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Power is a necessity that we can often take for granted, until we’re left in the dark from an overloaded electrical box. While it’s good to be environmentally conscious and make sure lights are switched off, we still need to keep a large amount of our homes turned on, such as the AC or the refrigerator. If electricity is used unwisely, you run the risk of overloading your electrical box. To help keep your home and wiring safe, we’ve given you the lowdown on how to solve an overloaded electrical box issue.
What Does Your Electrical Box Do?
Your home’s electrical panel is the central control unit for all of your electrical wiring. The electrical box is a panel of switches called circuit breakers, with each switch controlling a separate set of outlets or appliances. These are all heat-sensitive, so if you’re using too much electricity on one circuit, the breaker will flip the switch and shut off the power to prevent damage to your wiring and to your home.
What Is an Overloaded Electrical Box?
Simply put, your electrical box is overloaded when your home’s power usage exceeds what your panel can handle. There are a few key signs to be on the lookout for if you think your electrical box is overloaded.
- Power outages: If circuit breakers are constantly tripping and you’re left without power, this could be because the electrical panel can’t handle the current demand.
- Outlets or the electrical panel are too hot to touch: This is a sign that your electrical panel or outlets are working harder than they should be. While a warm outlet may signal that a plugged-in appliance is causing the problem, this shouldn’t be taken lightly, as it may further damage your home’s wiring.
- Sparks: If you see sparks coming from your electrical box or your outlets, switch off your power completely and call an expert technician to inspect your wiring. This is a common sign of an overloaded electrical box, but it can be a serious fire hazard if not dealt with as soon as possible.
How to Fix an Overloaded Electrical Box?
Fixing any part of your home’s electrical system and wiring should be done with extreme caution, and at the end of the day, fixing serious problems should be left to the professionals. Luckily, there are actions you can take in your home to troubleshoot the cause of an overloaded electrical box, and put preventative measures in place to help you use electricity wisely.
If you have a specific circuit that keeps tripping, the first thing you should do is switch off the power for that breaker and unplug all of the appliances in that area. With everything unplugged, you can now switch that circuit breaker back into the ‘on’ position. Check the recommended amp level of the circuit breaker, and make sure you’re not running too many appliances out of too few outlets. To prevent a particular section of wiring from being overloaded, plug in some of those extra appliances elsewhere in your home.
The easiest way to prevent an overloaded electrical box is to shuffle some of your appliances around your home. You can even out the load between each circuit breaker, so no section of your electrical system has to work harder than another. Being conscious of your home’s electrical load is also a necessity.
Your electrical panel determines how much electrical output you can make use of in your home. The box will probably have an amperage between 100 and 200, and the amperage of all the circuit breakers on the panel may double that number. Each circuit breaker will also have its own amperage guide, usually within the range of 15 to 30 amps. This outlines how much power you can use for this specific area. If you’re powering a larger home or an AC system, you’ll want to make sure you have a minimum amperage of around 200. The right size box for you is going to depend on your appliances and the size of your home, so let one of our licensed technicians advise you if you need an electrical panel replacement.
Some major appliances, like refrigerators and HVAC systems, are required to have dedicated circuits. This means that a circuit breaker will only supply power to a single outlet, reducing the risk of overloading your electrical panel. Ensuring that these devices are wired correctly can also help increase the efficiency of your appliances by providing them with a reliable supply of power.
Trust us at Art Plumbing, AC & Electric to check that your electrical system is in perfect order. Stay safe, and don’t hesitate to contact us for emergency electrical repairs.