Tech

Can You Plug a Surge Protector Into a Surge Protector?

A household surge protector on a wood tabletop.
BW Folsom/Shutterstock.com

Many people wonder whether it’s a good idea to connect two surge protectors, either to provide additional protection or to gain access to more power outlets. The simple answer is no, and for good reason.

Can You Double Up on Surge Protectors?

One surge protector that is plugged into another is connected in series, which means power flows from one protector to the other. The only additional protection that plugging one surge protector into another could provide is redundancy. That is to say, if the first surge protector happens to fail, the second will still be functional.

You do not gain the ability to absorb a greater amount of power in the event of a surge. Different surge protectors can trigger at different voltage levels, so the one with the lowest trigger point should trigger first and absorb the excess power.

There is some evidence to suggest that the protection capabilities of a surge protector can be tampered with if you daisy chain the two devices, and many protector warranties are void if you partake in this practice. That includes any insurance cover that the strip may advertise.

Daisy Chaining Power Strips With Surge Protectors Could Be Dangerous

You’ve probably been warned not to “daisy chain” power strips before, and that’s for good reason. While power strips are far safer than they once were, the more devices you have connected to a single strip, the more likely you are to overload the strip that’s closest to the wall outlet.

A power strip that is carrying a high load or exceeding its rated load may overheat and cause a fire. In some countries (like the U.K.) a fuse would likely blow before the power strip become overloaded. In other countries, there is no fuse to provide such protection.

Many power strips provide surge protection, and much of the time that’s what people think of when the term is used. You can also buy single pass-through sockets that provide surge protection, but even these are rated for a specific load. In many instances, devices that don’t use a lot of power (like a phone charger, alarm clock, or bedside lamp) are unlikely to cause an issue.

However, the risk increases when you plug thirstier devices like kettles and heaters into a power strip. If you do plan on plugging one strip into another, make sure that the total power draw doesn’t exceed the rating of the strip closest to the wall. You will find this rating printed on the power strip.

You should also be suspicious of cheap power strips that may not be up to code.

Want More Protection? Use a Home Surge Suppressor

If you’re eager for more protection against power surges, consider a whole house surge protector. These connect directly to your power supply, protecting everything in your house against the dreaded surge.

Protectors like the Siemens FS100 cost a few hundred dollars and provide whole-house protection. You no longer have to worry whether or not an expensive device like a laptop or TV is connected to a surge protector, and many protect phone and cable lines too.

Whole House Surge Protector

If you’re sticking with power strip surge protectors, understanding when to replace your surge protector is important.

RELATED: Why (and When) You Need to Replace Your Surge Protector




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