Overloading Your Breaker
Most residents in Anoka and Hastings have never lived in a home without electrical service. So it is easy to take this modern convenience for granted. But that can all come to an end when you turn on a light switch or appliance only to find that it shuts off almost immediately. But even worse, you might have seen that many appliances and lights in the room also shut off. If this has happened to you, then you know that the most common cause is an overloaded breaker. But it is essential to understand that this safety feature of your electrical system is warning you of an issue that could become life-threatening is not corrected.
What Is An Overloaded Circuit?
Where the electrical service enters your home, an electrical panel divides the power into smaller circuits. And each circuit has a breaker or safety feature that can turn the power off to prevent an issue that could cause a fire. The critical information is that each circuit and breaker is designed to deliver a specific amount of electricity. And when you place too much demand on the circuit, the breaker trips to protect the electrical wiring, devices plugged into the circuit, and your home. If the circuit continued to carry excessive power to all the items you have plugged into it, the wiring would overheat and start an electrical fire.
Signs Of A Circuit Overload
The most easily recognized sign of a circuit overload is the breaker tripping and shutting off all the items plugged into the circuit. However, there are other indications that you have exceeded or are near the limit of a given circuit, including:
- Lights that dim or flicker frequently
- A buzzing or humming sound coming from outlets or near electrical switches
- When you touch an outlet cover or switch plate, they feel unusually warm
- There is an odd burnt odor near outlets and switches that indicates the wiring is overheating
- Power tools and lights are not as powerful as they once were, showing the lack of power they are receiving
Locating Circuits In Your Home
Hopefully, the breakers in your electrical panel were clearly labeled to provide a general location. They could state room names, and it is safe to assume that all the outlets in that room are on a single circuit. In some homes, multiple rooms could be on a single circuit. It is essential to understand that lights in one room could dim when you use an appliance in a different room because they are on the same circuit.
It is also essential to know that power strips and outlet multipliers can be hazardous. Each outlet is only rated to operate two plugs. So using one or two power strips on a single circuit makes it very easy to overload it. When you notice issues with lights flickering, unplug a power strip to determine if that is the cause of the overload.
When you have issues with an overloaded circuit, not enough outlets, or other electrical problems, call 612-236-9052 for help from the experts at Lumberjack Electric.