Are the lights dimming in your home? Are the outlets buzzing? You may have a circuit that is overloaded. This can occur when excessive current flows through the electrical wires in your home.
In this article, we will discuss what causes an electric overload, its warning signs, how to fix and prevent an overload, and when to seek professional assistance.
Frequent Reasons for a Circuit Overload
Let’s examine a few fundamental reasons why your circuit is overloaded.
Too many electrical devices are connected to a single circuit.
A 1500-watt heater is connected to a 15-amp circuit.
A new microwave is plugged into an outlet for a range hood.
One or two hair dryers or curling irons are utilized concurrently.
A large or even standard-sized window air conditioner is activated.
Circuit breaker or fuse is faulty.
Inefficient appliance or light fixture consuming excessive energy
One or two circuits control most of the home’s electrical system (typical in older houses)
Your wire’s protective insulation is deteriorating.
What Is an Overloaded Circuit?
Have you ever turned on the lights and space heater after cranking up the space heater on a cold Minnesota night? Instantaneously, you caused a circuit overload. The same can occur on hot summer days when the window air conditioner is turned on. Overloads occur when more electricity is drawn from a circuit than that circuit is designed to handle.
However, circuits may have different sizes or varieties of breakers, fuses, wires, outlets, and connections. Remember that a circuit’s wiring is only as strong as its weakest link.
Examples include GFCIs (ground fault code interrupters) and AFCIs (arc fault code interrupters). Is it dangerous to overload a circuit?
In addition to frustrating you and your family, overloads can also be hazardous. They can cause wires to melt, which may result in a fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical malfunctions cause nearly 50,000 home fires annually in the United States.
These fires cause property loss, injuries, and even fatalities. Therefore, it is essential that you recognize the warning signs of an overloaded circuit in order to prevent property damage or harm to your loved ones.
Symptoms of an Overloaded Circuit
Flickering, blinking, and dimming lights indicate an overloaded circuit.
Frequently Tripped Circuit Breakers: A circuit breaker trip occurs when the power surge from your electrical panel to wherever there is a demand for electricity, such as when you turn on a light or start your vacuum cleaner, is greater than the circuit can withstand. This can also occur in older homes due to blown fuses.
Wall plates in warm or discolored tones. The presence of warm wall plates and cords indicates an overloaded circuit.
Listen carefully for sizzling, buzzing, or crackling receptacles.
When receptacles or wall stitches are overloaded, they emit a burning odor.
If your circuits are overloaded, you may experience a mild shock or tingling from your appliances, outlets, or switches.
Don’t forget that electricity is dangerous! The panel is the home’s brain, so safety precautions must be taken. Do not touch wires in the panel or a circuit unless the system is turned off and a voltmeter indicates the power is off.
You can turn off all electricity to your home at the panel, or you can typically turn off the breaker in question by pushing its off button. If the circuit is protected by fuses, it cannot be turned off; do not remove a fuse until the entire panel is turned off.
How do I prevent circuit overload?
By preventing a circuit from overheating in the first place, you can avoid the associated expenses and stress. To avoid an overload, you must:
Directly plug appliances into an outlet
Do not use extension cords or adapters with multiple outlets for appliances. Connect every major appliance directly to a wall outlet. Keep in mind that power strips only add additional outlets; they do not alter the amount of power drawn from an outlet.
Only one heat-producing appliance is permitted per outlet.
Have an electrician install additional outlets in your home.
If you are using extension cords to power a heavy appliance, you likely do not have enough outlets. Ask an electrician to install additional outlets in your home.
Examine Your “Wires”
Verify the cords of anything plugged into an electrical outlet. The copper on the inside is the actual wire, while the insulator is on the outside. Ensure that the insulator has no cracks and that no wires are exposed.
Declutter Your Outlets
In your kitchen, do you have a coffee maker, microwave, toaster, and espresso machine all plugged into the same outlet? Rearrange your kitchen appliances so that they are not all plugged into the same outlet. If you must leave them close together, unplug them when they are not in use.
Experiencing Overloaded Circuits?
Need assistance to repair an overloaded circuit? Contact the dependable team at Vetter’s Electric. We are confident that we can solve your most difficult repair problems. 24/7 availability for all your electrical needs!