With an increasing number of appliances in every home, the capacity of electrical circuits is being challenged to the limit each time you add a new appliance. When a certain circuit can not bear the load from the appliances working in it, an overload occurs and the circuit breaker trips (the fuse blows in older homes) to cut off power. Overloaded circuits are major threats to our appliances and can even cause a fire according to the National Fire Protection Association. Follow the tips below to prevent a circuit overload effectively.
1. Know the Wattage
Have you ever noticed that the lights are dimming when a vacuum cleaner or space heater is turned on? You don’t have to be an electrician to understand that these are large power appliances, but how large?
The max power each circuit breaker or fuse box can handle is fixed, check that value on their outside panel to get a clear understanding of how much max power the appliances can add to the load in total. Also you can check in each appliance’s manual or specification sticker for its rated power and rated current. Make sure the total power or current does not exceed what the circuit breaker or fuse supports.
Specification sticker on the back of a coffee brewer
2. Relocate the Appliances Reasonably
Check your circuit breaker box or fuse box, you may find multiple independent switches, each controls an area in your home. As you may have not noticed, it is the ones corresponding to the kitchen and living room that are often tripped or blown. Toasters, microwave ovens, crock pots, deep fryers and the like may overload the kitchen circuit while home theaters, air conditioners, space heaters and vacuum cleaners may also do the same to the living room circuit.
It is an effective solution to relocate part of the appliances from the kitchen and living room to other less burdened circuits. If they are not suitable to be moved, try running a power strip or extension cord to them.
3. Avoid Running Multiple High Power Appliances at the Same Time
High power home appliances are those often put out a lot of heat or run a large motor. When a washing machine is working, try not to use the vacuum cleaner, which are not necessarily to be both turned on.
Same for the kitchen appliances, when you are preparing a delicious meal, why not slow it down by turning on one of them at a time and enjoy the process of cooking?
4. Install More Outlets
When the circuit breakers or fuse boxes are frequently tripped or blown, call in an electrician to examine the circuits, and if possible, install more wall outlets where they are needed. When the wall outlets are all occupied by either appliances or power strips, adding more wall outlets is better than increasing the number of power strips, which are for temporary use of power supply.
For the new outlets to be added, electricians may recommend you reserve a few dedicated outlets for the air conditioner, space heater, microwave oven, etc. This is also an effective way to prevent an overload because each dedicated outlet shares an independent circuit and always stays at a safe range.
I hope the above tips will help you enjoy the comfort of modern technology without the hassle of overloaded circuits.