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A word about surge protectors

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Proud Texan

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I've been seeing mention here lately of the use of Surge Protectors in guest rooms. Reading between the lines, it seems there is this mistaken notion that with a surge protector, you can magically increase your electrical use and plug as many electrical appliances into it as there are plugs on the protector. This ain't necessarily so.
A surge protector does NOT increase the capacity of any given electrical circuit! It is only designed to protect the equipment plugged into it (i.e., computers, TVs) from spikes in voltage that could damage sensitive circuitry.
So, what's wrong with using an extension cord or a power strip to run more electrical equipment?
In solving the problem of too few outlets, you may create another –– an overloaded circuit. If too many pieces of equipment are plugged into the same outlet and they're all on at the same time, more current may be running through the outlet than it can handle. When that happens, the wiring or the outlet will overheat and this could potentially create an electrical fire.
If an outlet or wall is warm to the touch; outlet is discolored; circuit breakers frequently trip or fuses frequently blow; a burnt smell of insulation is noticeable, have an electrician run a dedicated circuit and install additional outlets.
In most electrical installations, especially older ones, a single circuit is used for an entire room, lights and plugs. Older wiring did not have the same demands placed on it that today’s homes require. Never mind the requirements of a B&B!
So consider that all the plugs in a given guest room are on one circuit (probably 15-amp). A 15-amp circuit is only rated to handle up to 1800 watts at a time. So, add up the wattage of all your light bulbs, electric blankets, alarm clocks, hair dryers etc. and make sure that they do not exceed 1800 watts. Take into account the added load of guest’s appliances on that same circuit and you could have a potential problem.
As you will see, most of us have a tendency to exceed what the circuit will handle. If you’re not sure, have a licensed electrician check the capacity of your circuits. If necessary have new circuitry run. BE SAFE!
 

gillumhouse

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Timely notice. I know I am OK because we had ALL the old wiring replaced in this old house when we got it - upgrade from 60 amp to 200 and then had to come back and redo the last of it when the insurance company had a cow about our knob & tube (the master electrician that did my work said we had second generation wiring and it was actually safer than what is used today) so we have new wiring and installed extra outlets.
I will have te A/C unit (used very infrequently) and a CD player and a table lamp on it. We actually have 3 sets of outlets (2 outlets per) in each guest room. The strip looks better than a multi-plug and since the cord is heavier is probably better than using a regular extension cord.
First thing we did after closing on the house was rip out the cloth extension cords that wound around each room because there was only 1 outlet in each room on the 60 amp service. I will however reexamine my Library situation - it probably IS an electrician's nightmare....
Your post is VERY educational and should be read by everyone. Thank you.
 

Samster

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Good advice! Our house was totally re-wired 12 years ago when the house was renovated. When we did our renovations we brought the circuit breaker box up to the current code. All baths are on their own circuit breaker with jetted tubs on separate circuits, blah, blah, blah. The surge protectors are in place to do what they're meant to do and the surge protector/power strips just let people have easier access to something to plug their phones, etc. into without crawling around on the floor or knocking their heads on furniture. :)
 

SweetiePie

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They other good thing is that you can turn off appliances when not in use easily and save on electricity.
 

swirt

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In some cases, things have actually gotten better with the push for green. Replacing a 60 watt incandescent lamp with a 13 watt CF means a similar reduction in the current carried by the household wiring. 0.1amps compared to 0.5 amps.
Generally it is not all the phone chargers, laptop power, clock radios... that push the envelope in terms of current load, it is the hair dryers, curling irons, hotplates and space heaters.
 

Proud Texan

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In some cases, things have actually gotten better with the push for green. Replacing a 60 watt incandescent lamp with a 13 watt CF means a similar reduction in the current carried by the household wiring. 0.1amps compared to 0.5 amps.
Generally it is not all the phone chargers, laptop power, clock radios... that push the envelope in terms of current load, it is the hair dryers, curling irons, hotplates and space heaters..
swirt said:
In some cases, things have actually gotten better with the push for green. Replacing a 60 watt incandescent lamp with a 13 watt CF means a similar reduction in the current carried by the household wiring. 0.1amps compared to 0.5 amps.
Generally it is not all the phone chargers, laptop power, clock radios... that push the envelope in terms of current load, it is the hair dryers, curling irons, hotplates and space heaters.
The problem is prevalent especially in older homes with legacy wiring. There are many that think as long as you can plug it in ANYWHERE and you don't trip a breaker or blow a fuse, you're O.K.
I just want to caution all the aspirings and those looking for an older home to turn into an inn NOT to skimp on the wiring.
You should have at least one AFI protected circuit feeding each guest room no smaller than 15 amp on a 14 ga. conductor OR what I did a 20 amp circuit with 12 ga conductor. Window Air Conditioners, Electric Heaters and room refrigerators should have their own protected circuit. Hardwired smoke alarms usually require a dedicated circuit.
Bathrooms should have their own circuit that is GFCI protected. Bathroom heaters get a separate circuit.
Talk to the local building inspector before you buy or have a licensed electrician inspect the property to see if any upgrades need to be made.
 

gillumhouse

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In some cases, things have actually gotten better with the push for green. Replacing a 60 watt incandescent lamp with a 13 watt CF means a similar reduction in the current carried by the household wiring. 0.1amps compared to 0.5 amps.
Generally it is not all the phone chargers, laptop power, clock radios... that push the envelope in terms of current load, it is the hair dryers, curling irons, hotplates and space heaters..
swirt said:
In some cases, things have actually gotten better with the push for green. Replacing a 60 watt incandescent lamp with a 13 watt CF means a similar reduction in the current carried by the household wiring. 0.1amps compared to 0.5 amps.
Generally it is not all the phone chargers, laptop power, clock radios... that push the envelope in terms of current load, it is the hair dryers, curling irons, hotplates and space heaters.
The problem is prevalent especially in older homes with legacy wiring. There are many that think as long as you can plug it in ANYWHERE and you don't trip a breaker or blow a fuse, you're O.K.
I just want to caution all the aspirings and those looking for an older home to turn into an inn NOT to skimp on the wiring.
You should have at least one AFI protected circuit feeding each guest room no smaller than 15 amp on a 14 ga. conductor OR what I did a 20 amp circuit with 12 ga conductor. Window Air Conditioners, Electric Heaters and room refrigerators should have their own protected circuit. Hardwired smoke alarms usually require a dedicated circuit.
Bathrooms should have their own circuit that is GFCI protected. Bathroom heaters get a separate circuit.
Talk to the local building inspector before you buy or have a licensed electrician inspect the property to see if any upgrades need to be made.
.
This is excellent advice. When we upgraded our service the electrician asked me if I wanted aluminum or copper for my service wire. Aluminum is approved but I looked at him and said what would it be if it were your house? Of course I want copper. We both knew the copper was more expensive but a better product.
Skimp on your electricals ONLY if you do not mind worrying about your house burning down. Too many house fires are caused by electrical problems. And I am totally serious about this. No tongue in cheek or messing with minds.
 
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