Technology has come a long way from what it was 50 years ago. Electricity is not just a part of everyday life; people have become dependent on it. As awareness increases, electrical accidents and fires have become fewer.
Still, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) estimates that 51,000 home electrical fires happen in the United States annually. Many of these fires could have been prevented if only people had paid more attention.
An easily preventable cause of electrical fires is extension cords and power strips. Misuse of these devices causes approximately 3,300 residential electrical fires, 50 deaths, and 270 injuries annually. To prevent a potential home fire, never do the following things with a power strip.
1. Never Use a Damaged Strip
One outlet may have stopped working, so you just plug your device into the next. A burned outlet indicates an internal failure. Continuing to use the extension cord can result in a fire. If the cord is damaged, don’t use it either.
Before use, check if the cable is cracked or frayed. Ensure the head is secure and there are no loose connections. Exposed wiring and loose connections can create an arcing fault.
Don’t run the cable through doors and windows. Don’t nail or staple it if you want to attach a power strip to the wall or baseboard.
2. Never Overload a Power Strip
Plugging one power strip into another is dangerous but, unfortunately, a common practice. Using too many devices will overload a power strip, causing it to overheat and can lead to a fire. Ensure the power strip is rated for the amount of amperage you need or more to prevent an overload.
Not only can you overload a power strip, but the outlet it uses is also affected. Make sure you do not exceed the circuit’s limits. Overloading an outlet will cause the wires to overheat and melt. Hire an electrician near me to install additional outlets to avoid using multiple power strips.
3. Never Overuse Power Strips
Only use power strips for a limited amount of time. Overuse can lead to overheating and failure of the device. Power strips are not a substitute for permanent wiring; you should use them sparingly.
4. Never Use an Indoor Strip Outdoors
If you need a power strip outdoors, look for one rated for outdoor use. Common extension cords are meant for indoor use and cannot withstand different weather conditions.
You risk electrical shock and fire by using an indoor strip outside. Only use an outdoor power strip with a weather-resistant GFCI outlet.
5. Never Plug in Beauty Appliances
Curlers, flat irons, and hair dryers create a lot of heat which takes a lot of electricity power strips cannot handle. Plug your beauty tools directly into the GFCI outlet in the bathroom. If you need more receptacles, your electrician near me can install some for you.
6. Never Use It Near Water
This goes without saying, but electrocutions and fires still occur because of disregarding this one rule. Don’t use a power strip in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and other wet areas.
For the garage, get water-resistant power strips. It’s best to have them hardwired by an electrician near me for added safety.
7. Never Plug in Kitchen Appliances
The kitchen is probably the room with the most electrical appliances. None of these should be used with a power strip.
Be it your coffee machine, toaster, microwave oven, multi-purpose kitchen machine, or slow cooker, all these consume energy a power strip cannot convey.
Refrigerators and freezers should be on their dedicated circuit and not in an extension cord. An electrician near me can draw additional circuits to your kitchen for these appliances.
8. Never Plug in High Power Appliances
Other appliances to not plug into a power strip include space heaters, power tools, air conditioners, fans, washing machines, and dryers – in short, any equipment that draws a lot of power. Washing machines and dryers should be plugged into a GFCI outlet. Have your electrician near me test GFCIs regularly to ensure they function correctly.
During the colder months, space heaters are often used on an already loaded circuit, causing the circuit breaker to trip. Ask your electrician near me to install an additional outlet for the space heater. The extra receptacle can accommodate a fan or portable air conditioner on warmer days.
9. Never Use When Hot
Unplug a power strip, and remove some connected devices if it gets hot. Do not cover a power strip; place it under a rug or squeeze it behind furniture. It will overheat much faster and can be a tripping hazard.
10. Never Use a Power Strip as a Safety Device
Surge protectors are power strips that protect sensitive equipment like computers and TVs from power surges. Power strips and surge protectors look very similar, but surge protectors usually cost more, and the package indicates it is a protective device.
Some surge protectors also have circuit breakers that can prevent an overload. You can also hire a trusted electrician near me to install a whole-house surge protector if you have a lot of sensitive devices.
Need an Electrical Safety Upgrade?
Mister Sparky of Florence is the electrician near me you have been looking for. We guarantee our excellent customer service and quality work won’t disappoint you.
Look no further if you need general electrical repairs, lighting installs, or generator service. Call us today, anytime, and we will be there.
Electricity is a great blessing. But it can quickly turn into a nightmare. You can keep your home and loved ones safe by being proactive and following safety rules. If you have a power strip problem in your home, a reputable electrician near me such as Mister Sparky of Florence can help you find the best solution.
See our previous blog on this topic here.
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