The electrical system in your Elizabethtown, Kentucky, home can get overloaded when you use more appliances than you usually have connected to your homes electrical network. If the wiring in your homes electrical network is faulty or you need to update your system, it can get overwhelmed by higher power wattage than the circuit can handle.
Signs of an Overloaded Electrical Circuit
Electrical circuit overload occurs when more appliances or devices are used than the power supplied at the source. For instance, using a coffee maker, hairdryer, and toaster on an extension cord can overwhelm a household circuit rated for 20 A or 192 watts, leading to tripping and shutdown. This can result in a temporary electricity shutoff by a breaker or even lead to a fire due to overheating wires.
Flickering lights, when turned on or off, may indicate an overloaded circuit or an issue with an electrical device in the house. For instance, a burned-out lightbulb in one room can cause problems with other devices, leading to flickering. Check for burned-out bulbs if you notice flickering in your house.
Overloaded circuits can produce strange noises, like popping or cracking, due to arcing wires and insulation breakdown within electrical appliances. A sizzling sound may indicate something burning inside your electrical equipment. If you hear these noises, immediately turn off the power to the equipment and seek assistance from electrical professionals.
Burning Smells From Outlets or Switches
A burning smell from switch plates, outlets, or fixtures signals excessive heat generated by too many devices connected to a circuit. This smell indicates an electrical load on the circuit and requires attention to prevent potential hazards.
Many of the above-mentioned problems arise because people are tempted to use extension cords and power boards in areas of their house not designed with sufficient outlets. While it may seem like an easy fix, the number of outlets in an area typically correlates with the circuit’s wattage capacity. Using more than the circuit was designed to handle can result in appliance damage, electricity overload, power loss, and potentially create a safety hazard.
Understand How Much Power Your Appliances Use
Homeowners should have a good understanding of their appliances’ power consumption and the circuit’s wattage capacity. Check the tags on the appliances to determine their wattage. Consider how long each device is used for, including the standby power of some appliances. For instance, a television that is turned off can still pull standby power. Understanding the power consumption of your appliances, the duration of use, and the number of simultaneous connections to a circuit is crucial. Examine your circuit breaker to determine the safe limit in terms of amps or watts before potential short circuits occur.
Use Energy Star Appliances
Energy Star products are the same, if not better, than any other products in the market, with the exception that they use less energy in order to have an Energy Star rating. They have to meet strict energy efficient criteria set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the US Department of Energy (DOE). Because they use less energy, the products save you money on your electrical bill and have less of a pull on your home’s electrical circuit. Energy Star refrigerators are 15% more efficient than non-Energy Star appliances. Energy Star televisions use 3W or less when switched off compared to standard televisions, which can consume 6W on average.
You can completely shut off certain appliances, and they use zero energy. Other appliances need to keep running. For example, you cant switch off your refrigerator or unplug it because it needs to run all the time. Other devices, like your dishwasher, are inconvenient to plug in and unplug constantly. Even though youre using Energy Star appliances that need to be plugged in at all times, ensure that they are on separate circuits or create an alternating schedule for using these appliances so that you are not overloading your circuits.
Consider Home Rewiring
Rewiring involves replacing your home’s old wiring with new wires. While it can be expensive, it is crucial for maintaining the safety of your home. Over time, aging home wiring can lead to various electrical problems, including overloading and potential fires. Some benefits of considering home rewiring include the following.
Rewiring your home is essential for keeping your electrical system safe. Old wiring in electrical systems can become dangerous without regular checkups and replacements. Additionally, rewiring allows you to incorporate and update safety measures, such as smoke detectors, ground wires, and plastic-insulated wires.
Know How Old Your Home’s Wiring Is
You may not know the age of your home’s wiring, which can be dangerous. On average, electrical wiring lasts around 20 years. Rewiring enables you to determine the exact age of your wires, replace them as needed, and ensure they can handle current energy usage loads.
Increase Electrical Capacity
Older houses may not be equipped for modern electrical needs. For example, homes built before the 60s may have a capacity of 60A compared to modern homes with a 100A limit. Updating your wiring helps avoid the risk of overloading the electrical system and starting a fire.
Short Circuit Versus Overload
It’s important to understand that a short circuit and an overloaded circuit are not the same thing. An overloaded circuit occurs when too much current flows through a circuit. On the other hand, a short circuit happens when electricity flows along an unintended path. This can occur if two bare wires touch or a wire comes into contact with a conductive material leading to the ground, such as metal. Overloads and short circuits can occur suddenly, causing a massive flow of electricity and resulting in sparks and potentially an explosion. Both issues can cause breakers to trip, cutting off power to the affected area.
Dedicated circuits can be a preventive measure against both problems by separating circuits for high-power appliances, minimizing the chance of an overload or a short circuit.
Hack to Prevent Circuit Overload
Use one appliance at a time. Avoid using multiple high-wattage appliances on the same circuit at the same time. Spread out your devices. If multiple devices are plugged into a single outlet, spread them across different outlets to prevent overloading a circuit. Change your incandescent lights with LED light bulbs. Incandescent bulbs use a lot more energy than LED bulbs.
HVAC Plumbing and Electrical in Elizabethtown, Kentucky
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