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For Electric Cooperative Members

Avoid Circuit Overload

Don’t give your home’s electrical system more than it can handle

With so many electrical devices in every room of the home, there’s a possibility you’re overloading your circuits.

That means that either you’re plugging too many devices into a single outlet via a power strip or you’re plugging in devices that require more power than your home’s wiring can handle.

If your circuits are overloaded, it’s time to call a licensed electrician to upgrade your electrical system so it can keep up with the demands that new technology places on it.

Here’s how to tell if your home’s circuits are overloaded, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International:

  • Lights are flickering, blinking or dimming.
  • Electrical receptacles on the walls are warm to the touch or have become discolored.
  • You smell a burning odor coming from receptacles or wall switches.
  • Circuits trip on a regular basis, especially when you turn on “this” appliance at the same time as “that” one.

Here’s how to prevent overload from happening:

  • Do not plug large appliances into extension cords or power strips. They each need an outlet all to themselves.
  • Get rid of extension cords. They’re meant for temporary use—not permanent. Don’t rig up year-round devices, like lamps or TVs, to extension cords.
  • Notice how many extension cords you use. If it’s a lot, that could signal that you don’t have enough outlets. An electrician can add more.
  • Don’t mistake a power strip for extra juice. It doesn’t make more electricity available; all a power strip does is allow you to plug more devices into a single outlet—and doing so can overload that outlet.