How to Prevent Circuit Overload During the Holidays

October 13, 2021 3:49 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Hanging lights and setting up decorations is a major component of getting in the holiday spirit, but while you’re decorating this year, be sure to avoid overloading your circuit. When you overload the circuit, you trip the breaker and temporarily lose power to a specific area of your home. Thankfully, preventing electrical overload is relatively simple. Follow these steps to ensure you don’t trip the breaker this year:

  • Calculate your circuit load: Before you bring out the holiday lights, take a moment to calculate your circuit load. Most circuits are rated for 15 to 20 amps. Look at the packaging for your decorations to see how much power they draw. If you reach 80 percent load, find another room to plug the next strand in.
  • Be careful with large appliances: One of our holiday decorating tips is to be mindful of which room you’re plugging your lights into. Hanging them in a room with a ton of large appliances could lead to circuit overload. Because it has so many appliances, the kitchen is often the number-one room to stay out of. If you absolutely must plug in your lights in a room with large appliances, consider unplugging all unused appliances beforehand.
  • Invest in LEDs: Have you been using those same old lights for years and years? Then you might consider ditching them and switching to energy-efficient LEDs. LED lights draw much less electricity, saving you money while lowering the risk of overload. Plus, you’ll be able to hang even more LED lights without worrying about overload.
  • Install more circuits: If you’re committed to having the most festive house on the block, you could have a new circuit installed. With a 20-amp circuit dedicated to holiday lights, you can rest easy knowing you won’t overload your circuit or accidentally start an electrical fire.

Signs of an overloaded circuits

Abiding by these rules goes a long way in preventing electrical overload, but it’s still important to know what electrical overload looks like. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Flickering lights: An overloaded circuit often starts with the lights flickering or growing dim. This problem will get worse each time you turn on a new appliance powered by that circuit.
  • Hot or smoking outlets: Right before an overloaded circuit breaker trips, the outlets may get hot to the touch or even start smoking. This is something to take very seriously, as it could lead to a house fire.
  • Burning smells: You might also have a burning smell in the house that goes along with the smoking outlet. When there’s smoke, there’s fire—be ready to call the fire department when you start to smell something burning.

Get an electrical evaluation today

One of our best holiday decorating tips is to contact Duke Electric Company before you bring the decorations down from the attic. We’ll send someone over right away to perform an in-depth electrical evaluation to ensure you won’t run into circuit overload or start a house fire this holiday season.

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