When you move into a new house, what do you look for? You probably look at the interiors, facilities, whether the community is friendly, a safe neighborhood, and so on.
But, do you count the electrical outlets in the house? Or even ask yourself, how many things can I plug into one outlet if the house doesn’t have enough? We can bet that the answer is ‘no.’
When there are not enough outlets to plug things in, people are forced to use one outlet for multiple appliances. So, you should know the risks of plugging too many things into a single outlet to avoid disasters. And that’s what we’ll cover today in this guide.
How Many Appliances Can I Plug into One Outlet?
Generally, it is better not to use more than two appliances in a single outlet. There are fuse boxes and circuit breakers, but they can only do so much. Most circuit breakers operate at 15-20 amps. They can handle one or two appliances just fine. But when you plug in more than that, there is a high chance of overloading.
What Are The Risks of Plugging Multiple Things Into One Outlet?
Many households witness the overloading of their electrical outlets during the holidays. If you can’t determine how many lights you can plug into one outlet, you can miscalculate your circuit breaker’s capacity.
There are more people during the holidays as well. Families and friends can come over, leading to increased demand for electrical outlets. Using an outlet splitter can seem like an easy solution, but it can also be a risky one.
Most people get away with using too many appliances in a single outlet. Using multi-plugs, outlet splitters, and power strips are too common in many households. Too many plugs in one outlet run the risk of overloading.
Overloaded electrical outlets are a common cause of fire hazards. Just because you have not encountered any accidents yet, does not mean that they will not happen in the future. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
How Many Computers Can You Plug into One Outlet?
A lot of the old buildings have old wiring. Those old buildings’ wiring and electrical components are not capable enough to handle the pressure of appliances we use today.
Pressure like that can lead to a short circuit which can cause the outlet to catch fire. So, it’s best not to use more than one computer into one outlet.
How Safe Are Outlet Splitters?
Outlet splitters or multi-plugs are an effective way of plugging in multiple appliances. The danger of using an outlet splitter was a much larger issue back in the day. Back when many circuits did not come with a fuse or breakers. It caused the wires to heat up when people plugged in too many things at once. The overheated wires led to fire hazards.
The risk is not as great now, but it is better to be cautious. As we mentioned, most households work at around 15 amps in the circuit breakers. With that, you can use 120V at 1500-1800 watts. If you plug in multiple appliances that combine into 1800 watts, there should be no risk.
There might be a risk if your circuit has been modified. When more electricity is sent in an outlet than you have calculated, it can lead to overheated wires. The same can happen if the wiring or cords of your house is below average. Many power strips come with their breakers to avoid these sorts of risks.
But you should still be aware of the risks when using many things in one outlet via power strips.
What Are The Symptoms of An Overloaded Outlet?
You can do all the necessary calculations before plugging things into an outlet. But accidents can happen at any time. Keep an eye out for certain symptoms that your circuit might be facing an overload.
- Lights are flickering occasionally
- Dimmed lights when a new appliance is plugged
- Switchboards look discolored
- Wires are fading color rapidly
- Outlets heat up and feel warm to the touch
- Unusual noises coming from outlets
- Outlets are melting because of overheating
What To Do If There Is An Outlet Overload?
If you experience any of the mentioned signs of an outlet overload, you should be extra cautious. Do not wait for the outlet to explode or a fire to catch. As soon as you notice any one of these signs in your house, try to follow some steps to ensure the risk is reduced.
- Avoid plugging in multiple devices at once
- Avoid using wires that look damaged
- Avoid using damaged cords
- Do not plug in anything to a damaged outlet
- If it is avoidable, do not use devices for long periods
- Consult an electrician to check your circuit
- Find out if there is any damage to any of the outlets
- If there are any sparks, do not use water to put them out
- Call the fire department or the emergency number if you notice anything unusual in the outlets
How to Prevent Overloading Sockets?
Sometimes, there is no alternative to using too many devices at the same time. Installing new outlets is a different level of hassle not many people want to associate with. You can use surge protectors to prevent disasters.
A surge protector can protect appliances such as computers, refrigerators, microwaves, and more. With a surge protector, all your appliances are protected from unusual power surges. Even when high voltage electricity passes through an outlet, a surge protector can divert it into a grounding wire, so your devices are safe.
You can put two surge protectors in one outlet to be safer. It can ensure better protection against sudden power surges. But more surge protectors do not mean more wattage in your circuit. Even with a surge protector in place, you should calculate the voltage and the amount of wattage your circuit can handle. Do not plug too many things in one outlet if there is a chance of the appliances exceeding the maximum wattage.
So, how many things can you plug into one outlet? To be honest, there’s no definite answer. It depends on the appliance. If it’s something that requires too much electricity, then even two would be a lot.
It’s best not to use more than two appliances in a single outlet. No one would want an open fire in the house just because they had a microwave and a hair dryer plugged into the same outlet.
I’m James. The author of Electricalaffairs.com. It’s been my passion to deal with power tools and gears. This website is mainly to talk about electrical wirings, lighting, various power source tools and accessories. I want to explore tackles and help people to grow their basic knowledge about electrical things. I would also like to help people to pick the right power tool for their daily needs.