What is an electric network overload and what is it dangerous?

The occurrence of network congestion can lead both to small trifling problems, including, for example, flickering of lighting in the apartment or weak interruptions in the operation of electrical devices, and very serious ones - ignition of the power supply network in particular and the entire room as a whole. The consequences of this outcome are sad, especially considering that getting rid of this phenomenon is quite simple. The article discusses the various causes of power overload, as well as methods of protection from this trouble.

Reasons and Solutions

The main three reasons for overloading the electrical network are:

  • excessive load on a specific power supply branch;
  • the use of electrical appliances whose real power exceeds the nominal value due to breakdown of the electrical filling;
  • untimely replacement of wiring due to its physical deterioration.


The first case can be attributed to the situation when problems start when several devices are connected to the same outlet. If you do not pay attention to them, the consequences will be very sad (at least as in the photo below).

So, we give a specific example: we have a socket for two sockets and we want to connect a washing machine and a microwave oven to it at the same time. In total, they consume, for example, 3.5 kilowatts. We turn on both devices, there is a click in the corridor - the light went out. Circuit breaker tripped. We come to him and read - 10 amperes. This means that this machine cuts off the load above this limit, and in terms of power (we multiply the amperes by the standard network voltage of 220 volts), this is 2.2 kilowatts. Here you can already make a terrible mistake - replace the machine with another one, with a limit of 16 amperes and above. By plugging in two powerful devices again into the socket, we smell the unpleasant smell of burning electrical wiring (this is potentially the cause of the fire, which is why the mistake is terrible). We turn it off, look at the outlet, and 10 amperes are also engraved on it. And again we run to the hardware store for a new 16 amp socket, more resistant to overload. She certainly will withstand the power of 3500 watts.

But just putting it in its place, the situation has not improved - we are still choking on the plastic amber. How so? Already the machine has been changed, and the socket. Leads now a wire. True, he does not fail us, but we him. The wire is also an element of the mains, and during construction it was, like the machine with a socket, laid with the calculation of the load on the current strength of 10 amperes.

To replace the wire, you will have to tight - this is already very painstaking work, consisting in dismantling the wall decoration in the places where it is laid. Therefore, we are forced to admit with pain in our hearts - the devices will have to be turned on separately, and the money for more powerful electrical equipment was wasted. True, not entirely in vain.We will buy a powerful wire with a cross section of 2.5 square millimeters and draw it from the shield with a new machine through cable channels to a fresh 16 amp socket. That's just the appearance will be hopelessly spoiled.

The moral is that in order to provide protection against power overload, you need to make sure that absolutely all of its elements are not subjected to loads above their nominal value in a particular area.

Ministry of Emergency Situations

For this, even at the stage of construction or overhaul, it is necessary to carefully plan how many electrical appliances will be used, how they will be located and how much power they will consume. Choose according to freely available tables the necessary electrical equipment, and take it with a margin. For example, 3 × 2.5 mm2 wires would be enough for us, and we will overpay and take 3 × 4 mm2, a more powerful outlet and select the right machine - and then there will be no problems with wiring for many decades - it will be extremely difficult to overload such an electrical network. About, how to calculate the cable cross-section by power We talked in a separate article. We also recommend that you study the information on how to divide wiring into groups, which is an equally effective method of protection against power overload in the apartment and house.

Electrical appliance malfunction

We will understand what it is and what threatens it. In fact, this is a special case of overloading the electric network, only here everything is nominally based on science, but in fact the power of the device is exceeded. This can happen for a number of reasons; listing them does not make sense. There is only one defense against the situation - circuit breaker or difavtomat (combines the functions of the machine and RCD). If all else being equal you knocks corks in the shield - the device must be repaired or replaced.

Untimely wiring replacement

Everything is clear here too. This is how the problem arises - old wires in the places of contacts, bends and movements gradually break down and wear out. In these areas, the cross section of the live part decreases sharply, and with it the throughput becomes less. Especially for aluminum, which are clogged with all the old apartments. To provide protection against fire, electric shock and short circuit, and, of course, a banal overload of the mains, overhaul of the wiring is sometimes necessary. About, how to replace wiring in an apartment, we detailed in a separate article.


Thanks to the article, the reader found out how to protect yourself from overload in the mains. But in the end, there is another sure method of protection - seek the help of an experienced electrician and periodically diagnose the network for malfunctions, even if it is relatively new. Do not disdain and do not spare money - this is the life and health of both yours and your neighbors.

Finally, we recommend watching a useful video on the topic:

So we examined the main reasons for the overload of the power grid, the consequences of this phenomenon, as well as ways of protection at home. We hope the information was useful and interesting for you!

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