Can a Burned Wire Conduct an Electric Current?


The National Fire Prevention Association considers faulty wiring the main cause of residential fires; an example of faulty wiring is burned wires. Burned wires can cause many problems to your house and devices.

The main reason for flickering devices or light bulbs is burned wires. Burned wires must be handled as soon as possible, as the more you wait, the chances of the burned wires starting a fire hazard or even destroying the whole circuit and the connected devices.

Can a Burned Wire Conduct an Electric Current?

A burned wire could still conduct electric current if the oxidized layer (burnt layer) is only on the surface. This means that the wire underneath this layer is either a continuous piece or metal strands connected to each other; therefore, they will conduct electric current properly. 

Damaged wires can still conduct electricity, but they will have higher resistance, and if the wire’s insulation is the only burnt part, it’s no problem. Because the conducting part, which is the metal part, will not be affected by the insulation and will continue conducting electric current.

The only reason a burned wire does not conduct an electric current is that the metal part gets disconnected or broken down. This can happen when the temperature rises above the limit of the metal and it melts down; this can cause the wire to stop conducting electricity. 

What Happens if You Use Burned Wires?

Burned wires can cause many problems to your home electric system; for example, if you have a light fixture that can be turned on, light bulbs are burned out faster than they should, or light bulbs are flickering. These all can be caused by a burned wire in your wiring.

Another hazardous result of using burned wires is house fires; burned wires can lead to fire hazards. The main problem is that you can be using a burned wire without even knowing you are. 

How To Avoid Burned Wires?

Burned wires are tough to detect, so it’s better to avoid their causes from the beginning. The causes of burned wires can be loose connections, misuse, abuse, or circuit overloading. Each of the mentioned causes can be responsible for burned wires problem.

  • Loose Connectio7ns

A loose electrical connection can be considered the main thing responsible for burned wires. This problem starts when the wires connected at the back of receptacles are not properly wrapped at the terminals found in the receptacles. The terminal’s job is to anchor the wires so they stay in place; therefore, they get loose when wires are not wrapped.

When wires are not wrapped around the terminals, this is known as backstabbing; the backstabbing is the main reason wires get loose. Loose wires can cause the wires to get burned and may start a house fire.

  • Misuse and Abuse

Misuse and abuse of electric cords can be another reason for burned wires; for example, you want to start decorating your house during the holiday season. This means you will be using decorative lights to light up your yard. As a result, you will need to use an extension cord to be able to connect the lights in the yard to electricity.

If the extension cord is placed in an area where people are stepping on it or moving things over it, this will cause some problems. Stepping on an extension cord can impede the flow of electricity, which typically creates a bigger resistance. A bigger resistance means the wires will overheat, which can cause the wire to burn out.

  • Overloaded Circuits

Any electric circuit is designed to bear a certain amount of heat when you overload an outlet by applying too much load. This can increase the heat generated by the outlet, which will directly affect the circuit; therefore, the circuit’s breaker should interfere. Circuit breakers are responsible for tripping when they sense any overload on the circuit.

However, sometimes the breaker fails to trip, so this means the circuit will continue to overheat, which will eventually lead to burning the wires of the circuit. If the heat continues to rise, this can lead to a fire hazard in the house or destroy the whole circuit.

How To Detect a Burned Wire?

To detect a burned wire, you will need to check for certain signs that can tell you if you have a burned wire nearby. For example, you can smell smoke when walking by an outlet, or there is a burning smell in a room. And you can notice that it gets heavier over time, other signs of burning wire:

  • Any devices that are plugged into outlets are flickering like televisions or lights.
  • It’s hard to notice, but you may see a small amount of smoke coming out of an outlet.
  • If your electrical system has some outlets that are connected, and one of them has a burned wire, you will notice that the other is not working. When outlets are connected together, and one fails, this can result in none of them working. 

What To Do When You Detect a Burned Wire?

If you have detected a burning wire, you will need to move quickly because as you wait longer to fix it, the higher the chances of a fire hazard getting. The burned part of the wire is likely to be the part close to the device; hopefully, you will have enough wire left to remove the burned wire.

It’s recommended to hire a licensed electrician to check up on your house wiring regularly and fix any errors found. The smallest problem in your house wiring can start a fire hazard; therefore, you should deal with any problem seriously. If you notice any of the mentioned signs, don’t hesitate to call an electrician immediately.


To sum up, a burned wire can still conduct electric current if the burned or the oxidized layer is only on the top of the conducting metal stand or metal piece. In addition, if the strands of the metal piece are still connected to each other, this means the wire will continue to carry the current.

The wire will only stop carrying the current if the conducting piece gets brokAll Postsen or disconnected; for example, if the heat continues to rise after burning the outer layer, it will start melting the conducting piece. When the conducting piece melts down, the current will be blocked, and the wire will stop conducting. 

Burned wires must be fixed as soon as you detect them because the burned wires can increase the resistance on the circuit, which means the heat rises. When the heat rises above the limit of the circuit, this can lead to starting a fire hazard. 

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