Tips on How to Use Extension Cords and Surge Protectors Safely

Years ago life was simple and electrical outlets were abundant. No more. Now it seems we’re overrun with TVs, DVRs, modems, appliances, computers, you name it. And what few outlets are left fill up with phone chargers and tablets.

Extension cords and power strips are often used to fill the gap, but improper use is dangerous. Small devices such as lamps, radios, and the like may generally be powered with an extension if needed, and heavy duty extensions rated appropriately can be safely used to temporarily power electrical tools and other devices.

Power strips should be used with caution to avoid overloading the circuit. Available outlets don’t mean available capacity. And NEVER use them as listed below:

As a substitute for permanent wiring – Sensitive electronics and home appliances should never be plugged into an extension, nor should one be used to power a home, travel trailer, or similar structure, under any circumstance.

Expensive electronics and appliances should be plugged into a properly rated surge protector (not a power strip) to avoid possible damage when a sudden demand for power (like the A/C compressor starting) creates a spike through your circuit, or should a surge somewhere in the power grid be transmitted through your service line. A minimum rating of 600 joules and response time of one nanosecond or less provide adequate protection in most cases, but use care not to overload the wattage rating of the surge protector or exceed the amperage rating of the circuit you are on.

When lightning is a danger, the only protection is to unplug the device, as a commonly available surge protector cannot withstand the massive voltage of a lightning strike.

Too many devices for too few outlets can’t be fixed with a tangle of extension cords and power strips. That only makes it worse. Call Gary Houston Electric Company instead.

Gary Houston Electric Company isn’t just a name at the top of the search engines when you type in “electricians near me,” but for nearly four decades has been one of the most trusted names in commercial and residential electricians in Arkansas. And for good reason.

Let our knowledgeable, professional electricians assess your needs and provide you with a free assessment and wiring upgrade estimate. Chances are, it will be far less than you might expect, and you can sleep better knowing the danger of fire or electrocution is eliminated. Call Gary Houston today at 501-375-8330 or contact us online, and don’t fight the tangle any longer.