Although treadmills with powerful motors need more current, they can last for years if they are well powered. But, if it experiences a simple power issue, it can cost you a lot of money. Moreover, this fitness equipment consumes a lot of electricity, which can lead to dangerous power surges.
That said, if you're planning to buy a new treadmill, there are certain electrical requirements you need to consider. However, in this article, we'll look at whether the treadmill will malfunction if you plug it into a regular outlet.
Read on to find out!
Electrical Circuit Requirements for Treadmills
The power needed for a specific treadmill varies depending on the model and manufacturer. However, most treadmill units run on 120V through a grounded or dedicated power outlet.
In addition, most treadmill manufacturers recommend using surge protectors that meet certain standards in case of electric current fluctuations or power shortages. And if your power outlet doesn't meet the electrical requirements of your treadmill, you're advised to look for a professional electrician.
Icon Health and Fitness manufacture treadmill brands like Proform and NordicTrack operate on a 120V circuit. On the contrary, treadmills from other brands like Smooth Fitness need a 110V circuit.
Interestingly, treadmills from both manufacturers can be powered by the same outlet. Although a standard residential outlet in the United States is 120v, the actual voltage ranges from 117 to 124V. More importantly, products rated for a 120-, 115- and 110V circuit are compatible with a standard residential 120 V outlet.
Can You Plug a Treadmill Into a Normal Outlet?
Most treadmill models can be plugged into a regular outlet, provided it's on a 15 or 20-A circuit, depending on the wattage. Home treadmills need a 15A circuit, while commercial treadmill power requirements recommend a 20 A circuit.
With that in mind, powering up your home treadmills while building a home gym will be a very exciting task. First, however, you must ensure that you plan its power consumption accordingly if you wish to use the machine safely for several years.
The best option is to use a grounded, dedicated circuit at 120 V and 20 Amps. Alternatively, you can use a dedicated circuit with 15 A, but the risk will be slightly higher since 15A circuits use a lighter gauge compared to their 20A counterpart. To be completely certain of preventing electrical issues, treadmill manufacturers suggest having a dedicated 20A circuit wherever possible.
A dedicated circuit means that no other device is connected to that circuit. This allows the treadmill to safely draw all the electricity it needs to function. Besides, if the circuit is shared, the treadmill may not get sufficient power, leading to a shorter lifespan and poor performance.
Why Use a 20A Dedicated Circuit for Treadmills?
Although treadmills can run on a 15A circuit, most treadmills need a separate/ dedicated 20A circuit. Unfortunately, 15A circuits consist of light wires, thus increasing their chances of causing power issues if shared with other electrical devices. On the bright side, you can avoid this by getting a dedicated 20A circuit for your treadmill.
Why does the treadmill need a dedicated circuit?
Most treadmills available in the market are motorized, and the motor needs up to 20A of available power. Therefore, using a 20A dedicated circuit eliminates the risk of overloading the existing 15A wiring, which can overheat to the point of causing a fire accident. Moreover, this eliminates the risk of burning out the treadmill motor because of lacking the required power, thus voiding your warranty.
More notably, a basic house wiring configuration features a shared 15A circuit, so it feeds multiple outlets. In addition, the circuit features a 15A breaker to protect it if many devices are plugged into these outlets. This will cause the circuit breaker to trip when connecting the treadmill to such outlets. However, that will not happen if you use a dedicated 20A circuit.
What Kind of Outlet Does a Treadmill Need?
⦿ A grounded outlet
The main benefit of using a grounded outlet is that it prevents treadmill users from being shocked in case of a short circuit. Specifically, this outlet connects to the weather, providing a path of resistance for the electric current. As a result, they have a 3rd spike that should not be disassembled as it may affect your health & safety. To ensure you've got a properly grounded socket, contact an electrician to install it.
⦿ Grounded, the dedicated circuit at 120v and 20A
As mentioned earlier, this is the option for powering your treadmill as it helps it run for a more extended period. Also, make sure you plug the treadmill into the nearest power outlet that supplies power to other household appliances.
⦿ Surge suppressor for treadmill
Plugging the power cord of your treadmill directly into a dedicated 20A outlet exposes it to electrical surges. For that reason, it's important to unplug the machine when not in use to protect it from damage due to these surges.
However, if you don't want to be concerned about unplugging the equipment after each use, look for a dedicated surge protector. The surge protector plugs directly into the power outlet without requiring an extra cord. Best of all, it protects your machine if there is a sudden power change in your home.
Treadmill Surge Suppressor Requirements
According to treadmill manufacturers, you should use a single-outlet surge protector with a rating of UL 1449 TVSS (Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor). In addition, the suppressor should have an electrical rating of 15A & 120V, and UL suppressed voltage rating of less than 400V. More importantly, you should plug the suppressor into a grounded out, then plug your treadmill into the suppressor.
Types of Power Outlets You Should Avoid for Treadmills
Regular outlets with inadequate power, like those with less than 110V, can lead to a technical glitch in the operation of the treadmill belt. Such problems can also happen if you're plugging your treadmill into any of the following types of power outlets;
⦾ Shared outlets
Electrical appliances are often connected to the same circuit using shared outlets and lighting controls. This limits the circuit voltage, which can potentially damage equipment that needs more power, like treadmills. So, avoid powering your treadmill with a shared outlet.
⦾ GFCI outlet
Treadmills don't work with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets since they're vulnerable to power fluctuations. Instead, treadmills should be powered by an outlet that ensures a constant circuit flow to protect them from power outages and current fluctuations. Using a treadmill on a GFCI outlet will frequently trip the breaker.
⦾ Surge protectors
Most treadmill units are equipped with inbuilt surge protectors. If that is the case, connect your treadmill directly to the wall outlet without a surge protector.
Conclusion If you're thinking about owning or buying a treadmill, it's important to consider where you'll place it and its power requirements. In that regard, you should bear in mind that a treadmill requires a sufficient power supply to work effectively.
Most treadmills designed for home use can be plugged into a regular outlet since their motors don't need a lot of power. However, I'd strongly recommend that you use a properly grounded & dedicated 120-volt, 20-Amp circuit for your treadmill, especially if its motor generates 3HP and above.
1. How many watts does the treadmill use?
Treadmill wattage usually varies depending on the features and model of the machines. All in all, a treadmill can use about 200 to 500 watts.
2. What size breaker for the treadmill should I use?
The power requirements of most treadmills use a 20A dedicated circuit with an isolated ground/ neutral. This means that each power outlet you plug the machine into shouldn't have any other devices running on that circuit.
3. My treadmill keeps tripping the breaker; what could be the cause?
Various reasons can make your treadmill trip the circuit breaker. First, if the equipment is drawing too much power, the breaker will trip to prevent the circuit from overloading or overheating. Also, if you connect the treadmill to an AFCI or GFCI outlet, the breaker will trip.
4. Can you plug a treadmill into a 15A circuit?
If the treadmill manufacturer recommends it, you can connect your machine to a 15A circuit. Besides, most circuits operate at a maximum of 80% capacity, so your treadmill will work on less than 15A most of the time.