Because many of us are now working from home, our electrical sockets have experienced more use (and abuse) than they have ever had in the last three years.
Our laptops are getting used 24/7, and our mobile devices are constantly in need of charging. Unless you’re a multi-millionaire business tycoon, you probably only have one extra outlet available to you at home.
With your laptop needing to charge and your phone dying after hours of browsing on YouTube and TikTok, these devices are probably always plugged into your only electrical socket.
But how many devices are too many? How do you know that you are overloading your outlets at home? And what should you do in case of an overload?
We’ve got all the answers and more, so keep scrolling!
- How Many Devices Can You Run From One Socket?
- How Do You Prevent Electrical Overload?
- What Should You Do In Case of an Electrical Overload?
How Many Devices Can You Run From One Socket?
You’re not going to like this answer. But the number of devices you can have plugged into a single socket at any given time depends on the wattage of each device.
Yes, you will have to check the wattage on your device’s charger plug or its manufacturer’s instructions. Many times, this means only two appliances, like a dishwasher and refrigerator, can be plugged in at once.
No piggy-backing, no wall outlets, not even daisy chain power strips are allowed.
You’re probably thinking: “But I’ve plugged into about four devices, and nothing happened!”
To be completely honest, so have we. We’re all guilty of stacking our plugs. It just saves more time if all your devices charge up at the same time. Right?
But we’re ultimately inviting fire hazards.
“You mentioned that the number of devices per outlet depends on the wattage. What do you mean by that?”
Well, there’s a cap on the amount of voltage you can safely charge in one socket, specifically 1500W. Anything higher than that should not be plugged into one circuit with other devices.
That fridge of yours that is plugged in beside your microwave? Take it out. Find another socket and plug your energy-heavy appliances somewhere else.
Yes, this also applies to appliances plugged into extension cords. We suggest not using all of the outlets on your power strips or extension cords at once.
How Do You Know If Your Electrical System is Overloaded?
Perhaps you haven’t noticed any signs of your outlet getting overloaded because it’s so subtle and easy to ignore.
But that’s why you’re reading this article in the first place!
Here are some signs that you have an electrical circuit overload:
- Your outlets feel warm to the touch.
- You’re hearing buzzing sounds from your outlets or switches.
- The lights are dimmed.
- Lights start flickering whenever you turn on appliances or other switches.
More obvious signs of overloading:
- A burning smell is coming from your outlets.
- Scorch marks around your plugs or outlets.
If you are experiencing any of these signs at home, please call an electrician. Don’t try to fix things yourself because that can lead to electrical fires, injuries, or even death.
Yes, that tiny zap you felt as you were unplugging your appliances from an overloaded circuit can put your whole life and others living close by at risk.
Safety should always come first, so give an expert a call!
How Do You Prevent Electrical Overload?
It’s very easy to overload your electrical socket accidentally; thus, circuit overload causes many house fires.
Here are some ways to prevent electrical overload in your home:
Look out for large appliances
Avoid plugging your devices in a room with a lot of large appliances. Larger appliances typically require a lot of energy to keep working.
If you choose to also plug in your devices in sockets near large appliances like your fridge or washer, you risk causing your circuits to overload.
Look out for signs of wear
Check for signs of wear on the cords of all your appliances. These signs of wear can be the “fraying” of the copper wire or cracked coating.
If you find signs of damage, unplug them immediately and ask an expert if they can be repaired or replaced.
Invest in home rewiring
If you’re living in an older home, the chances are that the circuits can’t handle the large load of power we use in the current times. This scenario puts you at risk of a house fire.
Avoid overloading your sockets by investing in home rewiring as soon as possible.
What Should You Do In Case of an Electrical Overload?
Let’s say you’re currently dealing with the signs of electrical overload at home; what do you do? How do you safely deal with it?
There are long-term and short-term fixes to electrical overload. Let’s talk about them!
The short-term fix is easy and you might already be doing this too. All you have to do is to move your devices from the overloaded circuit to another circuit that is not overloaded. Then you replace the fuse and turn it on.
Yes, that’s it.
But this won’t solve your overloading issue. Let’s take a peek at the long-term solution!
The long-term fix is not as simple and will need the help of professionals. You may need to redistribute the load to other circuits. You may even have to run new circuits to your appliances with the most loads.
We know it’s confusing. That’s why we’re encouraging you to call an electrician.
Long-term fixes for your overloading problems are not one-size-fits-all. The age of the house, its location, and your power consumption will all have to be considered.
Again, please don’t DIY your circuit problems!
Now that you know how many devices you can safely run from a single socket, you no longer have an excuse to return to your old electrical overloading ways.
That said, it’s normal to slip every now and then. There will be days when we forget NOT to go over the 1500W cap in each outlet
We know that this article was a bit confusing, and you may be feeling overwhelmed by the information we just bombarded you with. But we don’t expect you to follow everything “to a T.”
We ask you to keep the tips you learned from this article in mind and minimize overloading your sockets. Stay safe!
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.