According to the United States Consumer Protection Safety Commission, there are over 5,000 electrical fires in U.S. homes due to overloaded electrical outlets resulting in serious injuries, billions of dollars in property damage, and even fatalities. Protecting your home and yourself from this fate is easier than you think, but does require a little bit of research. Our experts at Knee’s Electrical Service are walking you through the process, so you can plug in confidently.
How Much Electricity Can One Outlet Handle?
Your electrical system is complicated, and if you’re not an expert, it can be an intimidating system to investigate. However, understanding this system is essential for keeping power in your home and avoiding dangerous overload issues. Here, we’re sharing four questions to answer in order to find out how much electricity your outlets can handle.
How many amps can your breaker handle?Find out exactly how many amps your circuit breaker is rated for. Most breakers in the U.S. have a rating of 15 to 20 amps. If you are interested in knowing the difference between one outlet in your home versus another, mapping your circuit breaker will help you determine where specific outlets are, and what they can handle.
How many outlets are on a single circuit?If more than one outlet is wired to a circuit, you might be overloading your system without intending to. When looking at your circuit breaker, check the labels. If you see one labeled “laundry room” or “dining room,” there is a good chance that multiple outlets are working off of one circuit.
How much electricity are you already using?To determine the amount of electricity you are already using, remember this simple formula: p/e=i. This is wattage (p) divided by volts (e) equals amps (i). Say you want to install some holiday lights, which use 1,500 watts. If, like most homes, you have a 120-volt system, you would divide 1,500 by 120 and end up with 12.5 amps being used.
What is the wattage of the electronic you want to plug in?Now that you have determined the electricity you are already using; you have a good foundation for understanding what should and shouldn’t be plugged into the same outlet.
Warning Signs of Outlet Overload
No matter how careful you are, accidents happen, and an occasional electrical system overload can occur. Knowing the warning signs is the best way to avoid tripping your breaker or an electrical fire.
Signs of an electrical overload:
- Wall plates are warm to the touch
- Electrical cords are warm or discolored
- Lights flickering or dimming
- Crackling or buzzing noises near outlets
If you are experiencing any of these warning signs in the Marion, Indiana area, call our experienced technicians at Knee’s Electrical Service today. Our family-owned company offers 24-hour service for all of your electrical needs.