How Many Outlets is Too Many?

Posted by Ted Shoemaker on August 11, 2011
How Many Outlets is Too Many?

A German organization has issued a warning about multiple electrical socket outlets. Tests in July by the consumer agency Stiftung Warentest showed more than half of them to be deficient in safety or even a fire hazard. “It’s safer to have a secure, properly done installation, with an adequate number of wall plugs and circuits,” said Hartmut Zander of the Initiative ELEKTRO+, the organization of the electric industry that issued the warning.

ELEKTRO+ urges that, in the event of new construction or remodeling, the builder give thought to the personal needs and habits of the customer. Where, it asks, is a great deal of electricity especially needed? For the operation of appliances in the kitchen? Or in the living room for the television and sound system? “When in doubt it’s better to plan for a few extra wall plugs,” said Zander. “It costs only slightly more and makes more comfort, flexibility and safety possible in all uses of electricity.”

In the average kitchen, the organization recommends there should be 10 electric outlets, all above the working areas in double wall plugs. The minimum for a 20-square-meter living room should be eight outlets. Under no circumstances should one multiple socket be connected to another one. That presents a considerable danger when the wattages of the various appliances are added up. The Initiative also recommends the installation of wall conduits during construction or remodeling, so that further electric lines can easily be added in the event the demands of the residents increase.

Ted Shoemaker is based in Frankfurt, Germany, and is a correspondent for a number of American magazines.

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