can help you to identify any problem circuits and allow you to return electricity to the non-faulting areas. Following these electrical fault-finding techniques to help ensure your workplace and everyone in it is kept safe from electrical incidents occurring.
Turn All Circuit Breakers Off
To safely find an electrical fault, turning all circuit breakers off is a vital first step. Circuit breakers are designed to shut off the flow of electrical currents to outlets for safety reasons. By switching off the circuit breakers, you are removing the risk of electrocution whilst you source the issue.
Turn the Main Safety Switch On
Now that you have switched off the circuit breakers, you can turn ON the main safety switch allowing electricity to return. However, the individual circuits are turned off so you’ll find your appliances and fixtures will not work just yet.
Turn Each Circuit Breaker Back On
When switching circuit breakers back on, the most important step is to do this one at a time. Yes, this may take a little time, but it will help you to identify where the fault is.
Identify the Faulty Circuit
Whilst you’re returning power to each circuit, you’ll find there may be one which doesn’t want to work and will switch back off again. This identifies the faulty electrical circuit you are having trouble with and that there is a component within the circuit causing the issues you’re facing.
Turn All Switches Off Again
With the faulty circuit identified, you must now return to switching all circuits off again to a neutral position of no power supplied.
Turn the Electricity Back On
You’ve managed to identify the circuit causing the issue, you can now start to return power to the other circuits previously switched off so your appliances and fixtures can once again be used. Ensuring you leave the faulty circuit switched off, start turning the other circuits back on one by one and return the power to your workplace.
Call a Fault-Finding Electrician
Now that you have identified the faulty circuit and turned it off, it’s now time to call a professional electrician. Until the faulty components have been repaired, this circuit must remain unused to ensure the safety of your workplace and employees.
Reach out to our team at KNP Electrics during this step and our friendly team, can help resolve any issues.
What is Meant by Open and Closed Circuits?
To define an open circuit and a closed circuit very simply, draw a circle with a pencil on a piece of paper. Whilst this drawn circle is complete, it is considered a closed circuit as there are no gaps. If you were to erase a section of the circle and create a gap, this would be considered an open circuit as now it’s not a complete loop.
The same concept applies with electricity when we think of a lighting circuit and a switch as an example. When the light switch is turned on, the electricity can flow around ‘the circle’ without any interruptions. When the light switch is turned off, it is as if you’ve ‘erased’ a section within ‘the circle’ stopping the electricity from flowing through to make the light work.
Circuit breaker act like light switches in this case. When it detects an electrical fault, it trips/automatically switches off and creates an open circuit to stop the flow of electricity in this circuit.
A short circuit is how it sounds, electricity travelling through a shorter circuit than intended. For example, if there is an electrical fault in your workplace and somebody encountered it, their body would become the ‘short circuit’ for electricity to flow through, which you certainly do not want. Short circuits are typically only recognisable in the moment they occur, however can be easily avoided with using the steps above to identify any issues and rectifying them before any fatal incidents occur.
The best way to prevent electrical faults from occurring within your workplace is to develop and establish a regular electrical maintenance plan. Provide your employees the comfort of knowing you prioritise their safety at work by developing an electrical maintenance plan with KNP Electrics.