How do you know if your electrical outlets can handle all tank equipment?

Kathylee
  • #1
I want to plug in a Green Killing Machine. It says 12V lamp is 9W. I am afraid to because I have so many things already plugged in downstairs. 3 fish tanks all with lights, heaters, one air pump but on top of that there's a TV, 4 lamps, a laptop, and human things. & that's only in the basement nevermind the rest of the house haha.

I know this may seem silly, but I live in an older New England style home and am afraid I'm gonna over use the sockets ... So how do you know when your maxed out?
 

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AggressiveAquatics
  • #2
There’s probably some way of telling but for me it’s “You never know till you know”. I had to take down my 29 gallon because I kept blowing the fuse in my room with 4 tanks
 

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Kathylee
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
There’s probably some way of telling but for me it’s “You never know till you know”. I had to take down my 29 gallon because I kept blowing the fuse in my room with 4 tanks
Oh no! That's not good lol
 
Dechi
  • #4
I guess you’d have to ask an electrician to check but it does seem like a lot. Can you have another electrical outlet installed ?
 
Kathylee
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I guess you’d have to ask an electrician to check but it does seem like a lot. Can you have another electrical outlet installed ?
I'm not sure, my cousin is currently an electricians apprentice, maybe I should give him a call & ask him to come take a look.
I was curious because I see many people with multiple large tanks going OR a big fishroom.

My 20g + 5g QT are running on one wall on a power strip in one socket. My 29g is running on the adjourning wall in a different socket.
 
Dechi
  • #6
I'm not sure, my cousin is currently an electricians apprentice, maybe I should give him a call & ask him to come take a look.

If you have another outlet installed, asked for a GFCI one. It will protect you from electrocution if there is stray current in the tank (and you’re touching the water). It doesn’t cost much more and it’s something we should have for every tank.
 

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qldmick
  • #7
Hey mate you can't get much lower than 9w, it'll barely make a difference.
My new saltwater tank with all accessories has tripped out that socket once since I've had it a bit over a week.
I am moving to a newer house so I'm hoping I won't have any problems there.
 
Kathylee
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Hey mate you can't get much lower than 9w, it'll barely make a difference.
My new saltwater tank with all accessories has tripped out that socket once since I've had it a bit over a week.
I am moving to a newer house so I'm hoping I won't have any problems there.
I'm unfamiliar with saltwater setups, do they run much more equipment?
I'm trying to run a UV light, there's a control box I think that is 12 volts, and then the encased UV lamp is 9Watts.
 
SotaAquatics
  • #10
voltage/wattage is used to calculate out amps, amps are what matter as far as overwhelming a circuit. You are probably on a 15 amp circuit breaker.

To calculate total amp draw, its Wattage/Voltage = Amperage, and that has to be done for each item plugged in that's running at the same time.

9w/12v = 0.75 amps.

example of a 100 watt heater thats 120 volts, thats 100w/120v = 0.83 amps.

as long as your total amperage is below the circuit breaker load - typically 15amp or maybe 20, you are fine.
 

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ForceTen
  • #11
There’s probably some way of telling but for me it’s “You never know till you know”. I had to take down my 29 gallon because I kept blowing the fuse in my room with 4 tanks
It would have been easier to correct the problem than take down an aquarium.

I'm not sure, my cousin is currently an electricians apprentice, maybe I should give him a call & ask him to come take a look.
Use extreme caution. You don't need help. All you need is a calculator, a way to write down a couple numbers and hopefully GFCI protected circuit as well.

If you have another outlet installed, asked for a GFCI one. It will protect you from electrocution if there is stray current in the tank (and you’re touching the water). It doesn’t cost much more and it’s something we should have for every tank.
Excellent post Dechi! To many in our hobby do not even consider the effects or the combination of electricity and water.
A simple GFCI receptacle can and will prevent the possibility of electrical shock and possibly death.

voltage/wattage is used to calculate out amps, amps are what matter as far as overwhelming a circuit. You are probably on a 15 amp circuit breaker.

To calculate total amp draw, its Wattage/Voltage = Amperage, and that has to be done for each item plugged in that's running at the same time.

9w/12v = 0.75 amps.

example of a 100 watt heater thats 120 volts, thats 100w/120v = 0.83 amps.

as long as your total amperage is below the circuit breaker load - typically 15amp or maybe 20, you are fine.

Its watts (P) divided by volts (E).
So in your equations above its 12/9 = 1.3 amps (I)
And 120/100 = 1.2 amps (I)
 
AggressiveAquatics
  • #12
It would have been easier to correct the problem than take down an aquarium.
That was the problem. I had to many tanks in my room using up to much power
 
SotaAquatics
  • #13
Its watts (P) divided by volts (E).
So in your equations above its 12/9 = 1.3 amps (I)
And 120/100 = 1.2 amps (I)

Yeah. Watts divided by volts. Its 9 watts, 12 volts.

9/12 = 0.75 amps.

100 Watt heater divided by 120 Volts.

100w/120v which = 0.83 amps

You have the formula correct: I=P/E
 
John58ford
  • #14
Its watts (P) divided by volts (E).
So in your equations above its 12/9 = 1.3 amps (I)
And 120/100 = 1.2 amps (I)
9 watts, divided by 12v is .75amps.
9watts, 120v is .075 amps.

Wattage is a constant measurement of energy, 1000W @12V is the same amount of power as 1000W@1,000V, but the amperage would be different. There will be a loss of power converting 120Vac to 12Vdv that is lost as heat, often 5-20% depending on quality.

In response to the original post, a run of outlets in the common home will have a 10,15, or 20 amp rating at the breaker. To make this super simple, subtract 20% to make up for any converter loss by the DC power supplies and use simple 100v@10a and you get 1000 watts as a worst case scenario. Add up your equipments rated wattage (regardless of voltage) and see if it's under that. If you are very close, it may be time to do more math, or at least verify you aren't using a 15a breaker, which would carry 1500 watts after adjusting for converter loss.
 

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MyFishAddiction
  • #15
I have no idea, but my tanks haven't stopped working yet, so I'm good for a bit!
 
Kathylee
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
I asked my gram because she is the homeowner & she said all the wiring & outlets Down here are actually the newest in the house, and thinks it'll be okay.

I asked the hubby to take a took at it, and he said he thinks it'll be fine & gave me the okay to go ahead & try it, he said the worse that will happen is the breaker will trip & we can unplug it & then he can flip it back over... He told me I was just "over-thinking," this.

Thank you all for the math & equations. I think it's a bit over my head though, because I don't know what Amp rating my breaker is or anything much about it. But regardless before plugging in anymore equipment, I'd like to have my cousin come & take a look at everything.

Does anyone know of something to compare it to? For example a phone charger? Or a toaster? A laptop charger? Do these things run more than the GKM UV light?
 
John58ford
  • #17
Does anyone know of something to compare it to? For example a phone charger?
An original quick charge charger would be a good comparison. The modern quick charge 3.0 used on cell phones or whatever the iPhone 12 runs is in the 20+ watt range. So your light bulb is about half of a modern cell phone charger as far as load.
 
pagoda
  • #18
Not sure if this would help or not, but my lounge has 4 single power sockets.

I have the following plugged in via surge and load protected extension leads.....

Fridge/freezer, freezer, computer, monitor, TV, a satellite decoder, DVD player, 2 aquariums (with two lights, 2 external filters and 2 heaters), a clock, a stereo system and a table lamp.

The only things off most of the time are the stereo system and DVD player....everything else is switched on at the extension lead.

I have 4 extension leads, all with 13amp plugs.

Nothing has...touch wood...gone wonky in the last 11 years
 

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Debbie1986
  • #19
I spoke with my neighbor who has been an electrician for over 40 years. he said mine are fine.

My largest tank is still my 38 gallon ( *eyes my 5 gallon siting there uninstalled wistfully since last july)

tank, filter, occasional light, it's not enough to cause an issue plus my house is close to the desired tank temp so ambient air is currently only off by 1 degree. ( AC is at 77, winter heater was at 70)

3 of my tanks have glass hoods which imo really hold the heat in nicely. Even the 1 tank (interior wall) is only 5 feet from front door, no issues with heater being on all the time.

The tank lights are really my only concern because 1) they're cheap and 2) from china. I pretty much leave them off when I leave the house.


two 6 gallons ( bettas)
two 10 gallons ( blue lobster , other is shrimp tank)
36 gallon silver dollars
38 community tank
20 long community tank
20 tall small catfish

small ranch house, no issues. smaller tanks (6gallons and 10 gallons) share a socket with power strip with power conditioner. so the small tanks share a single wall socket but the power conditioner helps prevent issues.



power condition ( on/off button ) on a power strip will save you time and money plus a mess! Plus, my fish that need filter running 24/7 (non bettas) should have enough time for me to arrive home and fix any issue on a given day.
 
Redviper
  • #20
Electricity, like money, is a means to an end for me. Conversely, that means I don't know overly much about either. When I was learning to plug things in I learned to feel for higher temps in the wall outlet, while being sensitive to malfunctions in the plugged device. Simplistic? Yes, but it's always worked for me, even with computer hardware. ;)
 
MasterPython
  • #21
The best thing to do would be get a power meter that wraps around a cord and put that on the power bar all those things are plugged into to see how much they pull. You might be able to borrow one from the library. Then figure out what else is on that breaker or fuse.
 
Redviper
  • #22
The best thing to do would be get a power meter that wraps around a cord and put that on the power bar all those things are plugged into to see how much they pull. You might be able to borrow one from the library. Then figure out what else is on that breaker or fuse.

There are IoT devices that do this and more using WiFi. Go to Amazon (gag) and do a find on "smart plugs."
 

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