January 10, 2022

The average Australian household has a wide variety of appliances that rely on electricity. And that number grows each year as shiny new gadgets and smart devices hit the market. In fact, the Australian appliance market is expected to explode to $1.1 billion within the next few years! As a result, more than 25 percent of household energy is used up by these appliances alone. Unfortunately, though, these appliances aren’t typically spread out evenly across a home. Appliance-heavy areas (e.g., kitchens, entertainment areas, etc.) are often overloaded with many different devices, often relying on a single power point to power them. This is power point overload and it is not only messy and inefficient, but unsafe.

Read on for more about what constitutes powerpoint overload and what you can do to avoid it!

What is A Powerpoint Overload?

Powering your smartphone and turning on the TV are regular, everyday activities for most Australians. But, behind every appliance, there’s a complex network of electrical wiring. Your power points act as electrical circuits, which are connected by wiring to your circuit breaker. This circuit breaker distributes power from power plants across your home. Each circuit (i.e., power point) can only handle a certain load (i.e., amount of electricity). Each new appliance adds to that total load. When your load is exceeded, it can cause power point overload.

Are Powerpoint Overloads Dangerous

One of the first signs a power point is overloaded is dealing with a tripped circuit breaker. Each home has a circuit breaker, and that circuit breaker is responsible for distributing electricity throughout your home. When it detects an overloaded power point or faulty electrical problem, it trips (i.e., shuts off) power to the problem area.

Fortunately, most circuit breakers are designed to prevent intense overheating. However, they aren’t always perfect. And constantly overloaded power points can still cause significant damage to your electrical wiring.

What Causes A Powerpoint Overload?

While there are a variety of issues that can theoretically cause a powerpoint overload, we routinely see these three common issues:

  1. Too many extension cords or power bricks plugged into a power circuit: With so many electronics and appliances overwhelming our lives, it can be challenging to figure out a place to put them all. This is especially true for appliance-dense areas. For example, your kitchen may have a fridge, microwave, coffee brewer, mixer, espresso machine, and timer all plugged into a single power point via extension cords and power bricks. Or, you may have a significant number of electronics plugged into a single outlet in the living room.
  2. A lack of power points: As simple as it sounds, many houses simply have too few power points. This is especially true for older homes. If you only have one or two power points in your entire kitchen, trying not to overload those power points may seem impossible.
  3. Too many high amp appliances: Each appliance draws a certain amount of amps. Plugging a few space heaters into the same outlet is a surefire way to cause a powerpoint overload. Remember, it’s not necessarily how many total appliances are plugged into your powerpoint. It’s how many total amps are being drawn. That may come from a large number of small appliances or a few large, high-amp appliances.

So, we know that “too many appliances” is the most common cause of powerpoint overloads. But how can you tell if your power point is actually overloaded?

10 Signs Your Power Points Are Overloaded

Here are the 10 most common signs your power points are getting overloaded.

  1. Appliances plugged into the powerpoint are having issues working as intended
  2. High amp appliances connected to the power point fail to draw power
  3. Lights connected to the power point’s circuit are flickering or dimmer than usual
  4. Power point covers are physically hot to the touch
  5. Power point covers are discoloured or smell like they’re burning
  6. Your circuit breaker keeps tripping
  7. You hear faint buzzing or crackling noises coming from your powerpoint or appliances
  8. You feel a shock whenever you touch appliances connected to the power point
  9. Your power point (or any connected extensions) look burned or scorched
  10. Any appliances connected to the power point are warmer than usual

It’s important to note that many of these “signs” can also be caused by other electrical issues. For example, loose wiring can cause burning smells and buzzing sounds. And heat irradiating from a powerpoint can be a sign of a short circuit. It’s crucial to contact your local electrician if you notice any of the issues above. Don’t waste time. Remember, electrical issues have the potential to cause harm and significant property damage.

How to Fix Powerpoint Overload

Fixing overloaded power points can be harder than it sounds. Chances are, you utilise most of the appliances causing the overload issue. Over the years, we’ve found that the most suitable solution is typically to install more power points. Depending on the age of your home and the state of your wiring, installing a few new power points is an affordable, low-cost option for most homeowners. Alternatively, you can attempt to spread your appliance burden out across your home. But this often requires some design changes and possible furniture rearrangement.

Remember, avoiding overloading your powerpoints can help you maximise power safety in your home. Keep an eye out for potential electrical hazards, and if you have any concerns or issues, we can help.