For most homes, the use of extension cords and power strips is pretty inevitable. After all, modern homes are equipped with countless toys, tools and appliances, which all require power. Additionally, homes are only designed with a certain number of outlets. As a result, it is imperative that you learn about the dos and don’ts related to power strip usage. This will help to keep you, your family and your home safe.
Extension Cords vs. Power Strips
To explain the difference simply, a power strip is something that is one length of cable that includes a plug on one of the ends, and a row of sockets that are embedded in a plastic box on the other end.
While extension cords have a similar design, they are usually much longer and not as stable. Additionally, extension cords usually only have two or three plugs. “Less stable” means that extension cords are only designed for about an hour of use at a time. They should never be relied on for days. However, a power strip can handle longer usage.
Important Things to Know
You know how to use a power strip – after all it is essentially a plug and play device. However, there are quite a few things that most people don’t know about them, or that the warning label may not state. If you plan on using a power strip in your home, garage or anywhere for that matter, make sure to keep the following information in mind:
- They can handle several small loads at a time. The power strip was initially created so you could use a lamp, radio and computer at the same time. However, they aren’t designed to handle even one major appliance, such as a power tool or space heater.
- They are designed for extended use. While the power strip can handle use for a few days, or even a week, they are not designed to be a workaround for your electrical outlets. These devices don’t have the longevity or stability and are eventually going to fail and may wind up taking your plugged-in devices along. If you really need to plug in that many things frequently, then it is best to call the professionals to have more outlets installed in your home.
- They need some type of surge protection. A surge protection device is something that will protect your equipment if a short or surge takes place. Make sure your power strips are equipped with this.
- You should never plug a power strip into another extension device. If you try to put together several power extenders, you are going to create some issues. This can result in appliance damage or even an electrical fire.
If you have more questions about power strips or are ready to have new outlets installed in your home to reduce the use of power strips, then make sure to call the professionals.