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Calculating Electric Load Capacity

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Did you know that your houses have only limited electric capacity? Electric overload may cause damage and explosion on your circuits without you even knowing.

So think first before you turn on all of your appliances at once. Learning to calculate your household’s electric load capacity is so much better than to overload your circuit and cause fire accidents.

Electric Load Capacity

It refers to the maximum electric load the circuits could carry. Electricity comes from power suppliers and electric poles receive them to distribute for your home use. 

Residential houses have different electric capacities. It depends on how old they are or how updated the electrical wiring is. The standard electric load for them is usually 100-amp, but if they stand before 1960, they probably have a 60-amp capacity. Meanwhile, for large houses, especially those with more appliances and devices, they have a minimum capacity of 200-amp.

Fundamental Electrical Concepts

You probably know basic electrical concepts like the protons and electrons have positive and negative signs respectively, this time you can learn about their flow and units.  

.Three fundamental components to calculate your capacity are: 

  • Amps – short for ampere, it is the unit for the electric current which is the flow electrons through a circuit. This measures the amount of electrical charge flowing per second.
  • Volts – it is the unit for voltage. It measures how strong the pressure pushes the electric flow.
  • Watts – it is the unit for wattage. It measures the amount of electrical power in a system.

For an analogy, the circuit works like how the water flows from a pipe. The water pressure in pipes is the volts, and the water flow rate is the amps. Meanwhile, a water wheel represents watts which depends on the pressure, the more pressure it exerts, the more power it generates.

How should you Protect your Electric Load Capacity 

Once electricity from the power suppliers reaches your home, your circuits further distribute the power supply. An electrical circuit is a path where electricity flows. A single electric circuit contains appliances and lighting connected to a power source through cables.

On average, a regular house contains around 4 or 5 electrical circuits where each of them has a limited load capacity. 

A circuit breaker is the first line of defence from overloading your circuit. It is a switch that protects wiring connections by interrupting the current when overloading or short circuit happens.

Electricians recommend dedicating a single circuit for appliances that consume a lot of energy such as refrigerator, air conditioner, washing machine, and dishwasher to avoid overload. 

You can avoid spending money from repairs due to overloading by at least having basic knowledge in calculating your electric load.

Calculating your Electric Load Capacity

By relating the fundamental concepts of an electrical system, you can now compute your electric load capacity with the help of this equation: Watts = Amps x Volts. 

Below is a 10-step process on how to determine if overload will occur in your electric circuit:

  1. Identify a circuit you wish to calculate the electric load capacity.
  2. Determine the amp value of the circuit breaker of your chosen circuit. This usually has a value of 15-amp or 20-amp.
  3. Multiply the amp by 0.8 since circuit breakers should not exceed 80% of their maximum amp value. Label this as the amp supply.
  4. Determine the wattage of the appliances on your chosen circuit. It is usually displayed at the back of the unit.
  5. Identify the voltage supply of your house. It is usually different for each country, the US and Canada supply 120V, Europe supplies 220 V, while Australia supplies  230V.
  6. Calculate the individual amp value of your appliances by using Amps = Watts / Volts. 
  7. Add the individual amp value of your appliances to get the total amp demand. Label this as amp demand.
  8. If amp demand amp supply, then plugging in your appliances all at once in the chosen circuit is no problem. But if it is the other way around, be careful not to use all of them at once since overload will happen.  
  9. If you want to know the percentage use of a circuit, divide amp demand by amp supply and multiply by 100. A value greater than 100 will also mean an overloaded circuit. 
  10. Repeat the steps above to the other electrical circuits in your house.


Electrical connections confuse you at times but once you determine how your electrical circuits work, it helps to ease your doubts. 

Always remember that overloading your electric circuits can bring hazards not only for you but for the community as well. It could cause damage to your appliances, contribute to circuit failures, and worse, cause fires. It is important to familiarise yourself with your electric circuits and learn the basic calculation of electric load capacity.

We at Sydney Inner West Electricians prioritise your safety by checking your electrical wiring and assess if repairs and rewiring are necessary. We could also upgrade your electrical circuits so you can worry less about your electrical loads anymore. 

We are not only limited to residential houses, but we also accommodate your office’s electrical needs. With our Level 2 electricians, fast and quality work is undoubtedly guaranteed! 

Call us now at (02) 8378 2829 or book an appointment here

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