Electrical emergencies and problems such as electrical fires often start with faulty electrical appliances. For this reason, you need to be keen to identify any problems with your electrical connections and appliances. Overloaded circuits are among the common electrical issues you may experience in your home. This often happens when you connect new appliances such as washing machines that draw too much power than the circuit can manage. Overloading your circuit can damage your circuit breakers and fuses and if these fixtures don't function properly, you are at a high risk of damaging your electrical appliances. In severe cases, you may even end up causing electrical fires. For this reason, watch out for the following red flags that your electrical circuit is overloaded.
Frequent Power Outages
When you overload an electric circuit, too much power will be drawn and your circuit breaker or fuse is designed to ensure this does not affect the rest of your electric system. Therefore, the breaker will trip more often than usual or the fuse will blow up frequently, leading to repeated power outages. However, power outages are not unusual when there are heavy winds, storms, floods, or lightning but if none of those are present, check your appliances keenly. You could have added a heavy or large appliance with a high electrical demand.
Sparks are obvious signs that you have overloaded an electrical circuit somewhere. Sparks will occur when you add too many appliances on a single electrical circuit. This is very dangerous and you need to turn off your electrical power as soon as possible.
Strange Sounds from Your Electrical Circuit Breaker Panels
Listen to any strange sounds, especially buzzing or crackling noises from your electric circuit breaker panel. If the panel is in a good condition, that is, no parts are worn or damaged, you might have overloaded that circuit. Sometimes a little mechanical vibration in the breaker panel can produce such sounds. However, if the sounds are louder and consistent, an overload is often the major culprit.
Overheated Electrical Outlets and Switch Plates
Overheating can be caused by other electrical problems such as faulty outlets or switch plates themselves or poor wiring. However, if you recently fixed any wiring problems and replaced all faulty electrical outlets and switch plates but they still feel hot to the touch, check whether you added any large appliances to the circuits connected to those outlets. Overheating is often accompanied frayed insulation on electric wiring material.
While the above signs will help you know that you overloaded your circuits, it's important to prevent the overload in the first place. One thing you may not be aware of is that excessive use of extension cords is actually one of the major causes of circuit overloads. Therefore, have more electrical outlets installed instead. Contact an electrical contractor for more tips.