Causes of Overheated Electrical Panels and Outlets

30 November 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

Electrical overheating can be very dangerous. For this reason, it is important to manage your electrical appliances and equipment effectively. Understanding the causes of electrical overheating will help you find solutions to the problem and prevent fatal outcomes such as outbreak of electrical fires and costly repairs. Here are some of the common causes of electrical overheating and how to solve them.

Insufficient Wiring

Insufficient wiring is one of the major causes of electrical overheating. Inadequate wiring causes an imbalance in the amount of electrical current or power flowing through the wires. That is, when more power flows through the wires than they can handle, electrical overheating occurs. Insufficient wiring can also be a result of having the wrong size of electrical wires. In most cases, this problem is caused by faulty DIY repairs. Therefore, unless you understand electrical repairs and procedures, call in an electrician to rectify the wiring problems.

Poor Connections

Poor electrical connections can also cause overheating. For instance, the screws holding wires to terminals could be loose or damaged. With such loose connections, huge amounts of electrical currents are generated and concentrated over a small area for a relatively long time. This leads to arcing or the generation of sparks that cause the overheating. Poor connections are often caused by loose or damaged metal components in your electrical connections. This issue can be rectified by identifying the loose parts and tightening them. If they are damaged, replace them.

Excessive Current

If extremely large amounts of electric current flow through your electrical connections, overheating may occur. Excessive current is often caused by ground faults, excessive loads, or short circuits. Therefore, check whether you added a new load or electrical appliance such as a microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, or a washing machine to a circuit whose electrical panels and outlets are overheated. For such large appliances, consider dedicating separate outlets and circuits for them. Also, consider installing GFCI outlets.

However, overheating by excessive electrical currents is rare because fuses and circuit breakers often work to prevent the excess current from flowing.

Damaged Insulation

When the insulation breaks down, strands of the live wire may get in contact with strands of the neutral or earth wires, leading to arcing. The sparks from the arcing then causes the electrical components to overheat.

Some of the common signs of electrical overheating include discoloured outlets, cracked plugs, and frayed cords. You need to address these warning signs as soon as possible to prevent potential hazards caused by the overheating.