Electrical outlets are made to handle so much, but homeowners don’t always think about how much their outlets can actually handle. It’s not uncommon to trip a breaker when we plug in an appliance. However, plugging in too many items can do more than trip the breaker. Too many devices plugged in can cause severe damage like an electrical fire.
The United States Consumer Protection Safety Commission reported that overloaded electrical outlets caused over 3,000 electrical fires in American homes. Champion AC knows that electrical safety is key to homeowners protecting their homes! We’ve broken down what to look for and the keys to avoiding overloading an outlet.
What Is Overloading An Electrical Outlet?
Residential electric systems are built on average household usage. Too many appliances being plugged into the same circuit will exceed the load the circuit was created for and begin to trip the circuit breaker causing the whole thing to close. The same issue arises when homeowners stack extension cords and other plugs that allow you to fit more than two appliances to an outlet.
Signs of An Overloaded Outlet
There are a few warning signs that homeowners can see when an outlet is becoming overloaded:
- Circuit breaker trips frequently
- Outlet or switch covers that are warm to the touch
- Scorched plugs or outlets
- Flickering or dimming lights (especially after you plug in a particular appliance)
- Burning smell from outlet
- Lack of power in appliances
- Tingling or mild shock when plugging in an item
How To Avoid Overloading An Outlet
To effectively avoid overloading your outlet, you must know the amperage of your home’s breaker and fuses. Electrical safety regulations state that you can load up to 80% of the breaker’s amperage rating. For example, a 40-amp breaker will trip if it draws 32 amps of power.
Homeowners should aim to stay below that 80% line. This will ensure you won’t trip your breaker when you have to plug in those sparsely used appliances like a vacuum cleaner. It is also beneficial to recognize how much power your everyday appliance needs. Knowing this will help you understand what to unplug before plugging another device. Below are appliances that use hefty wattage:
- Air Conditioners
- Microwave Ovens
More Tips To Protect Your Home
Here are a few more things you can do to avoid overloading your outlets. Avoid using extension cords for an extended period. Extension cords should be used on occasion. When using an extension cord, please don’t use it for major power appliances.
Try to avoid plugging in two big devices in the same outlet. Separate them if you can. Lastly, avoid plugging in heat-producing items in the same outlet or extension cords.
Let Champion AC Help You!
Champion AC is an electrical company San Antonio residents have trusted for years. We offer licensed and experienced electrical repair, installation, and upgrade services. Our team provides safe and professional results from outlet repair to electrical panel replacements, smart lighting upgrades, and more.
At Champion AC, we’ve made it easier for you to rest easy in your home with our free home safety inspections! If you have questions about how our electrical services can help you, call us!