While we are in the midst of the holiday season, it is important to remember that power strips need to be taken seriously when trying to find extra outlets to plug in all of those decorations. Most problems occur when people do not consider how much energy they plan on consuming through a power strip. If there are several high energy items, a dangerous situation can occur. This happens because there is an increase in heat due to the higher amount of electrical resistance. Ultimately, this could lead to a burnt power strip or even a fire.
What You Need to Know
- Daisy-chaining (plugging one power strip into another) is extremely dangerous and poses a fire risk. If a power strip is necessary, it should only be plugged directly into a wall outlet to avoid an increase in electrical resistance.
- Devices that draw large amounts of electricity (refrigerator, portable A/C or heater, etc.) should never be plugged into a power strip and should always be plugged directly into the wall outlet.
- Power strips are not a substitute for lack of fixed outlets. Power strips should be viewed as a temporary solution and unplugged when not in use.
- Periodically check the power strip to see if it feels hot. If it does, it might be overloaded or needs to be replaced.
- Purchase a power strip with a circuit breaker. It automatically trips the breaker to prevent overheating in the event that it is overloaded.
- Your power strip should be UL (Underwriters Laboratory) or ETL (Electronics Testing Laboratories) approved and feature their testing label. If you do not see either of those labels, replace the power strip and purchase a new one.
- Finally, common sense is not overrated, especially when dealing with a power strip. Don’t cover it up with a rug or put it in an area where air circulation will be at a minimum. Also, don’t staple it or apply tape for a “quick fix.”