How Much Is Too Much To Plug Into an Electric Outlet

Most households in Medford have multiple electronic devices, and it’s not unusual for some rooms to run out of plugs altogether. Many solve this problem using power strips and adapters to turn one outlet into four. However, many people do not know that electrical outlets have their limits. When an outlet gets overloaded, it could trip the breaker, blow the circuit, or even start a house fire. Below are some tips for avoiding overloading electric outlets and some best practices for maintaining electric outlet safety.

Know Your Limits

First, all homeowners should understand the limits of their home’s circuit breaker and rating. A breaker controls the flow of electricity, and too much power flowing through trips the breaker, cutting power to certain circuits to prevent a fire or damage to the system. A single circuit should not exceed 80% power, so some appliances with high power use, such as refrigerators or air conditioning units, have a dedicated circuit in the breaker box.

Use Extension Cords and Power Strips Wisely

Extension cords and power strips may seem like the answer to the ever-decreasing number of empty outlets in a household, but if used improperly, they can be dangerous.

  • Only use power strips labeled UL or ETL, which means they meet the required safety standards to prevent electrical fires.
  • It is not safe to plug one power cord or power strip into another and another as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
  • Only use power strips and surge protectors for devices that consume low power, like lamps, computers, and chargers.
  • Make sure power strips are not covered or enclosed.
  • Do not use power strips in damp areas, like bathrooms, kitchens, or basements, where they could cause electrocution or short-circuit.
  • Do not continue using extension cords or power strips if they are damaged or show signs of overheating or overuse, including frayed wires, loose connections, exposed wires, or burn marks.

When in Doubt, Call the Pros

When in doubt, consult a qualified electrician for advice on installing and using anything electric. Call Winters Electric today if you have questions or need a professional look at your home’s electrical situation or system. We serve Medford, OR, and the surrounding areas. Regarding electrical safety, the best rule of thumb is that it is better to be safe than sorry.


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