Question Am I overloading my wall outlet?

Btg312

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Aug 3, 2020
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This is probably not the place to post this, but I'm new so I have no idea.
So I live in America, and I'm pretty sure I have the standard American wattages in all my outlets. I have one outlet in my room. The first plug goes to an old TV. It gets kind of hot and I assume it sucks a lot of power. The other outlet has an extension cord that splits into 4-5 plugs. A Nintendo Wii (not a Wii U) and a Sega Dreamcast are plugged into two of those outlets. Another extension cord is plugged into a third outlet on the first extension cord. The second extension cord has an Xbox One S, a Nintendo Wii, and an original Xbox (or OG Xbox) plugged into it. I don't plan on running all of them at the same time, but I'm a bit worried about either overloading the outlet or highly raising power costs (because the Wii, Xbox One S, and possible Nintendo Switch will idle.) DO I have anything to worry about?
Also, I do have a breaker box that probably works so I don't need to worry about fire.
 
Nov 23, 2021
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From what I was taught about fire safety, plugging power strips/extension cords into each other is a fire hazard, and putting all your faith into a breaker box is asking for trouble. Couldn't tell you about voltage though.
 

dwd999

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Every one of your devices, other than the old TV, should have a sticker on it listing its electrical requirements, watts and/or amps. Start by listing them all and then adding up the ones you use simultaneously, including ones left on at idle. Most homes have 15 amps 1800 watts on each circuit. Provided that the outlet in your room is the only outlet on the entire circuit. See what the math shows you. Also you should only be using extension cords rated for the full load of the circuit breaker they're connected to. So if your circuit breaker says 15 amps, all your cords should be rated for that amount and labeled as such. And you should always have a fire extinguisher rated for electrical fires handy in your room.
 

Pextaxmx

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The first plug goes to an old TV. It gets kind of hot and I assume it sucks a lot of power.
You mean the TV itself gets hot right? If your wire or wall outlet is getting hot, that is fire hazard. You have to find out exactly where the heat is coming from and fix the problem. Old outlet can get loose and increase the resistance right at the plug contact. Sometimes bad electricians don't screw the wire tight enough and cause problems (I had one in my house. The outlet got hot because the bypassing wire was not tight. Everything around the loose contact was BLACK.)

Regarding the amperage, just buy a kill-a-watt and monitor the amperage at full load. As long as the total is under your limit and nothing gets hot, you are fine.
 

avg9956

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From what I was taught about fire safety, plugging power strips/extension cords into each other is a fire hazard
True. This is called daisy chaining. Overloading any of the power strips that are daisy chained can cause a fire hazard. The weakest link in that chain will be the first one to blow when it can't handle the amps no longer.

For amperage:
Yes kill-a-watt is the easiest solution to monitor amps. Remember, you measure amps THROUGH a wire, not across a wire (like voltage).
If you want to use a DMM to monitor amps, you'd have to splice the wire to measure the amperage.
If you don't want splicing wires, you can buy a clamp meter. Note that you can only use it to measure cables that only have 1 wire inside them, otherwise the reading will just cancel out. Most appliances and devices have more than one wire inside their cable.

As for voltage -

American voltage is 120V.
Plugging in 220V devices to a 120V outlet will result in an "underpowered" device. The device might not function as intended or reach its full extent (i.e. a fan won't spin as much).
However plugging in a 120V device to a 220V outlet or power source will cause it to explode, since the push of electricity is too high that the device can handle.

Usually - a room typically uses either 15A or 30A of cabled wiring. If you feel the need to use a lot of electricity, you'd go for 30A, but that would entail changing the entire electrical wiring of your room that run along the wires in order to make that feasible. 30A wires have thicker gauges to carry more current.

I highly doubt you're going to need 30A wiring though, based on the listed devices you've mentioned. These gaming devices don't really suck a ton of power. Its more likely you currently have 15A electrical wiring.

-Xbox One S
-Nintendo Wii
-OG Xbox
-Old TV
-Sega Dreamcast
-Possible Nintendo Switch
And even then its highly unlikely you're going to run all of them at the same time.

The first plug goes to an old TV. It gets kind of hot and I assume it sucks a lot of power.
I would try changing the TV since its "old" anyways and that's where you may get the assumption that it sucks a lot of power since it is "hot". The presumption is that, the TV may be defective already in some manner.
 

jayjr1105

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Aug 10, 2011
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True. This is called daisy chaining. Overloading any of the power strips that are daisy chained can cause a fire hazard. The weakest link in that chain will be the first one to blow when it can't handle the amps no longer.

For amperage:
Yes kill-a-watt is the easiest solution to monitor amps. Remember, you measure amps THROUGH a wire, not across a wire (like voltage).
If you want to use a DMM to monitor amps, you'd have to splice the wire to measure the amperage.
If you don't want splicing wires, you can buy a clamp meter. Note that you can only use it to measure cables that only have 1 wire inside them, otherwise the reading will just cancel out. Most appliances and devices have more than one wire inside their cable.

As for voltage -

American voltage is 120V.
Plugging in 220V devices to a 120V outlet will result in an "underpowered" device. The device might not function as intended or reach its full extent (i.e. a fan won't spin as much).
However plugging in a 120V device to a 220V outlet or power source will cause it to explode, since the push of electricity is too high that the device can handle.

Usually - a room typically uses either 15A or 30A of cabled wiring. If you feel the need to use a lot of electricity, you'd go for 30A, but that would entail changing the entire electrical wiring of your room that run along the wires in order to make that feasible. 30A wires have thicker gauges to carry more current.

I highly doubt you're going to need 30A wiring though, based on the listed devices you've mentioned. These gaming devices don't really suck a ton of power. Its more likely you currently have 15A electrical wiring.


And even then its highly unlikely you're going to run all of them at the same time.


I would try changing the TV since its "old" anyways and that's where you may get the assumption that it sucks a lot of power since it is "hot". The presumption is that, the TV may be defective already in some manner.
In the US it's either 15A or 20A circuits in dwellings. Most electronics with power "bricks" usually accept universal voltage 100-240v 50-60Hz. OP should use a good quality surge protector to plug in all of those devices vs a basic 2 prong extension cord. Unless the TV is a plasma, even 10 year old LCD TV's only used 80watts or so which is nothing concerning for a typical household circuit.
 
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Mysteryman2000

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Oct 30, 2012
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In most cases unless your houses wiring is very old, your first weak point that may be a fire hazard is your extension cord or surge protector. Your wall outlet which is connected to a fuse box or breaker box will trip if there is too much being drawn and will pop or trip the fuse or breaker in that event. Not all extension cords or surge protectors (especially cheap ones) have fuses that blow under load.
 

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