How to Find a Short Circuit or Overload
A short circuit takes place when a hot wire comes into contact with a neutral or ground wire. The breaker trips or a fuse blows because of the extra current which flows through the circuit. Short circuits could occur due to electrical problems in residential circuits. Some of the causes may be faulty wiring, too many connections, wall switches or cords with defects or even defects within the appliances.
Sometimes it may be possible to identify overloading of the circuit, because the lights just go dim, but it is not easy to find out exactly what has triggered it. In order to find out the problem the best thing is turn off all wall switches and disconnect all lights and appliances. Then the circuit breaker should be reset by putting the lever off and then on again.
A blown fuse should be replaced immediately with a fuse of the same amperage rating. It is important that the circuit breakers and the fuses should correspond to the size of the wire which is used in the circuit. If there is an immediate trip again, the receptacle or switch of the circuit breaker may be having a problem.
If there is no trip, put on one switch at a time, and check whether it affects the breaker. When you put on a switch and the circuit breaker trips again, the short circuit is possible in a receptacle or fixture controlled by the switch.
Again, if the switch is functioning properly, the problem may be present in one of the electrical appliances operated by the switch. So, when you connect the appliance and the circuit goes dead, there is something definitely wrong in the cord or plug. Even the appliance could be causing the problem, and hence needs to be checked properly.
If the problem persists, or if you are unsure about the source of the circuit break or overload, it is best to call a professional electrician to thoroughly check your home electrical system. This could save you hours of futile detective work as you try to track the cause of the electrical problem at hand, and it is also far safer once in the hands of a qualified technician.