You were in the middle of a riveting Game of Thrones scene when suddenly all the lights went out. All that electrifying drama must have been too much for your electrical system. Shocking.
All puns aside, when the lights go out the most common causes are an overloaded circuit, short circuit, or ground fault.
When you have too many electrical devices plugged in, the circuit breakers will shut off the circuit at the main panel to avoid overheating and reduce the possibility of fire.
How to spot the cause of an overloaded circuit:
- Which appliance or device did you turn on right before the breaker tripped?
- Do any of your appliances feel hotter than usual?
- Which devices use the most electricity?
How to avoid overloads:
- Turn off or switch some devices from the overloaded circuit onto a general-purpose circuit to ease the load.
- Unplug electrical appliances not in use to eliminate phantom load.
- Don’t use extension cords to increase the number of electronics you can plug in.
For a long-term solution, we recommend installing a new outlet or adding another circuit. This, however, should be done by a licensed electrician.
A short circuit can cause sparks, popping sounds, and even lead to smoke. An easy-to-spot sign of a short circuit is blackening around the outlet or a burning smell. A short circuit occurs when an active wire touches another hot wire or a neutral wire near an outlet.
The solution: There are many potential causes of a short circuit. Only a licensed electrician should be trusted with identifying the problem and fixing it. Short circuits are a fire hazard and should not be ignored.
When a hot wire touches a grounding wire, the results are similar to a short circuit. However this time, ground faults are usually caused by damaged or faulty equipment.
If you suspect a ground fault: Call a licensed electrician to inspect the wiring and make the repairs.
Old Electrical Systems
The invention of electronic devices like flat-screen TVs, dishwashers, smart home devices, and laptops have increased the need for electricity in every household. Older homes may not be equipped to handle the demands of modern living and the solution to tripping circuit breakers may require updating the electrical system.
If after taking steps to reduce electricity usage your circuit breakers are still tripping, reach out to Blue Apple Electric for an inspection of your electrical system. Don’t ignore the signs and keep your family safe from dangerous electrical hazards.