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How to Properly Use a Power Strip

Posted on: December 12, 2017

Power strips and extension cords are kind of an inevitability in most homes. We just have so many modern appliances, tools, and toys that need power! And you’ve only got so many outlets. Because of this we at Kolb Electric think it’s really important that you understand the ups and downs, dos and don’ts of how to use a power strip.

What’s the Difference Between a Power Strip & an Extension Cord?

Put simply enough, power strips are the ones that are one length of cable that has a plug on one end and a row of sockets embedded in a plastic box on the other. Extension cords, however, have a similar setup but are typically much longer, less stable, and only feature two or three plugs. By less stable we mean that extension cords are designed to be used for hour at most, and should never be used for days, whereas a strip can handle a few days.

The Most Vital Things to Know

We know that you understand how to use a power strip. It’s pretty much plug and play! But there are a lot of things that folks don’t know about them, or that the box might not directly state. Keep in mind the following when using your power strip:

  • They’re designed to handle multiple small loads. Power strips were developed so that you can power a radio in conjunction with your lamp, or a computer can stay powered while you plug in your tablet. They are not designed to handle even a single major appliance like a space heater or power tool.
  • The have different voltage ratings. Make sure you pick out a strip that meets your needs. Exceeding the maximum safe voltage of a strip can mean electrical fires or blown out appliances.
  • They aren’t intended for extended use. Even though they can handle a couple of days, or even a week or two, they aren’t designed as a workaround for proper electrical outlets. They lack the stability and longevity and will eventually fail, potentially taking your devices with it. If you need more plug sockets that frequently, get new outlets and circuits installed in your home!
  • They should have a surge protection device. Surge protection devices are usually indicated both on the box and by a small light/switch indicator. This simple but very important device protects your equipment if a surge or short occurs.
  • Thy should never be plugged into other or additional power extension devices. Chaining multiple power extenders together is like trying to build a house of cards, except the cards keep getting smaller, flimsier, and less stable. It’s one of the quickest ways to find yourself with an electrical fire or appliance damage!

Electrical Services & Outlet Installation with Kolb in Maryland

Finding yourself in need of some electrical upgrades this year? We totally understand! It feels like every year there are more tools and gadgets to keep up with, and 2017 was no different. Our certified electricians can help you retain the access you need with our upgrade and outlet services, so contact us online today to get the safe electrical access you need!

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