Perry Hall electrician - Tim Kyle

How Much Can You Plug into a Single Outlet?

If you’re suffering from a chronic outlet shortage, you’re probably constantly swapping out the plugs in those outlets. Are power strips or extension cords an answer to your problem? Read on to learn more from Perry Hall electrician about how much can you safely plug into a single outlet.

Outlet Safety: It’s the Power That Matters

When you plug too many things into the same outlet by using power strips and extension cords, you run the risk of drawing so much current that it overheats the wires and starts a fire. In fact, overloaded outlets are the number one cause of house fires. It’s actually not the number of things that are plugged into an outlet that matters so much as the total power all of those devices or appliances use. Several powerful appliances plugged into the same outlet could easily cause an overload. Whereas a half dozen of small devices would not draw as much energy.

A good rule of thumb is to assume that your outlets are on 15-amp circuits. Some modern homes have 20-amp circuits, but not all of them. It’s a good rule to plug devices drawing no more than 1,500 total watts of power in a circuit. In other words, to find out how many things you can plug into a power strip that’s plugged into a single outlet, look at the power rating for each device and add them up. If the total is equal to or less than 1,500 watts, it should be OK to plug in all those devices. Most important, note that most appliances are over 1,000 watts. Nothing else should be plugged into the same circuit as an appliance.

If one surge protector isn’t enough, consider using two surge protectors into a single outlet. However, that doesn’t mean that you can exceed the circuit’s maximum wattage. You should still add the wattages of each device or appliance together to make sure that you’re operating the circuit at a safe load.

Contact a Perry Hall Electrician

Do you need to add or upgrade electrical outlets in your home? Contact Tim Kyle Electric, Heating & Cooling. Our residential electrical services will take all of the stress out of powering your home. Let our experts work with you on any project and we guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with the process from start to finish! Contact us today.

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