Who doesn’t have a few extension cords lying around their home? After all, they can turn out to be quite handy when you have to plug multiple devices at once.
If the outlet is out of reach, an extension cord can also be the answer.
While knowing its benefits pretty well, many people don’t realize how dangerous this tool can get if misused. One mistake and things can instantly go from convenient to hazardous.
Extension cords typically have between 3 and 7 outlets. However, just because they are there, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to use all of them at once. All of the incoming electricity still has to go through the main outlet and if the circuit breaker trips, the fuse might blow. As if that isn’t enough, there is also a chance of starting a fire.
Now that winter is here, and people are ready to plug their electric heaters, fire departments began issuing warnings to remind them about the hidden dangers behind extension cord mistakes.
It is crucial to understand that power strips and extension cords don’t do the same job as surge protectors. While the latter automatically cut off the power when they get overloaded, extension cords and power strips can’t. Instead, they are at risk of blowing up.
If you use extension cords, make sure not to overload them. Each device that you plug in consumes a different amount of electricity, so you have to be careful with your selection. As for the energy-hungry appliances such as space heaters, make sure that they are always plugged directly into the main outlets.
Another downfall to space heaters is that they also heat up the extension cord when plugged in it. They should also never be plugged into a power strip, as those are not able to handle space heaters very efficiently.
The accidents and fires have become so frequent that Umatilla County Fire District, Oregon, decided to release a nation-wide announcement of their Facebook page. In the post, they warn people about consequences of plugging a space heater into a power strip.
According to The National Safety Fire Administration, around half of the home fires happen in the months of December, January, and February. Supposedly, in the period between 2009 and 2013, 56,000 home fires started due to the (mis)use of heating equipment.
Avoiding these mistakes will help you stay safe and protect your home from accidental fire. Make sure to share these warnings with the people you care about and help them stay safe as well!