Surge protectors are useful power strips that connect multiple devices into an outlet while providing voltage protection. However, sometimes, people lack outlets for their existing surge protectors, so they daisy chain them into the outlet.
But is this practice safe? Can you plug two surge protectors into one outlet? Generally, we don’t recommend daisy chaining surge protectors because this act can easily increase the risk of an electrical hazard.
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What Happens if I Plug Two Surge Protectors Into One Outlet?
You increase the risk of electrical hazards if you daisy chain your portable cords. Daisy-chain surge protectors may handle current beyond the carrying capacity of themselves or the outlet.
How many surge protectors per outlet are okay? Any number more than one may cause failure of any of the surge protectors and, eventually, fire. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, considers daisy-chain surge protectors as a safety violation in the workplace.
Of course, some people will say that it is fine to connect these portable cords together as long as you use the right ampacity and plug in devices that draw little current, but a lot of them are made cheaply. Some even look heavy-duty enough, but, in fact, only use 16-gauge wires.
Is It Safe to Plug Two Surge Protectors Into One Outlet?
We have three reasons why we discourage you from plugging 2 surge protectors in 1 outlet, especially if you are not sure of what you are doing:
1. Overloading the surge protector
Surge protectors and other portable cords are rated based on the amount of current they can carry. 16-gauge can carry up to 13 amps; 14-gauge can carry 15 amps; and thicker wires can carry more current.
Daisy chaining power strips or surge protectors increases the chance of exceeding the capacity of the power strips, especially if you use both of them at the same time. This can overload the surge protector when too many appliances are plugged in, such as a heater and a microwave running at the same time.
2. Overloading the outlet
If you do use the right gauge of surge protectors for your load, you may run into another problem. If there are too many plugs in one outlet, the outlet has a higher chance of overloading.
As for how many amps can an outlet handle, the general range is 1,000 to 5,000W, depending on the voltage. However, it is safe to stick to 1,500W if you’re unsure.
Most home circuits are connected to a circuit breaker to avoid overloading an outlet and prevent fires. The worst risk that may happen in this case (in a properly protected home) is the frequent tripping of the circuit breaker that would stop the electrical supply to your plugged devices.
But if your outlet doesn’t have overcurrent protection, it will overheat and start a fire.
3. Overheating the surge protector and causing resistance
Increasing the length of the conductor causes more resistance in the wire. More resistance in a wire increases the temperature of the wire as a current flows into it. This scenario may cause overheating of the surge protector, especially if you plug more surge protectors or power strips per outlet.
At the same time, voltage drops may occur, leading to malfunctioning or ruined appliances. Hence, it is dangerous to plug two power strips into one outlet.
Tips on How to Use Surge Protector Safely
1. Use the surge protector with the right appliance load and the right length.
Get a surge protector that has a greater current carrying capacity than all the devices you intend to plug into it. Also, keep the cord length as short as possible. This prevents overloading and overheating the surge protector.
2. Get the surge protector with a fuse or circuit breaker.
A lot of portable cords, including surge protectors and power strips, now have added safety features such as fuses or circuit breakers. These components may trip first before the current in the power strip reaches its limit and prevent overloading.
3. Install more fixed outlets
Of course, the best solution is to forego surge protectors or power strips and increase the number of fixed outlets, so you do not have to think of how many power strips per outlet to reach your table or your bed. New outlets have the added benefit of reducing tripping hazards, since portable cords are no longer used.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I plug two power strips into the same outlet?
We do not recommend that you plug 2 surge protectors into same outlet. Doing this increases the chance of overloading the power strips or surge protectors.
What difference would it make if I daisy-chain surge protector vs power strip?
It would make no difference whether you daisy chain surge protectors or power strips. They are both portable cords and run the risk of overloading or overheating when linked together.
How many devices can I plug into one outlet?
You can plug as many devices as you can, provided they remain within the current carrying capacity of the outlet. Ensure the outlet type fits your devices, though. Three-prong plugs on toasters and coffee makers should go into three-prong outlets, for example.
Can you plug two surge protectors into one outlet? We strongly discourage it, especially if you are not aware of the current capacity of either your power strips or your outlet. You might overheat or overload your surge protectors and start a fire.
Using a surge protector with the right rating, with enough length, and with built-in safety features reduces risks, but it’s best to get a fixed outlet. This way, you will not have to frequently ask yourself, “How many things can I plug into one outlet?
Similar topics you may also like:
- Why Shouldn’t You Plug Power Strip into Another Power Strip?
- Can You Plug an Extension Cord Into Another Extension Cord?
I am Edwin Jones, in charge of designing content for Galvinpower. I aspire to use my experiences in marketing to create reliable and necessary information to help our readers. It has been fun to work with Andrew and apply his incredible knowledge to our content.