As homeowners, there are things we’re all afraid of. Worst case scenarios that run through our minds, fueling our nightmares. One of those nightmares is that your home catches on fire because of faulty wiring or outlets. Let’s say you’re setting up your new TV, stereo, or gaming system, and BAM, the electricity goes out. To prevent a shortage from happening, you may decide to grab an extension cord or power strip. While you’re trying to prevent your home from encountering an electrical shortage, you’ve opened the space up to other risks. But what are those risks? And why do they matter? If you’re wondering why extension cords are so dangerous, you’re in the right place. In this article we’re going to discuss two of the reasons extension cords are dangerous and why it matters for your home.
What Are the Risks of Extension Cords & Power Strips?
While power outlets can handle a lot of electricity, they can’t handle an endless amount. It is absolutely possible to overload your outlets if you outdo the wattage. Generally, the power outlets you find in homes are able to take 15 to 20 amps, or about 1800 to 2400 watts. Now, think about what an extension cord or power strip does – they load up on electricity. With a power strip, more than one device is powering at any given time. That means the outlet is pulling even more power – possibly more power than allowed.
Let’s think about it this way. A desktop computer is capable of pulling approximately 500 amps of energy. A space heater does about 1500 amps. A stereo takes about 450 amps. Now, add that all up and what do you get? Way too many amps in one place! If you’re short on power outlets and use an extension cord to power the space heater, computer, and stereo, that’s a whole lot of electricity being spent at once. You could trip a breaker or even overheat an outlet, causing it to spark.
You might be thinking, “Well, isn’t a fire unlikely?” But, the truth is, overloaded outlets are responsible for a great share of at-home incidents – more than most people realize.
In this case study, a California family, including a 3-year-old child, was killed when an overloaded extension cord caused their apartment to catch fire. Fires like this happen often, all over the United States and all over the world. Sometimes fires like this are small and they can be controlled, but other times, they are devastating and fatal.
Don’t let your family fall victim to an overloaded extension cord or power cord. The good news is, this type of fire is preventable. You can make sure it doesn’t happen to you by paying attention to how many items you’re plugging into a single wall outlet. Take a look at the electrical rating of the outlets you’re using. Don’t ever use extension cords or power strips to power multiple electricity-guzzling devices. If you do need additional outlets, talk with an electrician about installing more in your home. Also, instead of putting all of your devices and machinery into one particular outlet, spread the wealth. Use all of your outlets. If the outlets are in hard to reach places, extend your outlet with a longer cord and be mindful of the amount of devices you’re powering.
- Damage Isn’t Always Visible
The truth is, we’re not always kind to our devices and machinery. Sometimes we use them heavily, other times we kick them to the corner and allow them to collect dust. A lot of the time, our extension cords are underused for years. We’ll throw them around our homes and garages because we don’t always need them, bringing them out for backyard barbecues in July, then stuffing them back into storage for the rest of the year.
We toss electrical cords in drawers, drape them over outdoor furniture, walk on them, and stretch them to the limit. The damage we do to our wiring isn't always visible to the naked eye. This type of wiring is prone to developing internal shorts that cause a tremendous amount of heat and can lead to big problems like fire.
One way to protect yourself and your family is to throw out damaged cords. But, how do damaged cords cause house fires? Let’s break it down. As power runs through the damaged cord it struggles to move across the impacted wiring, creating sparks. Those sparks are what cause fires. Sometimes the fires are manageable, and sometimes they’re deadly.
Another way electrical cords can become unsafe has to do with the prongs that hold plugs in place. If the prongs become loose, they could potentially create an environment for shocks, which is especially bad if you have children.
Check all of your cords carefully before you use them. Check for damage. Look for cracks and other signs of wear, like heat damage. You can spot heat damage easily by looking for melted or warped plastic. Don’t be afraid to throw your cords away. It isn’t worth the few dollars you’re saving by keeping them. While it might seem like an added expense, that simple decision will give you peace of mind and it could potentially save your home and family.
Want to Organize Your Electrical Cords in the MOST Efficient Way?
Try the Sleek Socket!
When it comes to keeping your cords and wires neat, the sleek socket delivers in more ways than one. In fact, sleek socket does quadruple duty. It provides an organized place to plug in your cords and devices, while at the same time hiding them. Plus, it acts as an extension cord. If you want to hide wires in a chic way, there’s no better way than with the sleek socket. With this product you can hide unsightly wires, eliminate tripping hazards, add extra outlets, and extend the length of your wire. So…want to know more about the sleek socket?
A Great Alternative: The Sleek Socket?
The sleek socket allows you to hide unsightly and unsafe power outlets via a unique ultra-thin design that blends into the wall. The sleek socket drastically reduces (and can even eliminate) obstructions between furniture and traditional plugs attached to an outlet. Say goodbye to the ugly, chunky wires, plugs and cords that mess with your vibe and say hello to style and functionality with the sleek socket. The elegant design of the sleek socket adds to the ambiance of your home décor – not detracts from it, like with traditional plugs and wires. In fact, there’s no better way to eliminate ugly plugs and cords. So get your sleek socket today!