Last week my wife and I finally decided to replace the carpet in our den. Naturally, the task of dismantling our home entertainment system fell to me, and I’m kinda glad it did!
When I was unplugging the various components I made an alarming discovery – the power strip I’d been relying on revealed a nasty secret, it wasn’t doing the job I believed it would. As you can see from the photo, the last outlet shows heavy scoring, and discoloration, a precursor to fire. Thankfully I caught it in time, before there was an actual fire.
After making this discover I was curious, so I did a bit of research, and discovered that not all all power strips are created equal. The truth is, if you intend to use a power strip, in an ongoing way, the best solution is to contact a qualified electrician who can evaluate your power needs for a give you advise as necessary. (I have an appointment scheduled next week)
However, if you use a power strip for its intended convenience here are some tips and links that I’d recommend you check into.
- Always check to see that the product you’re using is UL (Underwrites Laboratory) certified. The code that address “surges suppression” is 1449
- Understanding the distinctions in the market place between, extension cords, power strips with surge suppression, and power strips with internal circuit breakers makes a big difference **Only use power strips and surge suppressors with internal circuit breakers.**
- Never overload your home or offices circuit – and NEVER ‘daisy-chain’ more than one power strip together.
- If your power strip has frayed wires, scored outlets, or inoperative switches then throw it away, its not safe any more.
For most of us, these power strips are a convenient, simple and inexpensive solution to a lack of power outlets. Best then, that we take a moment to arm ourselves with a bit a knowledge about the strips, and risks associated with using them improperly.