How to Fix an Outlet Overload

Household electrical outlets are generally wired in a circuit where a certain number of outlets are connected to one circuit breaker in the home's breaker box. The circuit breaker itself is sized in amps (15, 20, 30), meaning it will allow appliances to be installed into the outlets and used as long as the total number of amps at any time doesn't exceed the breaker's amperage number. If more amps are used, the circuit breaker automatically switches off, stopping power to the outlets. The breaker must be switched back on before any of the outlets can be reused.

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Circuit breakers are found in the home's breaker box.

Step 1

Unplug all electrical appliances from the outlets on the circuit connected to the breaker that has switched off.

Step 2

Open the front cover of the home's breaker box. The box is usually located on an outside wall or inside the cellar/buildup area.

Step 3

Look for the circuit breaker that has switched off. Its switch will either be at the "off" position or halfway between the "on" and "off" positions. Turn the switch fully to the "off" position (if positioned halfway), then turn it to the "on" position.

Step 4

Plug the electrical appliances back into the outlets, one at a time. If the breaker switches off immediately after an appliance has been plugged into one of the outlets, move that appliance to another outlet circuit in the home. Go back to the breaker box and switch the breaker back on as before. Close the breaker box's front cover.


Steve Sloane

Steve Sloane started working as a freelance writer in 2007. He has written articles for various websites, using more than a decade of DIY experience to cover mostly construction-related topics. He also writes movie reviews for Inland SoCal. Sloane holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and film theory from the University of California, Riverside.