How To Stop Overloading Your Circuits

20 May 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Everything was fine until you tried to run your clothes dryer and pop popcorn in the microwave at the same time. When you did, the lights went out in the kitchen. If you are continually blowing a fuse or causing your circuit breaker to flip, you may need an electrical upgrade. First, you can try to reduce the load on your fuse box. If that doesn't work, you can have additional circuits added. 

Track the Circuits

When you have problems with overloading the circuits, you need to find out which circuit is being overused. Check your fuse box to find out which breaker switched off and then read the label. If your box was set up and maintained correctly, each circuit should be properly labeled such as "laundry room and kitchen," "bathroom and bedroom 1," etc. If "laundry room and kitchen" is the culprit, take a look at how many electrical items are in use in those rooms and figure out what can be plugged into another circuit. If your breakers and fuses are not labeled, you need to discover which circuit goes to which room or rooms. You can switch off each circuit one by one and note which areas go dark. Mark the sites in the fuse box with a permanent marker. 

New Circuit

In some instances, you might have added new appliances to your home that your current circuits just cannot handle. You may need to add a new circuit to your house. Before you have an electrician perform that task, you should do a load calculation to see if your electrical panel is able to handle that addition. You cannot just add up the amperage that your panel is officially able to carry. You need to calculate the average amperage you are using in your system. You can estimate this load by using an online calculator. You will need to enter all the electricity used by the appliances and lights in your home.  Experts suggest that you keep your electrical load below 80% of the maximum amps your system will allow. If you can add a new circuit while staying in these guidelines, go ahead and have an electrician perform the task for you.  They can even add a circuit dedicated to one appliance such as your new, powerful washer. 

When you have problems with your circuit breakers flipping off, or you keep blowing fuses, you need to investigate the problem. Often, you are simply overloading the circuits with too much amperage. You can fix this issue by moving some appliances to another circuit or adding a new circuit. Consult with your electrician about the best course of action for your home.