Electrical Overloads: What’s the Cause and How to Fix It
February 13th, 2015 by admin
With each family member having different devices like phones, laptops, gaming systems, tablets, etc. that need to be plugged into an electrical outlet, we can have a build up on an individual circuit. Just imagine, your whole family is sitting in the living room watching tv, playing on phones, computers, and tablets, when someone has just one more thing they need to charge… and the lights go out. Knowing how to fix an electrical overload is important for any homeowner.
When the Lights Go Out
When an electrical system is properly installed it’s unlikely that an electrical overload would result in a fire. A device at the main panel called an “overcurrent protective device” automatically shuts down the power before any damage can occur. When you have an overload there is most likely a tripped circuit breaker, or in older houses, a blown fuse.
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These circuit breakers or fuses feed the main wiring system a limited amount of power to safely handle and funnel through the house. By turning on too many things at once, the power demand can exceed that safety limit and snap, shutting down the entire circuit.
How to Fix Tripped Circuits
Once the power goes out, you need to find the utility panel, which is usually a grey metal box that sits in either the basement, garage, or sometimes the kitchen depending on your home’s layout. While the inside may look complex, the National Electrical Code (NEC) requires a kind of circuit logic that simplifies the system. These circuits are split into two types: dedicated and general purposes.
Read this magazine article for more information on how circuit breakers work.
Dedicated circuits are used for single large-draw appliances like furnaces, water heaters, stoves, garbage disposals, laundry machines, etc. and should be labeled inside the main utility panel. General-purpose circuits serve multiple outlets within your home, like lighting and most receptacles.
The easiest solution to these problems is simple. Typically, by unplugging and taking less load from the overloaded circuit to another general-purpose circuit and flipping the breaker back on, you can regain power to your home. However, this may not be a good long-term solution. For long term solutions, hire a professional to go over your electrical layout and find a solution for frequently overloaded electrical outlets.
Here at JK Mechanical, we’ve been working in the electrical industry for years. We provide service and sub-panel upgrades, lighting upgrades and layouts, whole house surge protection, ground fault circuit interrupters, automatic standby generators, solar electric attic ventilators, energy monitoring systems, and more. Let us help you with your electrical issues today by calling us at 800-JKM-0028.