This Math Problem Will Change Your Home, Forever; All You Need Is Time, Patience, & a Little Curiosity

It is safe to say that most people own at least one computer. Owning a computer may also mean owning accessories for your personal computer. For example, speakers, an additional monitor, printer, modem, router, keyboard, and mouse. For those who use their computers for picture sharing or school work may also have an external flash drive, which allows extra space for storing files and pictures without slowing down the computer. Now, consider how many power cords will need to be plugged into an outlet in order to power a computer and its accessories. If you try to plug in all of these appliances, you will find that your standard outlet only allows for two appliances at a time. You could plug an extension cord to another outlet to power more devices and appliances, but still, more plugs are needed? This is the point where you are hoping you have a power strip, which allows for housing several different outlets on a single bar.

Using a power strip will mean that everything will have a place. With everything plugged in, the power can now be turned on. In some cases when the power button is pushed, the power in the room will go out. This can mean several things but the most common issue is an overloaded circuit. When this occurs, a fuse will be “blown” or the circuit breaker will “trip”, in order to cut off the electrical current in that area for safety and preventative reasons. We discussed how Circuit Breakers work in a previous blog which you can read by Clicking Here.

Many people fail to consider just how much each electrical outlet can supply power. In the US, the standard household power from an electrical outlet is 120 volts. Although, there are many different electrical outlets with different factors like shape, size, and voltage. So, before plugging in any appliance, consider doing a bit of math and research on your home and learn how the power is distributed.

Prevent Overloaded Circuits…

  • Begin by locating every outlet in your home or apartment
  • Create a quick sketch/map of our home and indicate where the outlets are located
  • Locate the circuit breaker and label circuit numbers on your sketch/map according to the circuit breaker (you should be able to find the amp rating on the circuit breaker switch)

Now it is time for the math…

  • Add the existing electrical loads (the current appliances that are plugged into an outlet), do this by checking each appliance and finding the label that displays how many watts the device requires.
  • If wattage is displayed in amps, use this equation to convert into watts (amps x 120 volts = watts) and then find the sum of the watts.
  • After the totals are added, try to relocate certain appliances so that each electrical outlet has no more than 1800 watts in its circuit. (Larger appliance will need their own circuit)

The primary goal to preventing an overloaded circuit from happening, even during the holiday season is to become aware of your circuits and the appliances plugged into the electrical outlets. If one area continues to trip the circuit or blow the fuse, then focus on this area in order to discover which appliance may need relocating. This is beneficial to know because in the future, if you bring a new appliance to the room, you will know if the electrical outlet will be able to power this additional appliance. Knowledge is power and having knowledge about power means that you have more control of your life.

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