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Circuit Overloads

What Is An Overload?
Overloads are usually simpler to identify and deal with than shorts. An overload occurs when you have too much "load" running off one circuit and the wires get too hot. To help save you and your home and reduce the risk of fire, the overloaded circuit automatically shuts itself off by tripping a breaker or blowing a fuse. Each circuit is set to carry a maximum load in order to be safe and you need to respect its limits.

Tip: Never use fuses or breakers of higher amperage than your breaker box calls for. To do so eliminates the safety mechanism within your breaker box that reduces the risk of fire. Trying to override its limits could make your house go up in smoke!

A classic example of a circuit overload is to have power go out to a specific area the moment you turn on a space heater or a blow dryer, both of which demand a startling amount of amperage (the higher the wattage the appliance boasts, the more amps it will require of the circuit). Other appliances, like refrigerators, have motors that kick in suddenly and create a great short-term demand to get going and can cause an overload. The best way to deal with these issues is to either get appliances that create less demand or, better yet, to limit the demand on a single circuit by reorganizing the load to each when possible.

Tip: For greater ease pinpointing problems such as overloads, and to make disabling specific areas a snap without turning off power to your whole house, make an electrical map.