How Many Things Can I Plug Into One Outlet?

Everybody is at home, working remotely or staying in because of the pandemic. We are indoors with restrictions to the outside world, so our only escape is our digital devices, which are at hand almost 24/7.

It feels like my laptop and smartphones are always low on battery juice because I use it so much. Problem is, I have only one outlet that is near me. That has me wondering, how many things can I plug into 1 outlet really?

How Many Things Can I Plug Into One Outlet?

Never plug more than 2 appliances into a single plug or outlet at the same time. Don’t piggyback or daisy chain power strips or wall outlets, since overloading invites a fire hazard. Generally, it is recommended to stay under 1,500 watts on each outlet.

We’ve all crammed way too many things into an outlet at one time, but nothing bad has ever happened so far. We think we can keep trying to plug in as many things as possible! But it is wise not to plug in more than 2 devices in a single outlet.

It also depends on the amount of voltage. High watts of not more than 1500W are not recommended to be plugged in on one circuit, and too much electrical surge in one circuit can cause shortages and electrical fires.

When using power stringers like extension cord or power strips, it is best not to use all the outlets. A huge surge of electricity passing through at the same time can be disastrous. 

How Many Things Can I Plug Into One Outlet?

Also, if you connect an adaptor directly to the socket, piggybacking many devices is also harmful and can cause a quick fuse.

How Many Appliances Can You Plugin Before It Catches Fire?

Overloaded outlets are the major cause of electrical fires in America. You probably should not be taking the chance of the threshold of the maximum limit. It’s generally recommended not to use more than two devices on a single outlet.

While there are fuses and circuit breakers in place, they usually regulate at 15 or 20 amp. They aren’t always reliable and this is a risk you should not take. Different devices consume different amounts of voltage.  

You can calculate the maximum amount of devices you can plug in depending upon the volts of electricity. You can calculate the load that is being used and the remaining left by using the formula of Ohms law.

Where, current = power / voltage. So, assuming that your appliance is 500-watt, most households have 120 volts of electricity. This would mean 500W/ 120 V would give about 4.1 amps of current. This ampere is the current that is being used.

As long as the current remains below the wattage of the fuses or circuit breakers, it is safe. There isn’t much chance of a fire breaking out.

Is It Possible That You Can Plug Too Many Things Into an Outlet?

Yes, it is possible to plug too many things and devices into an outlet. 

It is not wise to plug in more than two appliances that consume a lot of voltage. Devices like lamps, space heaters, blowers and hair dryers consume more power. Simultaneously using appliances like these should be avoided.

Reduce the number of wattage in a single outlet. Keep in mind to major plug-in appliances directly to the wall outlet and not through a secondary outlet.

How to Know That Your Electrical System is Getting Overloaded?

It becomes difficult or almost impossible to avoid plugging in more than two things. You can familiarize yourself with the following signs that your electrical system needs attention or professional inspection:

  • Frequent flickering of light and momentarily dimmed lights.
  • Power stringers or switchboard outlets are showing discoloration.
  • Outlets feel warm and sometimes melt from the heat.
  • Sounds like sizzling, buzzing and crackling from the outlets. 

What Are You Supposed to Do in Case of an Overload?

If in case of fire, Call Emergency services like the police or the fire department.Do not attempt to put out the fire with water.
Avoid over-plugging.Do not connect multiple devices at one go.
Minimize plugging in devices for more extended periodsDo not connect devices for prolonged periods.
Check and make sure all electrical outlets are not damaged.Do not use any electrical cords or which are beginning to show wiring damage.

What’s the Alternative To Overloading Sockets?

 If you need to use multiple devices at once, one of the best alternatives available is to use surge protectors. 

A surge protector protects the devices in case of a power surge or a sudden power spike. They make excellent safety devices.

If high voltage passes through, it diverts some of that current into a grounding wire.

Can You Plug Two Surge Protectors Into One Outlet?

Yes, you can plug in two surge protectors in one outlet. Sometimes a single unit isn’t enough, so a dual or multiple might be used. Do note that it is not applicable to extension cords. Here’s the difference between surge protectors and extension cords.

In addition, these plugs should not have any other devices plugged in or attached to them. However, it is not advised to use multiple plugs in one socket.

How Many Things Can I Plug Into One Outlet

How Many Outlets Can Be On a Single Circuit?

In case there is more than one outlet connected to a circuit, the likelihood of overloading your system is greater than if you were working with a single circuit.

When you are looking at your breaker panel, make sure to check the labels. If you see one labelled “dining room” or “laundry room,” it is likely that there are multiple outlets in that area that are using just one circuit.

What Would Cause an Outlet to Each Fire?

Outdated, old electrical wiring can cause the outlet to easily catch fire. Using multiple connections in these old outlets can also overheat it and cause a short circuit.

It is advisable to install fuses and circuit breakers to avoid unwanted calamity.

Can a Dead Outlet Cause a Fire?

While most believe that dead outlets cannot cause fire, it is possible that dead outlets can indeed cause a fire. 

In reality, dead outlets have a higher chance of melting the insulation that protects the wires and thus, easily catch fire. Hence, it is important that you let a professional electrician fix the dead outlets.


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Meet The Author: Henry

Hi, I'm Henry. I'm an interior decorator and I love turning people's homes into aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces. I love to take on a good DIY project, play with my daughter and spoil my wife.