As the weather cools off and we progress into December, you may be thinking of decorating the inside and outside of your home with holiday lights. One very important factor to keep in mind, though, is that the wiring in most homes—particularly older homes—is not properly equipped to handle the increased electrical demand placed on it by holiday lighting. Wires and connections can become corroded or loose over the years, only adding to the problem.
How Do Overloads Happen?
When more amperage passes through an electrical circuit or wire than it is intended to handle, the overloading can occur. Essentially, when you try to draw power for too many lights or appliances from a single outlet, this is what happens.
Though, even if you use different outlets, you still need to consider the overall capacity of your home’s electrical system. Your electrical wiring needs to be able to handle the total load of all the lights, in addition to the appliances and lighting that already depend on it.
How Do I Know If My System Is Overloaded?
There are a few warning signs to watch out for that indicate your electrical system is overloaded. These include:
- Momentary dimming of your lights, or frequent flickering.
- The sound of buzzing, crackling, or sizzling.
- Sparks flying when an outlet is used.
- Discolored wall plates or electric cords.
- Frequent tripped circuit breakers.
- Multiple electrical appliances in your home malfunctioning.
How Do I Prevent Overloads?
Many people may read the above information and decide not to install holiday lights, but that’s not necessary! To prevent overloads, before you install your lights simply call one of our professional electricians to inspect your electrical system. We’ll look for hidden hazards such as faulty or old wiring, and recommend upgrading your wiring or electrical panel if necessary.
An added benefit of upgrading your electrical panel for holiday lighting is that you won’t need to worry about adding additional appliances and home automation upgrades as well. You’ll be fully equipped to handle the increasing electrical demands that are placed on many homes throughout the country today.