The holidays are here, and you are busy decorating and preparing for guests. Just as you finish hanging all your holiday lights and plug them in, the lights go out, and you wonder what happened. People use more energy in winter than during other times of the year.
Because of the shorter days, lights are on much earlier and for a longer time. Heaters are constantly running, and the water heater is working over time. During this cold season, space heaters become an important part of many rooms, and the kitchen has become the center of everyone’s attention.
This increased energy consumption is why electrical overloads and even home fires are more likely to happen in winter. Space heaters alone account for 44 percent of home fires caused by heating. Electrical overloads are a major cause of the 47,700 electrical home fires that happen every year.
To keep you and your loved ones safe this festive season, read about how to prevent electrical overloads in your home in Charleston, SC.
What Are Electrical Overloads?
Electrical overloads happen when a circuit needs to supply more power than it should. When you put too many loads on one circuit, the circuit breaker will trip, cutting off the electricity. Overloading causes wires to overheat, which can cause them to melt and eventually start a fire.
A circuit breaker that trips often may stop being as efficient after some time and may fail to protect your home from dangerous electrical overloads. Call an electrician near me if a breaker keeps tripping, as this could signify a more serious problem.
If the lights flicker every time you plug in your vacuum cleaner, you are most likely overloading that circuit. Warm outlets and plugs, buzzing noise and smoking outlets, and inadequate power for some tools and appliances are other signs of electrical overload. If you see sparks and burn marks on an outlet, immediately stop using that receptacle and call your electrician near me.
Know Your Circuits
The electrical panel houses the circuit breakers that distribute electricity around your house. Each breaker represents one circuit. If the technicians who installed the panel were diligent, the breakers might be labeled to indicate which room or appliance they supply.
But most panels do not have labels, and circuits usually supply power to more than one place. For example, you can find your refrigerator sharing power with the garage lights.
The good idea is to have an electrician near me do a system check before winter to ensure it can accommodate the increased energy demand. The technician might start by mapping out the circuits to find where each one goes and how much load it carries.
Once you know which outlets and light switches are connected and how much power every circuit can supply, you can decide to redistribute loads. If the outlet you usually use for your space heater is on the same circuit as another high-power appliance, you can move it to a circuit with greater capacity.
You could also single out the outlets that can better handle your vacuum cleaner or unplug appliances and devices while cleaning. Your electrician near me might also recommend replacing smaller circuit breakers with bigger ones that can supply more electricity.
Dedicated Circuits for Specific Appliances
To avoid overloads, appliances that use a lot of energy should have their circuit. Electric ranges, refrigerators, space heaters, furnaces, dishwashers, garbage disposals, and washing machines are just a few.
Your electrician near me will help you identify which appliances use the most energy and need their circuit. This will ensure that if a circuit breaker trips, your essential appliances keep running. It also makes it easier to choose which circuits you want to be connected to a backup generator should the power go out during a winter storm.
Install More Circuits
If you plan to dazzle your neighbors in Charleston, SC with a grand holiday light display, you may want your electrician near me to add a circuit or two. And if you will be hosting friends and family, an extra circuit can take care of all those extra lights and devices running almost around the clock.
Especially in older homes where the electrical wiring is not up to modern standards, a few added circuits could prevent a house fire.
Add More Outlets
In most modern homes, it might be enough to add a few outlets here and there. You want to avoid using extension cords, as it is easy to overload a circuit when you have multiple devices plugged into one power strip.
Extension cords are only a temporary solution and should be used with care. Never use an extension cord for a large appliance, as it can easily cause the cable to overheat.
With all the extra cooking done during the holidays, you may also want your electrician near me to install extra outlets and dedicate a few circuits to the kitchen. If you can, limit the simultaneous use of kitchen appliances and unplug those not in use.
Use Energy Saving Appliances
Led holiday lights use less energy than traditional lights, and you can safely string together several lights without overloading an outlet. The same applies to space and water heaters, refrigerators, microwaves, ovens, and every other electrical appliance.
The less energy it consumes, the lesser the risk of an electrical overload. If you are looking for more ways to save energy and reduce electrical overloads, you can hire an electrician near me to perform an energy audit.
Stay Safe This Holiday
Many things can dampen the holiday spirit, but an electrical malfunction should not be among them. You don’t want to be in the cold. That is why Mister Sparky of Charleston ensures you stay warm and cozy by offering efficient and prompt electrical services.
Our emergency team is always ready to spring into action, be it on a warm summer evening or during long and cold winter nights. Call us at Mister Sparky of Charleston if you are looking for a trusted, responsible, experienced electrician near me in Charleston, SC.