The modern home has dozens of items plugged into wall sockets at any given time. Think about it for a moment: phone chargers, televisions, gaming systems, household appliances, lamps—it seems just about everything has a plug or a charger these days. And when you plug too many things into an outlet at once, you create a hazard for your home and family. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, overloaded sockets are responsible for over 5,000 residential fires annually! If you don’t want to join that statistic, our electricians at Harrison Electric are here to give you a few tips to keep your household safe.

Limit Your Plug-Ins Per Outlet

A common misconception is that using a surge protector allows you to plug in as many items as you want; however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Each item plugged into your surge protector still draws the same amount of voltage from the outlet. If you use a surge protector, you have more outlets available than the standard two that typically comprise a wall socket. When you fill the surge protector with plugs, you draw far more voltage from the wall socket than you would if you used the existing two sockets. In essence, filling a surge protector actually puts your socket at a higher risk of overload.

In addition, you can also damage your home's infrastructure and the appliances plugged into the socket, costing you more time and money.

Check Your Circuit Breaker Frequently

If you have a circuit that trips continually, you could be at risk for an overloaded socket, and potentially, a house fire. A circuit breaker that trips frequently is a clear indication that something isn’t quite right. Take a look at your circuits and inspect the sockets they control. If you notice any discoloration around any of your outlets, stop using that outlet immediately and call a professional electrician. A professional can inspect your wiring to determine where the problem originates, and can quickly and safely repair the issue.

Have a Professional Electrical Inspection

If your home is properly wired, your chances of a fire stemming from an overloaded socket are much lower. If you feel like you’re constantly blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers, your home’s wiring may not be up-to-date. During an inspection, your electrician will thoroughly examine the circuits and wiring in your home to determine where hazards may exist. Afterward, they can perform electrical upgrades and rewiring to ensure your system is safe and up to code.

Signs of Overloaded Outlets

If you don't have much experience with electricity safety training, the fuse box may be the only item you are familiar with. The system is complex, but here are a few issues that can arise:

  • Warm or Hot Outlets

The wall plates are in place to protect your outlets and keep you safe from the electrical system. If you're finding discoloration or warmth around the outlet covers, this is a significant warning sign there is an overloaded circuit, and you need to call a professional immediately.

  • Dimming or Flickering Lights

If your lights start blinking, flickering, or dimming, this could indicate an overloaded circuit. This is an indicator that the lights are not getting enough electricity, so you may need a professional to determine adjustments that need to be made.

  • Buzzing Sounds

A low hum or a buzzing sound can indicate a problem with the circuit. The sounds may mean it is overloaded, or there is a problem inside the electrical panel.

  • Burning Smells

The burning smell could come from multiple issues, including damaged or exposed wiring, an overloaded circuit board, a fire, or wiring not installed professionally. This is a dangerous situation and needs to be addressed by an electrician as soon as possible.

Indicators You Need an Electrical Update

The electrical wiring in your home will wear down like anything else, and whether you're dealing with cracked, damaged, worn, or corroded wires; eventually, they will need to be updated. A few indicators you may need to update your electrical system include:

  • You have to use extension cords regularly due to not enough plug-ins
  • The breakers won't reset on the control panel
  • The home is an older piece of property and uses a fuse box
  • You are planning on renovating your home or adding new appliances in

Electrical Repair and Rewiring in the Twin Cities

Overloaded sockets are a very common occurrence, but you can protect your home and family by taking the proper precautions. At Harrison Electric, we’re here to provide the best in electrical repair, rewiring, and upgrades to help ensure your home is up to code, and more importantly, safe. If you think your home’s electrical work may be out-of-date or not up to code, give us a call. To schedule your service, or to get an electrical repair quote, contact our team at 763-544-3300.