A limited number of outlets is a very annoying problem. To solve this problem extension cords are used. Still, sometimes one cord is not enough to solve the crisis. Then you think about using two cords.
Can you plug two extension cords in one outlet?
You can plug two extension cords in one outlet if you meet certain conditions. The power flow through the cords must not be greater than the capacity of the outlet. The use of circuit breakers is also necessary for safety. Also, there are some risks of this procedure which you should be aware of.
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. You have to read ahead to know the full information.
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Can You Plug Two Extension Cords in One Outlet?
Yes, you can plug two extension cords into one outlet. But there are certain conditions you have to pursue. Otherwise, you can end up with risky damaged outlets.
One extension cord per outlet is the accurate setting. This setting helps to prevent overload of electricity on one outlet. On the other hand, two cords in one outlet can make the situation difficult. Because the current flow can get over the handling capacity of the outlet. And then it can result in a hazardous situation.
But you can plug two cords if you maintain proper ways. Let’s go down the article and learn everything we need to know.
How to Safely Plug Two Cords in One Outlet?
To safely plug two extensions in one outlet you have to restrict the power flow. If power-hungry appliances are connected to the cords it will be a no-go. Because this flow must be below the capacity for the safety of the house.
Let’s discuss in detail how you can maintain the safety procedures.
Step 1: Find The Capacity
The capacity of an outlet means the highest electricity flow it can handle. If the flow crosses the capacity, it burns out. The flow of current is calculated from the wattage of the devices connected.
If you don’t know the capacity of house outlets you can infer they are 15-amp circuits. Besides, you can hire an electrician to find the capacity. In old houses, the outlets weren’t designed for many heavy appliances. So they had capacities around 15-amps. You can increase the capacity by upgrading all outlets.
Whereas in new houses electricians install higher capacity circuits. These new circuits are around 20-amp. The higher capacities enable the users to get maximum electric flow without overloading. And in watts, you can take 1500 watts as a safe mark per outlet.
Step 2: Calculate Power Wattage
Calculating wattage is very important for impeding the overflow of current. The wrong calculations can be dangerous for your house.
To find the total wattage connected, find the wattages of each device plugged in both cords. Then add them. You can find the watts on the back of the device. They are also available on manufacturers’ books or websites.
Large appliances like the washing machine or refrigerator are 1000 watts or more. So appliances like the refrigerator can’t share an outlet. They need individual outlets. Oppositely small appliances have fewer watts. The wattage can be calculated by Ohms Law too.
For that, you have to multiply the current and voltage of the device.
That means: Wattage = Current × Voltage.
Step 3: Determine Safety
Once you know the capacity and flow, you can determine whether it’s safe or not. Check if the power through the two extension cords is above or below the capacity.
If the sum of the wattage overruns the threshold, the outlet will get damaged. In this situation, the extension cords are unsafe. Do not plug in the cords. If you have already plugged them, unplug them immediately.
And if the power flow is below the capacity of the outlet, the connection is safe. You can plug the two cords into a single outlet. The connection will not have any potential threat. It will work fine.
Step 4: Install Circuit Breaker
Install a circuit breaker on the outlet. This will ensure utmost safety. If the flow somehow increases above the capacity, the circuit breaker will break. As a result, the current flow will stop. And the outlet along with cord and appliances will remain safe. Circuit breakers are a very important electrical component. Every power outlet must consist of breakers.
Now you can plug two extension cords into one outlet safely. Always follow the safety procedures before plugging both cords. Otherwise, the connection can be fatal.
What Are The Risks of Plugging Two Extension Cords in One Outlet?
Electricity is a tricky thing. Even the safest connections have risks. When you plug two cords in one outlet the risks increase proportionally. Let’s check the risks of this connection.
Though you have calculated the overall flow, accidents are a matter of time. When a lot of devices are connected, they might pull more current. Thus the flow can go above the capacity level of the outlet. This incident is overloading.
The outlet will burn out due to overloading. Moreover, the connected devices will get damaged too. You might even wonder if one bad outlet can affect others.
Against The Law
The National Electrical Code or NEC has some regulations for the safe use of electricity. They suggest not to give too much pressure on one outlet. By plugging two cords into a single outlet you pull too much current. This should not be done.
The performance of cords or surge protectors decreases if they are plugged in one outlet. So it’s better to assign one outlet for each of the cords. This will give you the best performance.
We have some suggestions for outlets for you. Check them out.
These products will serve you well according to our research.
The warranty can get void if you connect an appliance through this type of cord. These types of conditions are very common. Check the conditions list on your warranty card to be sure. Losing a warranty on expensive devices is not worth it. It’s better to install new outlets for your devices rather than using cords.
There are lots of adverse effects of plugging two cords in one outlet. You must be careful while making this type of connection.
Question: How do I know if my outlet is overloaded?
Answer: You will get some obvious signs when your outlet is overloaded. The connected devices will not work properly. The flow of current will flicker. There will be sparks and a burning smell. Also, the outlet will get hot.
Question: How do most electrical fires start?
Answer: Electrical fires start from the malfunctioning of electrical components. Defective outlets and aged, backdated equipment can burn and start a fire. Eliminating ground wires for use on two-prong outlets can cause fire too.
Question: Is it OK to turn circuit breakers on and off?
Answer: No, it is not okay. Circuit breakers disconnect the current during overflow. But if you continuously turn them on and off their lifespan will decrease. As a result, it will not function properly. You have to remember they are different from switches.
We think now it is clear whether you can plug two extension cords in one outlet or not. All your confusion should be gone by now. Because from this article you have learned about the risks and safety procedures.
If you want to know more or have any queries, contact us. We will try to respond as soon as possible.