Power Strips and Extension Cords: Tips for Safely Using Them in Your Home

In today's world, almost every device needs a power source. From phones to computers, tablets and kitchenware, you may find yourself with limited outlets to power all your devices. This is where power strips and extension cords come into play. As useful as they are at providing additional plugins, you should be aware of how to use them safely inside your home.

Many people unknowingly overload outlets or plug in the wrong types of devices into power strips. They may also position extension cords in dangerous areas that may harm others. Here's what you should keep in mind when using power strips and extension cords.  

Don't overload

Power strips are primarily meant to support smaller, portable devices. They can only carry so much power, and overloading them with devices could result in numerous complications. For example, exceeding the maximum voltage of a power strip could cause an electrical surge and damage to connected devices.

When shopping, check the maximum voltage supported by your power strip. Also, make sure to purchase strips that are made of durable materials. Power strips made of cheap plastic are prone to melting and damaging your appliances.

Don't piggyback multiple extension cords

Many people are guilty of this. While daisy-chaining multiple extension cords can help you access power where you need it, many things could go wrong during this process. Connecting different types of extension cords together could result in power flow issues, and the possibility of a surge is increased significantly.

A better idea is to have an electrician install an outlet in the area of your home where you need more power access. A new grounded outlet is much safer and can be designed to run on an independent circuit. This will reduce the risk of surges.  

Check the voltage of each device before plugging it into a power strip

As previously mentioned, each power strip has a different voltage rating. But even the most durable power strips aren't designed to support power-hungry tools such as space heaters, landscape supplies or power equipment.

Avoid plugging lawnmowers, refrigerators and washing machines into a power strip. These should be directly plugged into a wall outlet that's running on an independent circuit.

Invest in surge protection

To cover your bases, purchase a surge protection device that you can connect to each power strip or extension cord. Surge protectors prevent any damage that could arise from electrical surges. In this way, any device connected to your power strip or extension cord is protected.