If you are experiencing frequent power outages or if certain circuits in your home keep tripping, you may have an overloaded circuit. Electrical overload occurs when too much current flows through a circuit, exceeding its maximum capacity. This can result in overheating and potential fire hazards. In this article, we will discuss how to find and fix overloaded circuits.

Signs of an Overloaded Circuit

Before we dive into troubleshooting overloaded circuits, it’s important to understand the signs that may indicate an overloaded circuit:

  • Frequent circuit breaker tripping
  • Dimming or flickering lights
  • Burning smell coming from outlets or switches
  • Hot outlets or switches
  • Discolored outlets or switch plates
  • Sparks or crackling sounds from outlets

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of your home.

Identifying the Overloaded Circuit

The first step in fixing an overloaded circuit is to identify which circuit is causing the problem. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Locate your electrical panel or circuit breaker box. This is usually found in the basement, garage, or utility room.
  2. Open the panel door and inspect the circuit breakers. Each breaker should be labeled to indicate which area or appliance it controls. Look for any breakers that are in the “tripped” position or have moved slightly from the fully “on” position.
  3. If you have a multi-story home or a large property, it may be challenging to identify which circuit is causing the issue. In this case, you can enlist the help of a professional electrician who has the necessary tools and expertise to accurately identify and troubleshoot the problem.

Once you have identified the overloaded circuit, it’s time to alleviate the burden on that circuit or circuits.

Reducing the Load on Overloaded Circuits

To prevent further disruptions and potential hazards, you can take the following steps to reduce the load on overloaded circuits:

  • Unplug unnecessary devices: Identify appliances or electronics that are connected to the overloaded circuit and unplug them. Distribute the load among other circuits or consider using power strips with built-in circuit breakers to provide additional protection.
  • Upgrade your electrical panel: If you frequently experience overloaded circuits, it may be time to consider upgrading your electrical panel. A professional electrician can assess your electrical needs and recommend the appropriate panel upgrade.
  • Reorganize circuits: In some cases, the electrical distribution in your home may not be optimized, resulting in overloaded circuits. An electrician can help reorganize the circuits to ensure a more balanced and efficient setup.
  • Install dedicated circuits: Certain high-demand appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators, or washing machines may require dedicated circuits. This means that they have their circuit breaker and are not sharing the load with other appliances or outlets.

By implementing these measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of overloading circuits and improve the overall safety and efficiency of your electrical system.

When to Seek Professional Help

While you can take certain steps to address overloaded circuits on your own, it’s essential to recognize when professional help is needed. Consider contacting a licensed electrician in the following situations:

  • If you are unsure about how to identify an overloaded circuit
  • If you are unable to find the source of the overload
  • If you are uncomfortable working with electricity
  • If you have made the necessary adjustments but continue to experience frequent circuit breaker tripping or other electrical issues

Remember, safety should always be the top priority when dealing with electrical problems. A licensed electrician has the expertise and equipment to diagnose and resolve complex electrical issues safely.

For professional electrical troubleshooting and fault finding services, you can rely on Phase Electrical Services. With their team of experienced electricians, they can help you identify and fix overloaded circuits, ensuring the safety and efficiency of your electrical system.


Overloaded circuits can pose a significant risk to the safety of your home and should be addressed promptly. By understanding the signs of an overloaded circuit, identifying the problem area, and taking appropriate measures to reduce the load, you can improve the safety and efficiency of your electrical system. If in doubt, always consult a professional electrician who can provide expert advice and assistance.