If you plugin too many appliances, and the light suddenly shuts off. What you have created is an Electric circuit overload.

Electric circuits are made of wiring, breaker, and devices such as light fixture, and they are built to handle a particular amount of electricity.

An electric circuit overload occurs when you draw more electricity from the circuit than what it can safely handle.

How to prevent electrical circuit overloads

The electricity usage of each device adds up to the total load on the circuit, exceeding the load for the circuit can cause the circuit breaker to trip off and shut off power to the entire circuit. In a situation where the circuit has no breaker, an overload will cause the circuit to overheat and melt the wire insulation leading to a fire.

Some of the signs of an overloaded circuit include the following: tripping off of the breaker, shutting down of power, dimming lights, buzzing switches, burning odors form switches amongst others.


How to prevent electric circuit overload

If any of the signs above persist, it is important to look out for ways of preventing overload before it leads to fire disaster.  One way of doing this is to learn which circuit powers which devices, mapping out the basic circuit layout will make it easy for you to calculate the safe load rating for each circuit and have a clear picture of how many devices that can be operated on each circuit.

To calculate the load on each circuit, simply add up the wattage of all devices on that circuit.

Secondly, ensure that the normal load on each circuit does not exceed 80 percent of the maximum load.  If the circuit calculation shows that you are drawing more wattage from the circuit, here are few ways to reduce the load and prevent overload

  • Move some appliances to an electric circuit that is less used
  • Do not turn on too many appliances at the same time
  • Reduce lighting load by replacing halogen lights with energy efficient bulbs such as LED lights.
  • For high demanding appliances in the home or office, install new circuit

Finally, remember that electric circuit overload can lead to a house fire and loss of property, therefore it is vital to take the steps listed above to ensure that it is prevented and never allowed to occur.