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Is It Safe To Plug A Surge Protector Into An Extension Cord?

surge protector

I wanted to add a surge protector near my reading chair so that I could easily charge my cell phone, but in order to do that I needed to plug it in to an extension cord?

If you’re like me, you want to keep things simple and safe at home, and you might wonder if this common setup is a good idea.

I’ve looked into it, and I’m here to share what I’ve learned so we can make sure our homes stay safe and sound.

Surge protectors like these are designed to safeguard your valuable electronics from sudden power spikes or surges.

They act as a buffer, transferring excess voltage to a grounding wire and protecting your devices.

However, using a surge protector with an extension cord requires careful consideration.

So, Can You Plug A Surge Protector Into An Extension Cord? Should You?

You can plug a surge protector into an extension cord like this heavy duty one if the two can withstand the same power load.

The key factor to consider is the electrical capacity of both the surge protector and the extension cord.

If the extension cord is not rated to handle the same or higher amperage as the surge protector, it can lead to overheating and potentially even a fire hazard.

To ensure safety, you should check the gauge of both the surge protector and the extension cord, and make sure they are compatible.

Still, you should only do this as a temporary solution, as extension cords and surge protectors are not recommended to be daisy-chained together in the long term.

Safe Practices When Using A Surge Protector

In general, it’s recommended to use a surge protector directly plugged into a wall outlet, rather than connecting it to an extension cord.

This provides the most reliable and safe power delivery to your devices.

However, if you must use an extension cord, again – make sure it is a heavy-duty, high-gauge cord that can handle the electrical load of your surge protector.

Additionally, avoid daisy-chaining multiple extension cords or power strips together, as this can further compromise the electrical system and increase the risk of overloading.

It’s also crucial to regularly inspect your extension cords and surge protectors for any signs of wear or damage, and replace them if necessary.

I know it can be tempting to try and fix electrical issues yourself, but I really wouldn’t recommend it, unless you are a trained electrician.

Electrical work can be super dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Instead, I’d suggest using this as a temporary fix sparingly, just until you can get a qualified, licensed electrician to come take a look.

They’ll be able to assess the situation and recommend some permanent, safer solutions.

By following these safety guidelines, you can confidently use a surge protector in your home and protect your valuable electronics, all while maintaining a safe and reliable electrical setup.

Remember, your safety and the protection of your home are the top priorities.

What Is Safe To Plug Into A Surge Protector?

Are you feeling a bit nervous now about plugging anything into your surge protector? Please don’t!

If you’re using the surge protector correctly, then it’s perfectly safe to use one in your home.

Here are the intended uses of a surge protector.

Lamps

Decorating a living room or bedroom with lamps really brightens up the space (quite literally) but finding enough outlets to plug in all your lamps can be difficult.

Your surge protector might seem like a tempting spot considering you will generally have at least one empty power outlet on the strip.

Go ahead and plug in a lamp or two. These fixtures are low-power enough that they won’t cause a power overload that could overwhelm the surge protector.

Laptops or Computers

These tech devices seem to be what surge protectors are made for, right?

It only takes one bad storm and your laptop sustaining permanent damage to expensive electronics for you to vow not to go without surge protection technology again.

Although you can’t prevent a storm from knocking out the power and thus turning off your computer, you know that with a surge protector, your computer will turn back on again.

We know that computers and other connected devices might seem like they’re high-power devices, it’s actually the opposite.

The average wattage of a laptop is between 20 and 50 watts, which is really quite moderate.

Desktop computers require at least 60 watts and sometimes up to 250 watts, which is higher but still not bad. 

Smartphone and Tablet Chargers

Be honest, you probably have your phone charger plugged into your surge protector right now, don’t you?

That’s okay because smartphones only need 3.68 watts of power to charge. When they reach a full charge, they use less power, or about 2.24 watts.

That amount of load isn’t going to push your surge protector over the limit, or at least, it shouldn’t.

Here’s What You Should Never Plug Into A Surge Protector

As handy as surge protectors are, there are many, many more electronic devices and items that you should not plug into them.

It boils down to this: if it’s a high-wattage item, it should not go into the surge protector outlet.

Here is the full list of items that should never be plugged into a surge protector:

Other surge protectors: We’ve established that it’s sometimes okay to plug in a surge protector to an extension cord, at least for a short while. However, daisy chaining power between surge protectors is always a huge risk.

Hair tools: If you tame your tresses with hair-styling tools, plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter or GFCI breaker wall outlet rather than a normal power strip or a surge protector.

From curling irons to flat irons, hair dryers, and blow dryers, these tools heat up and can overload the surge protector.

Kitchen appliances: large appliances or small ones – size hardly matters. The excessive amount of power draw on the items in your kitchen is too much for a power cord.

Please plug in the following items into standard wall outlets:

  • Slow cooker
  • Rice cookers
  • Toaster ovens
  • Blenders
  • Coffee makers
  • Microwave oven
  • Dishwashers
  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers

Sump pumps: If your sump pump is on, then conditions are likely wet. You need a GFCI outlet when using electronics around water. Never use surge protectors in wet areas.

Portable air conditioners or space heaters: This is yet another case of small appliances using a lot of power despite their size.

Although the power load isn’t bad when your portable air conditioner or heater isn’t on, as soon as it starts running, it saps a lot of power.

These devices can trip your circuit breaker in a worst-case scenario. 

How Much Can You Plug Into A Surge Protector?

The standard surge protector has between six and eight outlets. Can you fill each of those outlets at the same time?

No, you shouldn’t, even if all your devices are relatively low-power and are otherwise approved for use with a surge protector or power strip.

At most, you want to use two of the outlets at a time. Yes, that’s even if you have eight outlets available on your power strip.

If you try to plug in too many items at once, you can easily cause the surge protector to overload.

A fire could occur, as we’ve talked about, or you could blow a circuit breaker. 

Can I Plug 2 Surge Protectors Into One Outlet?

I know – you have one more question pertaining to surge protectors.

I’ll bet you also kind of have a feeling that you already know what the answer will be, too… Can you plug two surge protectors into one outlet?

As you probably guessed that this isn’t a good idea.

If your surge protector is plugged into a wall receptacle with more than one outlet, you should only plug power strips into one of those two outlets.

This is a good way to prevent huge power draws that can have catastrophic consequences.  

Now, that’s not to say that you can’t have two surge protectors in the same room.

For example, maybe in your living room or family room, you have a pricey desktop computer and some phone chargers, and you want everything plugged into the surge protector.

You might also have a few lamps on this power strip as well.

If the living room or sitting room has a number of outlets, then you can plug a power strip into an outlet in one receptacle and the second strip into an outlet in the other receptacle.

However, if you’re in a room that only happens to have one receptacle, then you can only have one surge protector in that room. You’ll have to plug in your other surge protector in an adjacent room.

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