You may have noticed that some outlets are designed to handle multiple appliances, with the outlet box having two or more holes for plugs. This is often the case in older homes, where a previous homeowner likely installed a surge protector.
But can you plug two surge protectors into the same outlet to power multiple devices?
The short answer—Yes. If your outlet has two holes for plugs, you can use either one of those slots to plug in your surge protector—and then use both slots on the other side of the outlet to plug in additional appliances.
However, while this is technically possible, you should remember a few things before proceeding. And in this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know.
Is It Safe to Plug Two Surge Protectors into the Same Outlet?
Generally speaking, yes, it is safe to plug two surge protectors into one outlet. However, there are a handful of things you’ll want to keep in mind before doing so:
Load and Rating
You’ll need to ensure that your surge protector can handle the additional load. Check the amperage rating on your surge protector and compare it to the wattage rating of the devices you’re plugging into it. If the devices exceed the amperage rating, you’ll need to find a different way to power them.
In most cases, two surge protectors will not offer twice the protection. In fact, they may actually cancel each other out. Most surge protectors work by diverting excess electricity away from your devices and into the ground. If you have two surge protectors plugged into the same outlet, they may fight each other to provide this protection, ultimately damaging your devices.
Why It’s Not Recommended to Plug Two Surge Protectors into the Same Outlet?
As we mentioned earlier, one of the biggest reasons is that two surge protectors may cancel each other out. But there are a few other things to consider as well:
- It’s generally unnecessary. In most cases, one surge protector will be more than enough to protect your devices. And if you have multiple devices that need protection, you can simply plug them all into the same surge protector.
- If you’re using a surge protector with a higher voltage rating than the one you’re plugging into, it can damage your equipment.
- You may risk shortening the lifespan of your equipment by overloading the circuit.
- If something trips a circuit breaker, then both of your surge protectors may be damaged.
- When you plug multiple surge protectors into one outlet, they have to share the same power source. And when one of them (or both) isn’t rated for the additional load, it could overheat, especially if they’re plugged in for extended periods of time. It can cause a fire hazard.
How to Safely Plug Two Surge Protectors into the Same Outlet?
Putting two surge protectors in the same outlet is only dangerous if the outlet is overloaded. Conductors in the receptacle will overheat if more current is allowed to flow through them than the rating permits. The following tips can help you avoid overloading the wall socket while safely plugging two surge protectors.
Find out what circuit controls the outlet. The process involves going to your electrical panel and turning off your circuit breakers one at a time. Check the outlet you are trying to turn off when you turn the breakers off. You want to turn off the breaker that turns off the outlet.
Determine the rating of the circuit breaker after you have located it. The average circuit breaker is rated between 15 and 20 amps. Pay close attention to the outlet type as well. A three-prong outlet is 120 volts; a diagonal prong outlet is 240 volts.
Knowing your outlet’s limits will allow you to figure out how much power the appliances you want to connect to the surge protectors will consume.
Add up the wattages of your devices. This method will accurately portray the surge protector load when the attached appliances are connected to both of them. As long as the wattage of appliances hooked up to the surge protector does not exceed the outlet’s rating, you should be ok.
Why You Shouldn’t Daisy-Chain Two Surge Protectors
Even if a total load of devices plugged into two surge protectors plugged into the same outlet doesn’t exceed the capacity of that outlet, daisy-chaining surge protectors is still not recommended.
The main reason is that most surge protectors have MOVs (metal oxide varistors) inside them. These components are designed to conduct excess electricity away from your devices and into the ground. But they can only handle a certain amount of electricity before they fail.
When two surge protectors are daisy-chained, they effectively share the same ground. This means if there’s a power surge, both surge protectors will try to divert the electricity into the ground. Both MOVs can be overwhelmed and fail if the surge is too strong. This could leave your devices unprotected in the event of another power surge.
So, while daisy-chaining two surge protectors may not immediately cause any problems, it’s not a good idea in the long run. If you need to protect multiple devices, it’s better to plug them all into the same surge protector. This way, you only have to worry about one MOV failing instead of two.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that you can plug two surge protectors into the same outlet—many of us probably have done so with some frequency.
Yet, it’s helpful to know the answer before heading out to buy a surge protector or moving into a new house. So, before you start plugging, take this quick and easy quiz to see if you really know what you’re doing. And if you’re still unsure, you can always consult an electrician.
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.