Electrical circuit overloads can cause serious damage to your wiring and may even potentially result in a fire. Old New York buildings are especially at risk due to the massive increase in electrical appliances used within them. It’s important for home and business owners to understand the causes of circuit overloads, how to prevent them, and what to do when they occur. Here’s what to know and how Jones Services can help.
Understanding Your Electrical Circuit
Your electrical circuit is the closed loop of wires in your home or business that allows electricity to flow from one point to the next. A battery connected to a lightbulb is a rudimentary circuit, while those found in buildings contain many more points of contact for power, like outlets, lights, HVAC equipment, etc. An overload occurs when too much electricity begins to flow through the loop and the power has nowhere else to go. This results in damage to the wiring and may even cause a fire if the circuit can’t handle the excess power.
Exactly how much electricity a particular circuit can handle depends on its rating, which is generally expressed in amps. For example, a 10 amp circuit can’t handle more than 10 amps of power at any one time. Larger structures require circuits with more amps, but you also don’t want your circuit to have too much room compared to the amount of power you consistently use.
How Circuits Become Overloaded
Circuit overloads can occur for a number of different reasons, including:
- Using too many appliances on one circuit at once
- Your wires are incorrectly sized for the amount of electrical current being drawn
- Your wiring and components are aged and have become weaker over time
- Your wiring wasn’t installed properly
- Defective appliances
Preventing Circuit Overloads
Identify Problems Within Your Existing System
Preventing circuit overloads starts with assessing your existing electrical system and identifying anything that needs to be fixed right away. Inspect the wiring and circuit box, looking for any signs of damage or wear and tear. If you notice any fraying wires, cracks in the insulation, or other physical damage, you’ll need to contact a licensed electrician right away.
Next, take a look at the circuit breaker box in your home and make sure that all of the breakers are properly labeled with their respective circuits. If any labels are faded or incorrect, now is the time to update them. This will help you identify which appliances are connected to each circuit when it’s time to troubleshoot a problem.
Give Major Appliances Their Own Circuits
Make sure major appliances like refrigerators, ovens, and air conditioners aren’t on the same circuit. Instead, give them each their own dedicated circuits to allow the appliances to access the power they need without trying to pull all the electricity from a single circuit. This prevents there from being too much strain on any one particular part of your electrical system at a time.
You should also try not to use extension cords, especially for appliances and high-power items like hair dryers, because these can also cause an increase in demand across several circuits due to poor connections between outlets and the devices plugged into them. If possible, install multiple outlets in areas where you commonly use several small electronics at once, like near computer desks. This allows you to plug in multiple items without overloading a single outlet.
What To Do If An Overload Occurs
If you experience a circuit overload, the first thing you should do is turn off and unplug any appliances or electrical devices that may be causing the overload. For example, if you’re running your vacuum and your lights start to dim, turn off the vacuum and unplug it from the wall.
If one of your circuit breakers has tripped, identify each one and switch it off and back on again to reset the circuit. If the circuit continues to trip, it could be a sign of a more serious electrical issue. Try plugging the appliance into an outlet connected to a different circuit, or contact an electrician for assistance.
Contact A Goshen, NY Electrician At Jones Services Today
Although some minor maintenance tasks can be completed by homeowners themselves, it’s always best to hire a qualified electrician to handle things like faulty wiring, outdated electrical panels, and overloaded circuits. At Jones Services, we offer a wide variety of electrical services for your home or business needs. Contact us today to learn more or to get a quote by calling (845) 299-2074 or complete our quick online form and our team will get in touch.