Upgrading the Office—When Do You Need Powerstrips and When Do You Need Outlets?

So your garage business has hit the big-time office floor, and you’ve wrung all of the “intern” hours out of your kids that you can. It’s time to scale up, but as we all know, real estate isn’t cheap. That goes double for office space, especially in central city areas that make for easy commutes and quick pitstop lunches.

We can’t all waltz around like Wall Street with a thousand phones blaring—being mindful of your space means ensuring all employees have ample access to device chargers, consistent power for desktops, sufficient wifi, and maybe even a fridge or two! Of course, with more power demands and more people comes the question of upgrading your office space.

The worst thing that can happen during a busy day is your power system failing and, along with it, your phones, equipment, bookkeeping, and all other productivity-driving tools. You can’t cross your t’s without being able to see what’s in front of you!

Balancing your power load is one of the most important things you will have to do as a business owner. This guide will walk you through what you need to know and when you need to call an expert electrician with experience in commercial properties.

The Wattage Limitations of Powerstrips

With most power strips containing six to eight outlets, it may seem intuitive that they can handle six to eight loads accordingly. After all, why put them there if they aren’t meant to be used? Unfortunately, accidentally overloading these circuits can lead to trips. While most power strips have a built-in breaker that will catch power crunches before they can wreak havoc on your baker, this isn’t always the case for cheaper builds or older devices.

In general, you should limit the usage of your power strip to below the wattage advertised on the package. Additionally, keep in mind the devices that have higher wattage demands. For instance, a laptop charger may be only 30 watts, whereas a coffee maker runs at 1,350 watts! Check out this list of common wattages here to see how your strips total up.

This difference means while it is generally safe to run a few laptop chargers on a standard 1,800-watt power strip, adding heavy-wattage appliances can quickly push your device past its limit. This overload might affect the devices plugged into the socket in the short term. However, if left too long, fire risk is almost always around the corner—over 3,300 fires are linked to overloaded power strips yearly!

Other Power Strip Considerations

When setting up your desks for power strip usage, ensure you are plugging into multiple wall outlets rather than just one. Spreading your power usage evenly across the room means less strain and greater longevity for your power strips and circuits.

Additionally, power cables are tripping hazards. Running them behind desks ensures that the connections will not be jostled and reduces injury likelihood. Additionally, keeping the wall outlet accessible in the event of an overloaded circuit is highly recommended.

Lastly, never “daisy-chain” your power bars together or use them outside. While they are valuable tools, they are meant for use in stable temperatures with minimal bending or excessive loading. Treat them right, and they’ll treat you right back.

Upgrading a Circuit or Breaker

When your office grows beyond what it was designed for, it may be time to call an expert in to upgrade your breaker. Circuit upgrades may be complicated but can be equally necessary for the longevity and growth of your business. Many commercial properties can handle more sophisticated panels—if you’ve read this far, it might be time to check! Luckily for our clients, many installs can be completed in as little as a day with some planning. 

Growing your business should be exciting, not worrying about electric usage and fire risk. Working with an experienced electrician to update, optimize, and expand your electrical footprint to meet growing demands is as simple as one phone call.

Our team is here to help you grow responsibly. Don’t let the lights go dark when you need them most—get in touch with us at Lakeview Electric to get started.

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