Often, just one refrigerator isn't enough. Whether you want to install a deep freezer next to your garage fridge or simply need the space for two refrigerators, you may find yourself wondering if it is safe to plug these two large appliances into the same outlet.
While it may be perfectly fine in some cases, it can be outright dangerous in others. When in doubt, use separate outlets.
Safe Circuit Capacity
Each circuit in your home has a specified circuit capacity. For many outlets, that measurement is either 15, 20 or 30 amps.
Your main breaker panel provides electricity to each of these circuits, for a total capacity of about 100 to 200 amps. If you know the amps for your home, you can do a few quick calculations to determine how much electricity each circuit can safely handle.
Then, determine the maximum amount of electricity each refrigerator could use at a given time and you can get a pretty good idea if one outlet can handle both appliances.
Don't Break Code
In some states, there is no reason to calculate how much electricity your outlet can handle because building codes simply will not allow two appliances to use the same outlet. Some states require dedicated circuits for all appliances, while other areas require them for refrigerators and not other appliances.
Still some codes will allow you to use an outlet for two refrigerators but not for two other appliances. Be sure to check with your local municipality to see what you're allowed to do.
If your circuit capacity and codes allow you to plug two appliances into one outlet, you may still want to reconsider. Doing so can cause your refrigerators to run less efficiently.
Drawing too much power can make your breaker trip. Since fridges take a lot of energy to cool back down, this can be a real drain on your power supply and wallet.
Even with all of these cautions, there may be some cases in which you must plug two refrigerators into a single outlet. In this case, you can install a split-wired receptacle that serves two circuits in your home.
This allows you to draw from two separate circuits, rather than overload one. This may help you meet code requirements as well.
Always use caution when working with electricity. Be sure to turn off all the breakers near your working space.
To install a split-wired receptacle, you need to remove the connecting tab, rewire the outlet and reconnect to the breaker.
If you need more space to store all your cold and frozen goodies, be sure to check circuit capacity and codes before you plug two refrigerators into just one outlet. If you simply cannot avoid this, you can use a split-wire receptacle to allow the appliances to run on different circuits.