The Importance of Dedicated Circuits
You might not pay much attention to how your house is wired. That is, until you turn on your hair dryer while the microwave is running and there’s a loud POP and then nothing works anymore. Even if you haven’t experienced it, you’re probably heard of blowing a fuse or tripping a breaker, and this is what causes it - drawing more current than the circuit can handle. An easy way to do this is to have too many outlets coming from the same circuit.
While it isn’t feasible to have a dedicated circuit for every single outlet in your home, there are some things that should have one for safety, convenience, and performance.
A few things happen when you overload a circuit. First, it stops working, which is obviously inconvenient. But most important is the reason it stops working; when a circuit overloads, it also overheats. This overheating can do anything from damaging what’s plugged in to it, to frying the circuit itself, to starting an electrical fire.
National electrical code actually requires dedicated circuits for most large appliances to make sure they can function without overloading the electrical panel and causing damage.
While it isn’t more important than your safety, the inconvenience of tripping breakers is a huge headache. Maybe you’re in the middle of cooking dinner but everything shuts off because someone opens the garage door - no matter how small the inconvenience seems, it builds and makes it annoying to just do the basic things that help you live your life.
In addition to kitchen appliances, anything that “kicks on” (think about a sump pump or air conditioner turning on sporadically rather than constantly running) or isn’t constantly in use but draws a lot of power (like a hot tub) can also benefit from its own circuit. Circuits can also be dedicated to specific rooms, like the bathroom or the garage, to prevent rooms from interfering with each other.
A final benefit of a dedicated circuit, especially when it comes to appliances, is providing the proper power for optimal performance. There are different power levels for circuits and requirements vary by appliance; for example, a phone charger and a washing machine don’t use the same amount of power. By putting appliances on their own circuits, you ensure that they’re running at the proper levels, which can extend the life and performance of the appliance. Higher amp circuits (30-50 amp) also often have more protections in place to prevent drawing too much power and starting a fire.
If you’re constantly tripping breakers or just trying to avoid that with an upcoming project, call us to discuss dedicated circuits and how they can help your home work more efficiently.