Why Did the Neutral Wire Burn Out in My Electric Shower?

Electrical showers are very popular due to their many styles, easy installation, multiple wires, and water entry points; however, some electric showers may fail due to a fault in their wiring, like neutral wires.

So Why Did the Neutral Wire Burn Out in My Electric Shower?

A neutral wire would burn out because the sealing of the box aged; when the sealing ages, the water reaches the wires and cause the wires to burn out. When the water reaches the wires, it could lead to hazards such as starting a fire or shocking someone touching the box.

The main reason that the wires could start a fire is the presence of flammable materials around them, and this also increases the possibility of someone getting burnt due to the flames coming out of the box.

How To Repair Burnt Neutral Wire In My Electric Shower?

  1. Choose a suitable wire gauge for the new neutral wire; you have to make sure the new wire gauge can endure the current coming back from the shower. If the wire doesn’t have the right gauge, it will melt down and may cause a fire hazard.
  2. Reseal the box with a good seal to ensure the water doesn’t get in the box again; the water can be dangerous when it touches electricity. Electricity is fatal and can cause many injuries and hazards, even death.

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What Can Cause Neutral Wire To Burn In General?

Many causes can lead to the neutral wire getting burnt other than water getting in the shower box, for example:

  • Loose Connections
  • Neutral For More Than One Circuit
  • Overload
  • Coiling 
  • Lightning Strikes

All these examples can cause the neutral wires to burn out; each example can be avoided to decrease the possibility of the neutral wire being damaged or burned.

1). Loose Connections

Arcing neutral wires results from loose connections; when neutral wires are loose, this leads to generating sparks. Sparks are dangerous even the very small ones can increase the heat of the wires, and when the heat of a wires rises, it melts the wires’ insulation. As a result, the wire will burn over time.

2). Neutral For More Than One Circuit

It’s recommended to use a neutral wire for each circuit because sharing a neutral for more than one circuit increases the load on the neutral wire. In addition, the neutral receives the current coming back from the device, so this way, it will be receiving currents from many sources, which will lead to rising the wire’s temperature.

When the wire’s temperature rises, this leads to the melting down of the wire’s insulation and later burning out of the wire, and since it’s one neutral for many circuits, this will affect multiple circuits, not only one.

3). Overload

Overloading is considered the main reason for wires burning out; when wires overload, their temperature increases, and then this causes their insulation to melt down and the wires to burn out. Unfortunately, people make a common mistake when overloading an electric circuit because they think the overload will only target the live wire.

The overload can hit all the circuits, including the neutral and hot wires; this also applies to the devices connected to the circuit; when devices and appliances get hit by an overload or power surge, they can get damaged.

4). Coiling

Wires produce magnetic fields around them due to current passing through them; when a wire is could, this increases the magnetic fields around the wires. When a wire has more magnetic fields around it, this increases the temperature of the wire and leads to the insulation melting down and the wire getting burned.

5). Lightning Strikes

When lightning strikes hit an electric circuit, they lead to injecting the circuit with a huge amount of power; this causes the circuit to overload and directly increases the temperature of the wires, such as neutral and hot wires. When the wires’ temperature rises, the wires’ insulation will melt down, and wires get burned.

Other Reasons for Neutral Wires Getting Burned

  • Short circuits happen due to unexpected high currents in the electric circuit, which can cause an overload on the devices connected to the circuit and burn out the circuit’s wires.
  • Old, worn-out, and torn neutral wires can cause the wires to arc, increasing the temperature of the wire and melting down their insulation.
  • Long wires are more likely to heat up due to their large resistance because as the wire’s length gets longer, the more resistance it has, especially copper wires.

Source

How To Avoid Neutral Wires Getting Burned?

To avoid neutral wires getting burned, you use several methods such as securing all the connections, making sure wires don’t coil, using short wires instead of long ones, avoiding overloading the circuit, and many more methods:

1). Securing All The Connections

When a breaker trips down, you have a problem in your circuit, and you have to fix it as soon as possible. Breaker trip due to wires overheating which usually happens due to loose connections. If you couldn’t find the loose connections yourself, it’s recommended to hire a professional electrician.

2). Choose The Correct Wires Size

Wires size or AWG is very important when installing an electric circuit; you must choose the right size or AWG suitable for the circuit’s load because increasing the load on the circuit wires by choosing a smaller size than recommended can lead to melting down of the wire and getting it burnt out.

3). Avoid Wires Getting Coiled

When wires get coiled, the magnetic field around them increases, which leads to increasing the temperature of the wires due to the heat generated from the magnetic fields. As a result, the wires’ insulation will soften, and then they will meltdown over time.

4). Avoid Overloading The Circuit

Before installing any electric circuit, calculate the total amperage needed by the appliances and devices connected to the circuit. Therefore, you can install suitable wires and avoid overloading them with more current than they were designed to carry.

5). Check For Hot Wires

You can touch insulated wires to check for their temperature; if you find any wire hotter than usual, you should consult a qualified electrician and ask them to locate what is causing the problem, like loose connections or bad wiring.

How To Fix A Burnt Neutral Wire?

  1. Turn off the breaker to protect yourself from electrical shocks, and use a multimeter to test if the wire is safe.
  2. Grab a new cable and take up to eight inches from the white wires inside.
  3. Remove the old insulation from your old wires; you don’t have to remove all of the insulation; you can remove as much as you can.
  4. Straight up your old wires and use the new insulation to wrap them; the insulation has to be white-colored to avoid future confusion.
  5. Grab a shrinkable tubing piece and use it to fix the new insulation because it can be loose and not fixed. Then, use a lighter to apply some heat to the shrinkable tubing to fix it more in place. Avoid applying too much heat, or you will burn the new insulation.
  6. You can also replace the wires with new ones instead of fixing the insulation; however, the problem should be solved before any replacement or fix.
  7. When replacing the old wires with new ones, you should get the same specifications as the old wires to avoid choosing a smaller size and overloading the circuit. 

Conclusion

To sum up, the main reason behind neutral wires getting burned in electrical showers is the sealing of the box aged; when the sealing ages, the water reaches the wires and causes the wires to burn out. Furthermore, when the water reaches the wires, it could lead to hazards such as starting a fire.

Wires could start fires due to flammable materials around the box or the wires, which increases the possibility of starting flames and burning anyone close to the box. To fix a burnt wire in an electrical shower box, you can follow two main steps:

  1. Choose a suitable wire gauge for the new neutral wire; you have to make sure the new wire gauge can endure the current coming back from the shower. If the wire doesn’t have the right gauge, it will melt down and may cause a fire hazard.
  2. Reseal the box with a good seal to ensure the water doesn’t get in the box again; the water can be dangerous when it touches electricity. Electricity is fatal and can cause many injuries and hazards, even death.

However, there are many reasons other than water getting in the shower box that can lead to the neutral wire getting burnt out; for example:

  • Loose Connections
  • Neutral For More Than One Circuit
  • Overload
  • Coiling 
  • Lightning Strikes

Neutral wires are very important to electric circuits. They play the most important role after hot wires by returning the current to its source; any problems concerning them should be dealt with carefully and quickly.

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