Overloading your power circuits is dangerous. Every power circuit is rated for a specific wattage. You can tell how much power a specific circuit can deliver by the size of the circuit breaker. For example, a 15 amp circuit breaker will offer 1,800 watts. The higher the breaker amperage, the more watts that it will allow through.
However, if the draw is too high, the cable is coiled, or the heat has no place to escape, it will build up. This can cause the protective casing to melt and the wires to come into contact with each other. And that is why it is very important for us to invest in something reliable to prevent further damage and avoid catching fire.
This happens because all electricity passing through a wire generates heat. In most cases, this heat is not enough to damage the wiring. However, if the draw is too high, the cable is coiled, or the heat has no place to escape, it will build up. This can cause the protective casing to melt and the wires to come into contact with each other.
The heat and the resultant spark can ignite nearby material and cause a house fire.
This is why you should have a qualified and reputable Sydney electrician inspect your electrics every year. They will identify issues such as this and help you resolve them before the fire starts.
The Overloading Problem
Even knowing that overloads are possible may not be enough to stop you from causing one! For example, if you have just one socket in your kitchen then you will probably find this is not enough.
The correct response is to add additional circuits and increase your power capabilities. But, many people simply plug a splitter in, turning one socket into three, four, or sometimes more.
The result is you can plug multiple appliances in and quickly overload a circuit.
For example, if the socket is rated for 1,800 watts and you plug a kettle and a toaster in, you are already exceeding the wattage. If you are lucky the circuit breaker will react and shut down the circuit. If it doesn’t the cables will be overloaded and the circuit will start to overheat.
The overload will probably not result in a fire on the first attempt. But, the consequence is a virtual certainty.
Avoiding The Issue
The safest approach is to get your electrician to install additional sockets in your house and never reply on splitters or extensions. This will make it highly unlikely that any circuit will be overloaded.
While you are waiting for an electrician you should consider removing your splitters and trying to survive on the plugs you have. That means unplugging items when you are not using them and just plugging in the item you need to use.
It can also be beneficial to understand what wattage each item in your home uses. There are several common items that have a high-power draw. This includes kettles, cookers, hobs, and even heat styling tools for your hair.
Knowing the ones most likely to cause an overload will help you to protect your electrics until they have been overhauled by a qualified electrician.