NFPA, OSHA and Power Strips

Can a coffee pot be plugged into a power strip? Power strips (also called relocatable power taps or RPTs) are not to be used to power appliances such as coffee pots, microwave ovens, toasters or refrigerators. Power strips also cannot be used with extension cords (constitutes a daisy chain extension cord).

As bob posted ( we live in a FREE country we can plug what ever we want into them…lol )

Discussion: Relocatable power taps (RPT) (also know as strip plugs, power strips, etc) and are for use with computers and their associated hardware components, low power usage components. Using an RPT with appliances or other high power loads is a violation of the OSHA requirement for proper usage ( OSHA IS NOT MY REASON FOR POSTING THIS…IGNORE OSHA…LOL ). NFPA 70 Article 110-3B also requires instructions to be followed. RPTs are not designed to handle high current loads. Small coffee pots (at 5-7 amps) are considered high current loads. UL pointed out that several 2 amp loads on the power strip would also represent hazard. The wire used in the strip to connect the outlets to the input is undersized for such usage, which may result in the wire overheating leading to insulation failure, arcing, and possible fire.

Reprint courtesy of :ES & H Safety Board

Good morning Paul.

Of course you can plug a coffee pot into a plug strip.:wink:

As a private citizen you can plug anything you want into a plug strip in your home.

OSHA is not a factor in a home, the UL White book is not a code.

Sure we can tell a homeowner that they have a 110.3(B) violation and then when they stop laughing at us they will go back to what they where doing.

Don’t get me wrong I agree that these units can and do cause fires.

IMO, that has more to do with the poor quality of the majority of these units then the concept itself. I have two RPTs that have 20’ 12/3 cords, a 20 amp male cord cap, 20 amp spec. grade duplexs, metal enclosure and a circuit breaker. I use these for many items temporarily.

IMO Something needs to be done far above the level of an electrician or a HI, either these units need to be banned (I am opposed to that) or these units need to be able to handle any load that can be plugged in.

JMO, Happy New Year Everyone, Bob

lol…I knew you would say that…lol…

lol…I happen to do commercial inspections as well so…but I was more interested in the effects of those RPT’s as many just seem to load them up and on a residential front…I see overloaded RPT’s all the time and I do not consider all of them I see as temporary…lol

Teheheh…I do need to remove the OSHA line as it was not intended for that actually…just to show the possible dangers of overloading RPT’s in general…

How safe is it to hook up the computer and peripherals to an RPT?


It is done all the bob said I also happen to have one for my computer system as well.

It really honestly depends on the manufacturer I believe as a good name will put efforts into building safety measures into them.

I get more concerned with the plugging in of larger draw items like large coffee pots, microwaves and larger items that work on the 20A spectrum per say.

I bought this up not because HI's should say anything about them but to leave it up to them to notice it....more or less as additional education on issues of safety and so on they may see.

Chances are in most home inspections the house is empty anyway or not in a state where you may see this alot....

I also just happen to have a good friend who has a RPT behind his large screen TV and it overheated and caught on fire and did severe damage to his TV, the wall in the house and of course his components in that area....BUT again the dude ( my friend ) had the strips overloaded beyond their listed capacity and even had them daisy chained to meet his need.....thats a WRONG move in itself.

I think they are fine for general use, temporary use and in well ventilated areas and ones made by reputable companies are fine.

In commercial work enforcement can be more clear cut.

I have spent many ‘overnights’ in most of the major retailers installing permanent wiring on the shelves as the Fire Marshal had come through and said the dozens of daisychained plug strips running entire electronic depts. had to go.

Where it gets kind of cloudy is in computer rooms, all the major manufactures make what looks like (and is) an RPT except it has a different listing and is rack mountable.

The only difference is the listing and a set of mounting ‘ears’ these can be used forever like this.


Many of the ones I have done are simply plug molding and designed to be used for display systems as you stated . I did one last year for Circuit City in which we had 3 banks of plug molding and set up for the purpose of display.

These were not temporary, however they did have their usage sized correctly and installed for the purpose. The bad thing about RPT’s are like you said…they are a quick fix and many use them in non-temporary applications which is where they start to load them up and forget about the issues that can play on them.

The actual intent of the post was education on electrical safety and concerns of overloading things not intended for the proper applications is all…:slight_smile:

It could be perfectly safe or it could be a fire waiting for fuel.

IMO much depends on the quality of the plug strip and of course the amount of load connected to it.

In the end the 15 amp CB in the power strip should be able to open before an overload damages the power strip or the branch circuit it is connected to.

Admittedly this is not always the case. :frowning:

Keeping that in mind if you where to keep the continuous load applied to the typical plug strip to less than 12 amps you should have no problems.

A typical PC with monitor and other peripherals (Laser Printers excluded) will not draw nearly 12 amp, most likely less than 5 amps, many less than 2 amps.



This category covers relocatable power taps rated 250 V ac or less, 20 A
less, intended for indoor use as relocatable multiple outlet extensions of
branch circuit to supply laboratory equipment, home workshops, home
movie lighting controls, musical instrumentation, and to provide outlet
receptacles for computers, audio and video equipment, and other equipment.
They consist of an attachment plug and a length of flexible cord terminated
in an enclosure in which one or more receptacles are mounted.
They may, in addition, be provided with fuses or other supplementary
overcurrent protection, switches, suppression components and/or indicator
lights in any combination, or connections for cable, communications,
telephone and/or antenna.
Relocatable power taps are intended to be directly connected to a permanently
installed branch circuit receptacle. Relocatable power taps are
not intended to be series connected (daisy chained) to other relocatable
power taps or to extension cords.
Relocatable power taps are not intended for use at construction sites and
similar locations.
Relocatable power taps are not intended to be permanently secured to
building structures, tables, work benches or similar structures, nor are


Ya…the old Daisy Chain cost a freind of mine alot as I said before. Sad thing is I was in his house just 3 weeks before that and made a comment to him about it because I was their fixing something and told him to get rid of that RPT set up.

Now…imagine how I feel…I may have told him but the FRIEND did not listen very well and paid for it…then gave me a guilt trip.

Hi, I think you should know that the power strips are designed to charge home appliances like refrigerator, TV, blender, pressure cooker, coffee maker, etc. Besides, a USB power strip also allows you to charge USB devices like cellphones, cameras, etc. Haven’t you used a power strip before? If so I can recommend you several power strip manufacturers - Belkin, BESTEK and Trippe Lite. I’, now looking at my bestek desktop power strip on my tablet. It has 8 outlets and 6 USB ports. I often don’t use it to charge home appliances, as I have to charge my computer and other important devices. I have another 6-outlet power strip in my kitchen. I think you should try it.

My advice is to re-examine your statements above and come to grips with the fact you are incorrect in many of your assumptions. For example, If you are under the impression that a relocatable power tap is designed for use with home appliances like refrigerators then you are grossly mistaken.

We have all used relocatable power taps, that you are referring to as power strips but understanding their intent and your desired use are two different things. As a replacement for permanent wiring, such as your refrigerator statement is simply incorrect. Also the fact that you have (6) relocatable power taps in your kitchen alone tells me your kitchen is older and suffers from a lack of current code receptacle placement provision.