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Circuit Breaker Loads

Most office and laboratory locations have 20 amp circuit breakers that serve two or more outlets. These breakers can handle most office equipment; however, the widespread use of personal computers and associated hardware can create an electrical overload. To determine your current electrical load, follow these steps:

  1. Check office/laboratory equipment for a manufacturer's rating label that indicates total watts or amps. Take special care to check appliances that use electricity to generate heat.
  2. Convert the watts rating to amps: Amps = Watts ? 120 Volts
  3. Total the amps for each circuit.
  4. If the total equals more than 15 amps per 20 amp circuit, you may overloading the circuit. Move enough equipment to a different circuit to reduce the circuit load; otherwise, have the Physical Plant inspect the circuit wiring.

4. Electrical Grounding

Proper electrical grounding can help prevent electrical injury. Most electrical equipment is grounded with either a three-prong plug or a two-prong plug and insulation. Because a grounding system may be defective without your knowledge, use a GFCI to ensure electrical safety. GFCIs are required in moist or potentially damp environments.

5. Electrical Panels

Electrical panels or breaker boxes require special safety considerations, including the
following:

  • Know where your panel box is located.
  • Do not tape circuit switches to keep a breaker from tripping.
  • Ensure that breaker circuits are accurately labeled within panel boxes.
  • Ensure that panel box doors are securely attached.
  • Do not block panel boxes. There should be at least 36 inches of clear space in front of a panel box.

Report tripped breakers and refer any electrical questions to the Physical Plant.