This year several homes will experience fires due to overloaded electrical circuits, don’t let your home be one of those. We all like the pretty lights of the Christmas tree and other lights that signify the Christmas season. Unfortunately many homeowners don’t stop to consider what type of electrical load they may be placing on their homes wiring system. All too often we try to hide the fact that we needed to use multiple extension cords to get all the lights working. Most people will only use the closest receptacles to the lighted object such as a tree. The issue with trying to hide the cords is that many times we overload the circuit when we plug too many things into it.

The danger of  course is in the overheating of the circuit and eventual fire. Most homes today are set up with breaker panels that are supposed to trip if the load is too great. For example if you try to pull 20 amps through a 15 amp circuit the breaker should trip. The key word here is should. There are many documented events when a breaker has failed to trip under load and the result was a fire. If your home is older you could have a Federal Pacific panel or other older styles that have been known to be problematic in this type of over load situation. Before you get panicked over this situation I will say prevention is the best solution.

Do not overload a receptacle with more cords then it was designed to accommodate. If there are two places to plug something into that is all you should plug in to that receptacle. Furthermore don’t wrap several cords together and tuck them under the edge of the carpet to hide them from site. When you think about it there is a lot of electrical activity coursing through those wires and they are bound to get hot. The last thing you want is place them under a carpet that will insulate them and conceal smoke or fumes until it is too late. I suggest buying low wattage  and low heat light sets such as LED’s and pre-plan your electrical needs so you can avoid all the problems I alluded to above. May you enjoy this time of year in peace and safety, from my family to yours.