Businesses and homes have different devices that need a connection to the power source. Sometimes you need to connect them simultaneously, hence the challenge of connecting these devices without triggering electrical accidents. The other challenge also arises when you have power-intensive devices you need to connect to the same circuit.
You can install different circuits to provide sufficient power to your devices. The most common one is the 20-amp circuit since it has a higher capacity and can support many devices, including power-intensive ones. Still, you must follow specific guidelines when plugging devices into such circuits to avoid inconveniences.
- Using power strips
The 20-amp circuits and receptacles have two plug-in spaces; hence they cannot support all the devices you need power. You can use the power strip to connect all the devices in different places. However, when selecting a good power strip for such needs, ensure you choose the 20-amp power strip to avoid short-circuiting in case of excess voltage from the circuit to the power strip. Suppose you have many appliances to operate on a 20-amp circuit; you need to ensure you do not overload the system, hence the need for an extension.
However, the power strip should not be a permanent solution to connect your devices to the power source. They are vulnerable to rapid power fluctuations, hence the need for other solutions such as breakers.
- Knowing each device’s power capacity
The number of devices you plug into the circuit will depend on their wattage capacity. Exceeding the capacity could lead to short-circuiting and other damage. Before you plug in the devices, you must focus on the power capacity and wattage. Therefore, you need a calculation to ensure you do not overload the circuit. Here is a simple calculation: 1-amp should be 120 watts. Therefore 20-amp= 120*20, which is 2400 watts.
Whether you use a power strip to distribute electricity to the devices, you must understand the maximum wattage the circuit can support. You need to understand the wattage capacity of all these devices and determine the number of devices you can plug in simultaneously.
- Avoiding overload
In case you need to plug in different appliances, you need to unplug those not currently in use to reduce the capacity supported by the circuit. You cannot also combine all power-intensive or heavy-duty machines on the circuit simultaneously. For example, you should not use the washer and the refrigerator on the same circuit.
You should balance low wattage and high wattage devices on the same circuit. Suppose you are using low-wattage devices such as indoor entertainment systems. In that case, you can plug all of them simultaneously but ensure you use an extension cord and do not exceed the circuit capacity.
- Dedicated circuits
A dedicated circuit is suitable for using one device that consumes a large amount of power. A dedicated circuit is also necessary for devices that require a constant amount of power. They can be ideal for industrial and commercial devices that should be plugged into power at all times.
The power supplied to these devices should be constant and not fluctuating. Any flow interruptions can affect the devices, which can sometimes be expensive to repair. The devices that need dedicated 20-amp circuits should be those that have a wattage capacity between 2000-2400 watts. Such devices may include servers and heating and air conditioning systems.
Another concern is what happens when you combine these devices with others. You can combine them with others, but you must ensure that the two do not exceed the circuit wattage capacity. You should observe any warnings such as flickers and LED lights that may indicate power strain. On such occasions, you need to remove the second device. You should also not plug extension and power strips into the dedicated circuits; they should be dedicated to the device alone. While using dedicated circuits, you can use guards or circuit breakers to protect the devices.
- Using circuit breakers
Most electrical devices have surge protectors from power surges; however, the surge protectors can sometimes fail, especially when plugged into high wattage circuits such as the 20 Amp circuit. For example, when plugging a 760 watts device into the 20-amp circuit, there could be short-circuiting. You can use an extension to protect the devices, but you need more stringent measures. The extension cords have surge protectors and will act as the first defense line in case of excess voltage. The extension can protect multiple house devices from impending damage simultaneously.
The best safety measure is to ensure each circuit in the house has a breaker. Whenever a fault is detected, the spring in the breaker will enable it to snap open, cutting power to the devices. You can reset them for use. Alternatively, you can have a breaker for every room, i.e., a single breaker for the living room. You need two or three circuit breakers for rooms with power-intensive devices. The breakers will be ideal for plugging fault-prone appliances such as fans, hair dryers, irons, etc. They can also protect the house extension cords, enabling them to last longer.
These safety tips will be ideal for preventing electrical accidents in the house or at business premises. You can deploy multiple tips simultaneously to ensure your devices are safe. Remember to know the device wattage before plugging them into the circuit, or you can balance high and low wattage devices. A dedicated 20-amp circuit will be ideal for power-intensive and continuously used devices.