Office Electronics: Ensuring Load Doesn't Exceed Supply

30 September 2020
 Categories: , Blog

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Office buildings and other commercial settings should have a lot of power available. Even older buildings should have been retrofitted to be able to provide the number of amps required by modern building codes. However, even the most well-planned commercial electrical system can run into trouble when faced with actual office occupants and their electronics. While each electronic item might use only a small amount of power, all of them add up.

Space Heaters

Most offices have at least one person using a small space heater under their desk. These tiny heaters can be very helpful, but they can also be energy hogs when in the wrong setting or when just starting up. Larger space heaters can use a good 10 to 15 amps when warming up, and if you have too many scattered around the building, that can create a strain on the electrical system. If a lot of people are using space heaters, it's time to look at where the thermostat is set. However, if they're using the space heaters just out of personal preference, find out how many amps each uses and ensure the electrical system has more than enough power to run them all at the same time. Consider an upgrade and adding more circuits if the current supply is barely enough to cover the increased usage.

All the Little Things

Even if you don't have space heaters, you'll have multiple phone chargers and other small appliances on desks. Even those can add up, although it's harder to quantify how much electricity they all draw because they aren't all in use all day. It's good to work in a cushion, so to speak, of extra amps when installing wiring; if your company is considering upgrading its electrical system, make sure each circuit provides a lot of power -- and make sure there are a lot of circuits.

Expansion

Companies expand and add people all the time. That means they create new cubicles and offices with their own outlets and with added computers, lights, and more. If you're expanding your company, now's a good time to expand the electrical system, too, to ensure you haven't added too many outlets and electronic items for the existing supply.

It's a good idea to keep circuit maps that link the outlets to individual breakers; this makes it a lot easier to double-check loads when you know someone on that circuit adds a new electronic item. You can more easily see which circuits are getting close to their limit. A commercial electrician can help you determine which outlets are on which circuits, and they can help you upgrade the wiring if needed.