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How To Tell if Your Electrical Panel Is Overloaded

You likely don’t think much about your home’s electrical panel; it’s just the metal box in your utility room with all those switches and labels. But that unobtrusive box is critical to your home’s operation, and it’s worth paying attention to.

A hand holding an orange flashlight up to an electrical panelAn electrical panel manages the electricity coming into the home from the source outside and directs power to specific areas.

A panel contains the main breaker, which controls power for the whole house, and individual breakers, which control power for certain parts of the house, such as the kitchen. (Older panels may have fuses instead.)

Panels are built to handle a certain amount of electricity, so you may overload your panel if you have several high-draw systems plugged in at once. This can happen with plugging in too many appliances or even too many holiday decorations on one circuit, especially on panels not meant to handle today’s volume of electricity usage.

If your electrical panel is overloaded, it can damage devices such as computers, televisions, and fridges, and it may also result in injuries to you or a loved one.

When your panel is overloaded, it should be dealt with using extreme caution, and it’s highly recommended to have it corrected by a professional from Lon Lockwood Electric.

Signs Your Electrical Panel May Be Overloaded

When you start plugging in more and more appliances, it’s especially important to look out for signs that your electrical panel may be producing an abnormally high amount of current. Here are a few telltale signs to help you determine when this may be happening.

Power Outages

Power outages are one of the most common and blatant signs that your electrical panel is overloaded. These happen when your breakers trip and you’re left without power. Breakers can trip without your electrical panel being overloaded, but if one or more are frequently tripping, it could mean you’re exceeding your home’s power capabilities.


If your breakers or wires are met with excessive amounts of current, it can lead to overheating, which can be a risky fire hazard. If you notice appliances are hot to the touch, melting, or burning, or wires are cracked or frayed, have them inspected by a professional ASAP.


When you notice buzzing sounds or sparks, it’s a sign of a major electrical issue, whether it’s an overloaded electrical panel or worn-out parts needing a replacement. This can also be a significant fire hazard that must be addressed immediately.

How To Fix an Overloaded Electrical Panel

One of the best ways to ease an overloaded electrical panel is by shifting around where you have things plugged in. Spreading out your appliances and the load between each circuit breaker will help ensure one isn’t working much harder than the other.

Older homes weren’t built with modern electricity in mind. If you live in an older home, you’re likely at a higher risk of an overloaded electrical panel if it hasn’t been upgraded.

Lon Lockwood Electric will be there to assess your home’s needs, determine the right sized panel for you, and upgrade as necessary so you’re not faced with the risk of damaged appliances or potential injuries. Trust us, and we’ll ensure your home is safe and keep up with your many electrical needs.

Afraid you may have an overloaded electrical panel? Call 585-766-4702, and we’ll be there fast to make sure everything is in order.