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Question about adding add'l outlet

Posted by swimman (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 19, 13 at 20:56

Having just built our home we we not sure of the placement of some items so did not allow for enough electrical outlets. One area in particular is in the bonus room where I plan to have the following that needs a power source:

-Stereo receiver
-Ethernet switch
-Cable box
-Possibly a subwoofer unless I install elsewhere

I currently have one outlet in this built-in area. Can I simply connect a power strip(s) to the outlets to power this equipment? I'm not sure how much total power it would be pulling and don't want to overload the circuit or cause a fire! If not, would installing a new box with four outlets and the existing feed wire make a difference or do I need to string a new line to this area?

Not sure what's totally involved as I have limited electrical experience and any work needed will be done by an electrician.

Thanks in advance.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Question about adding add'l outlet

If you overload the circuit and draw more current than the breaker indicates, the breaker will trip to prevent a fire. That's is its job.

From your list, you might want to estimate the current required by looking up the amperage/wattage on each device, but I think you are fine with a 15A circuit. Do you know what the circuit is? 15A? 20A? What else is on that same circuit?

Can you use a powerstrip? If it is rated for the current required, sure. However, I'd suggest one of the 6-outlet in-wall surge protectors. Go to Amazon and search for "Belkin SurgeMaster 6 Outlet Wall-Mount Surge Protector" as an example of what I'm talking about.

RE: Question about adding add'l outlet

The aggregate stuff on that list probably isn't going to add up to over 15A (what else is on the circuit).

If you really want to be safe, get a power strip with a fuse in it as well.

RE: Question about adding add'l outlet

> Not sure what's totally involved as I have limited electrical experience
> and any work needed will be done by an electrician.

Every consumer at some point should learn these simple concepts. Each appliance has a current number or watts number. Often this number is on a label adjacent to where its power cord attaches. Add these numbers. It should not exceed 1500 watts or 13 amps.

Your circuit breaker is the emergency backup protection. Another has recommended depending on emergency backup protection to avert faults. That is poor advise. Same concept was also used when management said secondary O'rings (also emergency backup protection) would protect the Challenger.

The circuit may be powered by a 20 amp breaker. But the receptacle is only 15 amps. Add those numbers to confirm you are not overloading anything. But more important, to gain experience that others have obtained so as to not be so concerned for your safety. Simply add those numbers.

RE: Question about adding add'l outlet

Much of what WESTOM says is inaccurate. The only good part is to look up the amps/watts used by each device. I've never seen anything marked "on the cord", it usually is right where the cord connects to the device, but it may be easier just looking in the manual or online.

For 120V and most things without motors AMPS = WATTS/120. (You aren't going to have any significant PF issues). The issue isn't so much the house wiring (despite tom's protestations, the wiring itself will be protected by the breaker) but the power strip, extension cord, or cube taps or whatever you're using to connect that many devices to a single receptacle. Those can definitely cause problems if overloaded past their ratings (which may not even be 15A in some cases).

Buying a better surge protector (one with a circuit breaker or better) might be useful to you. I've got a small (20Min) designed for AV UPS on my system (be careful about computer ones, they tend to be noisy both audibly and on the power). Even so, you're going to want to be careful not to overload it, not because it is going to blow up like the Challenger, but because it will be a nuisance tripping while you're trying to enjoy your TV.

RE: Question about adding add'l outlet

FULLY agree with Ron. Please disregard WESTOM's post, which is fear based rather than fact based.

RE: Question about adding add'l outlet

I think it total I'm around 1100-1200 watts - the receiver being the hungriest around 500w. I'll certainly get a power strip/cube that it rated greater than what's plugged into. Thanks for all the information.

RE: Question about adding add'l outlet

The wattages show would be max watts. The receiver, sub, etc do not draw what is on the tag, but potentially could, and given the system, at the same time.

IMO everything you listed would not even come close to maxing out a circuit.
Use a good quality power strip and be done with it. NO WAY would I consider cutting in a new receptacle for this.

Besides, having a good power strip with surge protection is a good thing with electronics.

RE: Question about adding add'l outlet

> I'll certainly get a power strip/cube that it rated greater
> than what's plugged into. Thanks for all the information.

If any power strip or cube does not provide 15 amps, then it cannot be UL listed - is a potential human safety threat. A power strip or cube for less than 15 amps would not be sold by responsible stores.

Position of a receptacles three prongs defines it as a 15 amp circuit.

Naysayers did not read what was posted. I never said numbers were on a cord. Numbers are located "adjacent" to where the cord attaches. He reads what he wants to hear. House wiring also was never an issue. What house wiring provides is defined by the mechanical shape of receptacle prongs. That 15 amp wall receptacle is powered probably by a 20 amp circuit breaker. Nothing says fear or misinformation except what some misread.

When powering multiple devices, a power strip must have one critically important feature - a 15 amp circuit breaker. If a power strip is minimally sufficient, it can provide all 15 amps from a wall receptacle - never less. Lesser power strips cannot be UL listed, are potentially unsafe, and expose some without basic safety knowledge.

If a store sells a power strip without UL listing (less than 15 amps), then worry about integrity of that store. Also be wary of anyone who believes a less than 15 amp power strip can exist and who thinks a 15 amp circuit breaker is optional. Your numbers (1100-1200 watts) define any (UL listed) power strip as sufficient.

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