Overloaded circuits are some of the major causes of electrical fires in homes. An electrical overload will occur when you draw too much electricity than what your circuits can safely handle. And this usually happens when you connect too many electrical fixtures or components to a given circuit. An overloaded circuit is dangerous because you may end up with losses resulting from damaged electrical equipment and appliances. What's more, overloading a circuit may result in overheating of the electrical components, which is what often results in electrical fires.
Therefore, preventing a circuit overload is essential, and the first step is to understand the signs that you have an overload in the first place. Watch out for these warning signs.
Tripping Circuits/Blowing Fuses
If you make multiple trips to your circuit breaker box to reset it, chances are you have an overloaded circuit somewhere in your home. For safety purposes, circuit breakers are designed to trip and cut off power supply whenever too much power is drawn in a circuit. In most cases, you will notice the tripping after plugging in a specific device or electric appliance.
Plugging the appliance in a different socket or outlet should, in most cases, do the trick here. However, if the circuit breaker continues tripping regardless, contact an electrician. They will be able to track the exact source of the overload. Keep in mind that, sometimes, your circuit breaker can trip if there's a short circuit somewhere within your electrical system, and finding this on your own can be a challenge.
Dimming or Flickering Lights
This is another common warning sign of an overloaded circuit. Generally, lights or bulbs use the least amount of electricity in your home. If they start dimming or flickering, it's most likely because you connected too many electric appliances on the same circuit as the bulbs.
However, the bulb itself could also be the culprit. Therefore, before you conclude that it's an electric overload, consider changing the bulb first. If the flickering or dimming continues, have an electrician inspect your electrical system.
Buzzing, cracking, or sizzling outlets and switches are dangerous, and you need to switch off the electricity as soon as you notice this. In most cases, buzzing outlets will be accompanied by a smell of burning plastic. This usually indicates that the components have started overheating as a result of the overload, and this should be addressed quickly to prevent an electrical fire.